Warrior Connection – 05.22.16

May 22, 2016

The  May 22 edition of WARRIOR CONNECTION was a discussion on disabled veterans caregivers problems and needs and call for action supported by the following information:

This is bad part to quote and get an amendment from House side to fix! Now for the bad which is: Expands the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to all generations of veterans.
Subtitle D—Family Caregivers
SEC. 231. EXPANSION OF FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM OF
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.
(a) FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM.—
(1) EXPANSION OF ELIGIBILITY.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (a)(2)(B) of
section 1720G of title 38, United States Code,
is amended to read as follows:
‘‘(B) for assistance provided under this sub-
section— 11 ‘‘(i) before the date on which the Secretary
submits to Congress a certification that the De-
partment has fully implemented the information
technology system required by section 232(a) of
the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Act, has a seri-
ous injury (including traumatic brain injury,
psychological trauma, or other mental disorder)
active military, naval, or air service on or after
September 11, 2001;
‘‘(ii) during the two-year period beginning
on the date specified in clause (i), has a serious
injury (including traumatic brain injury, psy-
chological trauma, or other mental disorder) in-
curred or aggravated in the line of duty in the
active military, naval, or air service-
‘‘(I) on or before May 7, 1975; or
‘‘(II) on or after September 11, 2001;
or ‘‘(iii) after the date that is two years after
the date specified in clause (i), has a serious in-
jury (including traumatic brain injury, psycho-
logical trauma, or other mental disorder) in-
curred or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military,

Keith Nordeng
May 13 at 6:09pm
http://www.veterans.senate.gov/…/isakson-blumenthal-unveil-…
Page 120 of the bill
ONCE AGAIN 90-91 veteran are LEFT OUT. What the F?
Veterans First Act specifically addresses
Changes the culture at the VA by improving accountability to make it easier for the VA Secretary to remove bad actors at all levels of the department. (Good)
Expands the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to all generations of veterans. (Bad)
Strengthens the Veterans Choice program by establishing prompt payment standards and streamlining the requirements for community medical providers to enter into agreements with the VA. (Good)
Enhances education benefits for veterans, surviving spouses and children, and allows thousands of mobilized Reservists to earn GI Bill eligibility. (Good)
Addresses the crisis of opioid over-prescription among veterans.
(Good)
Enhances research on the potential health effects from toxic exposure to veterans and their descendants. (Very Good)
Strengthens programs to combat veteran homelessness (Good)
.
Improves the disability claims and appeals process by requiring the VA to launch a pilot program that will cut down the massive backlog of appeals awaiting action. (Good)
Now for the bad which is: Expands the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to all generations of veterans.
Subtitle D—Family Caregivers
SEC. 231. EXPANSION OF FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM OF
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.
(a) FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM.—
(1) EXPANSION OF ELIGIBILITY.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (a)(2)(B) of
section 1720G of title 38, United States Code,
is amended to read as follows:
‘‘(B) for assistance provided under this sub-
section— 11 ‘‘(i) before the date on which the Secretary
submits to Congress a certification that the De-
partment has fully implemented the information
technology system required by section 232(a) of
the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Act, has a seri-
ous injury (including traumatic brain injury,
psychological trauma, or other mental disorder)
active military, naval, or air service on or after
September 11, 2001;
‘‘(ii) during the two-year period beginning
on the date specified in clause (i), has a serious
injury (including traumatic brain injury, psy-
chological trauma, or other mental disorder) in-
curred or aggravated in the line of duty in the
active military, naval, or air service-
‘‘(I) on or before May 7, 1975; or
‘‘(II) on or after September 11, 2001;
or
‘‘(iii) after the date that is two years after
the date specified in clause (i), has a serious in-
jury (including traumatic brain injury, psycho-
logical trauma, or other mental disorder) in-
curred or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service; and’’.

Military Update: A showpiece of the Veterans First package that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unveiled last week is a multi-billion-dollar initiative to phase in for older generations of severely injured veterans robust caregiver benefits first enacted in 2010 only for the Post-9/11 generation.

Though it’s only part of a huge omnibus bill containing many veteran reform measures that senators previously introduced as separate bills, the plan to expand caregiver benefit coverage carries the biggest price tag. The early estimate is $3.1 billion over its first five years.

For in-home caregivers of thousands of vets with severe physical or mental injuries, it would mean cash stipends for their time and effort, health insurance if caregivers have none, guaranteed periods of paid respite to avoid caregiver burnout and training to enhance patient safety.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), prime architect of the caregiver expansion plan, negotiated with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), the committee chairman, to secure a modified plan that could be funded with budget offsets and gain bipartisan support on the committee. That should improve its chances of becoming law despite still formidable obstacles ahead.

Perhaps the biggest is lingering disappointment over how the current caregiver program operates. Though it is delivering benefits to spouses and parents caring for 31,000 severely disabled veterans of the Post-9/11 era, the program remains underfunded, understaffed and lacking modern software to screen applications, track care needs or verify levels of caregiver support and program managers’ responsiveness.

The Government Accountability Office found many problems including too few Caregiver Support Coordinators who run the program locally. The program remains so “badly mismanaged” as to leave the House Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), doubtful that the VA can handle a vast expansion of eligibility, a committee staff member said.

“While the intent of the Senate bill is admirable,” the staffer said, “we have an obligation not to expand existing programs without first ensuring they function correctly.”

But Isakson agreed with Murray that, rather than allow weaknesses in the current program to block expansion to older veterans, they should phase in eligibility for older generations on a schedule that gives VA time to fix problems while it incentivizes Congress to provide needed funding.

VA promises to have a modern IT system in place for the program by December this year. The Senate package would require the VA secretary within a year to certify that problems GAO identified have been fixed. Then within another year VA would begin to accept benefit applications from caregivers of veterans who served during the Vietnam War or earlier. Two years later, VA would start to accept applications from caregivers of severely injured veterans who served in the period between Vietnam and 9/11.

The pool of pre-9/11-era caregivers likely to be eligible for benefits if the program is expanded could be as high as 80,000, VA reported last year.
With up to 400 new caregivers of Post-9/11 veterans qualifying for benefits every month, program costs are climbing steadily, from $453 million in 2015 to $650 million this year and $725 million is sought for next year.

There are problems with the program, but the VA alone isn’t to blame, said Adrian Atizado, deputy legislative director for Disabled American Veteran whose national service officers field caregiver complaints. Congress underfunded it. Meanwhile, DAV and other advocates were slow to sound alarms over the underfunding, poor staffing and the sketchy information about the program that VA has given caregiver applicants and injured vets.

“I totally disagree with the House’s interpretation that it should not be expanded because of how the program is running now,” said Atizado. “I do share their concern about completely opening it up immediately.” But the Isakson-Murray phased expansion, he said, is a “reasonable compromise.”

In a statement, Miller said the omnibus deal reached by the Senate committee is a positive development. If it clears the Senate, “I look forward to immediately engaging in conference committee negotiations in order to move a VA reform package to the president’s desk,” Miller said.

Rather than compile one massive piece of legislation as the Senate committee opted to do, the House committee shepherded 21 separate bills on veterans’ issues through the House, which now await Senate action.

Beside differences in approaches, there are differences in priorities. The House committee said the most pressing VA need is tougher accountability rules so executives who put their own interests ahead of veterans can swiftly be reprimanded or fired. Miller and staff view their House-passed accountability bill, HR 1994, as much stronger than provisions embraced by Isakson and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, at their Veterans First press conference.

Though the House sought no expansion to the caregiver program, staff noted that all of its House-passed veteran bills are fully paid for with spending offsets verified by the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he and colleagues also found offsets to pay for the Veterans First package, with its estimated annual cost of $4 billion over 10 years, and without cutting prized veteran benefits. The offsets no longer embrace a controversial idea to cut by half the monthly housing stipend for family members who use transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Instead Isakson would cap total VA employee bonuses paid annually, mandate higher VA home loan funding fees, and “harmonize” the GI Bill housing stipend lower to reflect a total five-percent dampening of Basic Allowance for Housing rates over five years being imposed on active duty force members.

Murray said she doesn’t know if Miller and his House colleagues will support the caregiver expansion when they conference on veteran issues.
“I do know that this program is about putting veterans’ needs first and supporting the men and women who put their own lives on hold to take care of veterans,” Murray said. “Taking care of our veterans should never be a partisan issue.”

Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120, email milupdate@aol.com or twitter: Tom Philpott @Military_Update

Tom Philpott has been breaking news for and about military people since 1977. After service in the Coast Guard, and 17 years as a reporter and senior editor with Army Times Publishing Company, Tom launched “Military Update,” his syndicated weekly news column, in 1994. “Military Update” features timely news and analysis on issues affecting active duty members, reservists, retirees and their families.

Visit Tom Philpott’s Military Update Archive to view his past articles.

Tom also edits a reader reaction column, “Military Forum.” The online “home” for both features is Military.com.

Tom’s freelance articles have appeared in numerous magazines including The New Yorker, Reader’s Digest and Washingtonian.

His critically-acclaimed book, Glory Denied, on the extraordinary ordeal and heroism of Col. Floyd “Jim” Thompson, the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, is available in hardcover and paperback.

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Senators want caregiver benefits phased in for older veterans

By Tom Philpott

Special to Stars and Stripes

Published: May 5, 2016

·         

Shundra Johnson holds a wheelchair for her husband Coast Guard Lt. Sancho Johnson as he gets into a car while traveling to the Navy's wounded warrior training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games, May 29, 2015. Shundra is also her husband's caregiver.

EJ Hersom/Department of Defense

Related

Senators unveil Veterans First Act

Senators took fresh steps this week in the slow effort to reform the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department and hold it more accountable just as news broke of a new scandal — cockroaches in food at a VA hospital in Chicago.

Summit highlights difficulties of veterans’ caregivers

Torrey Shannon provides round-the-clock care for her husband, retired Staff Sgt. Dan Shannon, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in Iraq. He needs to live in a remote area because severe post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury has left him overwhelmed by cities. Despite this, she said she has struggled to get the support she needs as a veteran’s caregiver.

·         As veterans come home, a new generation of caregivers

American troops were serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan five years ago when President Barack Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation acknowledging the critical role of caregivers for seriously injured post- 9/11 veterans.

A showpiece of the Veterans First package that the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unveiled last week is a multibillion-dollar initiative to phase in for older generations of severely injured veterans robust caregiver benefits first enacted in 2010 only for the post-9/11 generation.

Though it’s only part of a huge omnibus bill containing many veteran reform measures that senators previously introduced as separate bills, the plan to expand caregiver benefit coverage carries the biggest price tag. The early estimate is $3.1 billion over its first five years.

For in-home caregivers of thousands of vets with severe physical or mental injuries, it would mean cash stipends for their time and effort, health insurance if caregivers have none, guaranteed periods of paid respite to avoid caregiver burnout and training to enhance patient safety.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., prime architect of the caregiver expansion plan, negotiated with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the committee chairman, to secure a modified plan that could be funded with budget offsets and gain bipartisan support on the committee. That should improve its chances of becoming law despite still formidable obstacles ahead.

Perhaps the biggest is lingering disappointment over how the current caregiver program operates. Though it is delivering benefits to spouses and parents caring for 31,000 severely disabled veterans of the post-9/11 era, the program remains underfunded, understaffed and lacking modern software to screen applications, track care needs or verify levels of caregiver support and program managers’ responsiveness.

The Government Accountability Office found many problems, including too few Caregiver Support Coordinators who run the program locally. The program remains so “badly mismanaged” as to leave the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., doubtful that the Department of Veterans Affairs can handle a vast expansion of eligibility, a committee staff member said.

“While the intent of the Senate bill is admirable,” the staffer said, “we have an obligation not to expand existing programs without first ensuring they function correctly.”

But Isakson agreed with Murray that, rather than allow weaknesses in the current program to block expansion to older veterans, they should phase in eligibility for older generations on a schedule that gives VA time to fix problems while it incentivizes Congress to provide needed funding.

VA promises to have a modern IT system in place for the program by December this year. The Senate package would require the VA secretary within a year to certify that problems GAO identified have been fixed. Then within another year VA would begin to accept benefit applications from caregivers of veterans who served during the Vietnam War or earlier. Two years later, VA would start to accept applications from caregivers of severely injured veterans who served in the period between Vietnam and 9/11.

The pool of pre-9/11-era caregivers likely to be eligible for benefits if the program is expanded could be as high as 80,000, VA reported last year.

With up to 400 new caregivers of post-9/11 veterans qualifying for benefits every month, program costs are climbing steadily, from $453 million in 2015 to $650 million this year; $725 million is sought for next year.

There are problems with the program, but the VA alone isn’t to blame, said Adrian Atizado, deputy legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, whose national service officers field caregiver complaints. Congress underfunded it. Meanwhile, DAV and other advocates were slow to sound alarms over the underfunding, poor staffing and the sketchy information about the program that VA has given caregiver applicants and injured vets.

“I totally disagree with the House’s interpretation that it should not be expanded because of how the program is running now,” said Atizado. “I do share their concern about completely opening it up immediately.” But the Isakson-Murray phased expansion, he said, is a “reasonable compromise.”

In a statement, Miller said the omnibus deal reached by the Senate committee is a positive development. If it clears the Senate, “I look forward to immediately engaging in conference committee negotiations in order to move a VA reform package to the president’s desk,” Miller said.

Rather than compile one massive piece of legislation as the Senate committee opted to do, the House committee shepherded 21 separate bills on veterans’ issues through the House, which now await Senate action.

Besides differences in approaches, there are differences in priorities. The House committee said the most pressing VA need is tougher accountability rules so executives who put their own interests ahead of veterans can swiftly be reprimanded or fired. Miller and staff view their House-passed accountability bill, HR 1994, as much stronger than provisions embraced by Isakson and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the committee’s ranking Democrat, at their Veterans First press conference.

Though the House sought no expansion to the caregiver program, staff noted that all of its House-passed veteran bills are fully paid for with spending offsets verified by the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he and colleagues also found offsets to pay for the Veterans First package, estimated to cost $4 billion over 10 years, without cutting prized veteran benefits. The offsets no longer embrace a controversial idea to cut by half the monthly housing stipend for family members who use transferred post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Instead Isakson would cap total VA employee bonuses paid annually, mandate higher VA home loan funding fees, and “harmonize” the GI Bill housing stipend lower to reflect a total 5 percent dampening of Basic Allowance for Housing rates over five years being imposed on active-duty force members.

Murray said she doesn’t know if Miller and his House colleagues will support the caregiver expansion when they conference on veteran issues.

“I do know that this program is about putting veterans’ needs first and supporting the men and women who put their own lives on hold to take care of veterans,” Murray said. “Taking care of our veterans should never be a partisan issue.”

Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120 milupdaSenators want caregiver benefits phased in for older veterans

By Tom Philpott

Special to Stars and Stripes

Published: May 5, 2016

Shundra Johnson holds a wheelchair for her husband Coast Guard Lt. Sancho Johnson as he gets into a car while traveling to the Navy's wounded warrior training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games, May 29, 2015. Shundra is also her husband's caregiver.

EJ Hersom/Department of Defense

Related

Senators unveil Veterans First Act

Senators took fresh steps this week in the slow effort to reform the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department and hold it more accountable just as news broke of a new scandal — cockroaches in food at a VA hospital in Chicago.

Summit highlights difficulties of veterans’ caregivers

Torrey Shannon provides round-the-clock care for her husband, retired Staff Sgt. Dan Shannon, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in Iraq. He needs to live in a remote area because severe post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury has left him overwhelmed by cities. Despite this, she said she has struggled to get the support she needs as a veteran’s caregiver.

·         As veterans come home, a new generation of caregivers

American troops were serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan five years ago when President Barack Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation acknowledging the critical role of caregivers for seriously injured post- 9/11 veterans.

A showpiece of the Veterans First package that the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unveiled last week is a multibillion-dollar initiative to phase in for older generations of severely injured veterans robust caregiver benefits first enacted in 2010 only for the post-9/11 generation.

Though it’s only part of a huge omnibus bill containing many veteran reform measures that senators previously introduced as separate bills, the plan to expand caregiver benefit coverage carries the biggest price tag. The early estimate is $3.1 billion over its first five years.

For in-home caregivers of thousands of vets with severe physical or mental injuries, it would mean cash stipends for their time and effort, health insurance if caregivers have none, guaranteed periods of paid respite to avoid caregiver burnout and training to enhance patient safety.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., prime architect of the caregiver expansion plan, negotiated with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the committee chairman, to secure a modified plan that could be funded with budget offsets and gain bipartisan support on the committee. That should improve its chances of becoming law despite still formidable obstacles ahead.

Perhaps the biggest is lingering disappointment over how the current caregiver program operates. Though it is delivering benefits to spouses and parents caring for 31,000 severely disabled veterans of the post-9/11 era, the program remains underfunded, understaffed and lacking modern software to screen applications, track care needs or verify levels of caregiver support and program managers’ responsiveness.

The Government Accountability Office found many problems, including too few Caregiver Support Coordinators who run the program locally. The program remains so “badly mismanaged” as to leave the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., doubtful that the Department of Veterans Affairs can handle a vast expansion of eligibility, a committee staff member said.

“While the intent of the Senate bill is admirable,” the staffer said, “we have an obligation not to expand existing programs without first ensuring they function correctly.”

But Isakson agreed with Murray that, rather than allow weaknesses in the current program to block expansion to older veterans, they should phase in eligibility for older generations on a schedule that gives VA time to fix problems while it incentivizes Congress to provide needed funding.

VA promises to have a modern IT system in place for the program by December this year. The Senate package would require the VA secretary within a year to certify that problems GAO identified have been fixed. Then within another year VA would begin to accept benefit applications from caregivers of veterans who served during the Vietnam War or earlier. Two years later, VA would start to accept applications from caregivers of severely injured veterans who served in the period between Vietnam and 9/11.

The pool of pre-9/11-era caregivers likely to be eligible for benefits if the program is expanded could be as high as 80,000, VA reported last year.

With up to 400 new caregivers of post-9/11 veterans qualifying for benefits every month, program costs are climbing steadily, from $453 million in 2015 to $650 million this year; $725 million is sought for next year.

There are problems with the program, but the VA alone isn’t to blame, said Adrian Atizado, deputy legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, whose national service officers field caregiver complaints. Congress underfunded it. Meanwhile, DAV and other advocates were slow to sound alarms over the underfunding, poor staffing and the sketchy information about the program that VA has given caregiver applicants and injured vets.

“I totally disagree with the House’s interpretation that it should not be expanded because of how the program is running now,” said Atizado. “I do share their concern about completely opening it up immediately.” But the Isakson-Murray phased expansion, he said, is a “reasonable compromise.”

In a statement, Miller said the omnibus deal reached by the Senate committee is a positive development. If it clears the Senate, “I look forward to immediately engaging in conference committee negotiations in order to move a VA reform package to the president’s desk,” Miller said.

Rather than compile one massive piece of legislation as the Senate committee opted to do, the House committee shepherded 21 separate bills on veterans’ issues through the House, which now await Senate action.

Besides differences in approaches, there are differences in priorities. The House committee said the most pressing VA need is tougher accountability rules so executives who put their own interests ahead of veterans can swiftly be reprimanded or fired. Miller and staff view their House-passed accountability bill, HR 1994, as much stronger than provisions embraced by Isakson and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the committee’s ranking Democrat, at their Veterans First press conference.

Though the House sought no expansion to the caregiver program, staff noted that all of its House-passed veteran bills are fully paid for with spending offsets verified by the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he and colleagues also found offsets to pay for the Veterans First package, estimated to cost $4 billion over 10 years, without cutting prized veteran benefits. The offsets no longer embrace a controversial idea to cut by half the monthly housing stipend for family members who use transferred post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Instead Isakson would cap total VA employee bonuses paid annually, mandate higher VA home loan funding fees, and “harmonize” the GI Bill housing stipend lower to reflect a total 5 percent dampening of Basic Allowance for Housing rates over five years being imposed on active-duty force members.

Murray said she doesn’t know if Miller and his House colleagues will support the caregiver expansion when they conference on veteran issues.

“I do know that this program is about putting veterans’ needs first and supporting the men and women who put their own lives on hold to take care of veterans,” Murray said. “Taking care of our veterans should never be a partisan issue.”

Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120

milupdate@aol.com

te@aol.com

Act
Subtitle D—Family Caregivers
SEC. 231. EXPANSION OF FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM OF
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. Specifically the donut hole created by the dates.
‘‘(I) on or before May 7, 1975; or
‘‘(II) on or after September 11, 2001;
or
‘‘(iii) after the date that is two years after
the date specified in clause (i), has a serious in-
jury (including traumatic brain injury, psycho-
logical trauma, or other mental disorder) in-
curred or aggravated in the line of duty in the

Form to send comments to house veterans affairs committee. https://republicans-veteranforms.house.gov/forms/writethecommittee/

00:0000:00

Warrior Connection – 05.15.16

May 15, 2016

The May 15th edition of Warrior Connection  was a continuation of our discussion on CDMRP medical research with Dr Julia Colier of Bronx VA about new medical treatment protocol using nasal insulin spray to alleviate brain inflammation and thus reduce effects of toxic exposures on cognition, pain, stress, etc. Veterans are needed to participate in the Bronx VA and Boston VA systems.  This new treatment promises significant improvement in cognitive functioning and also may be useful for Parkinson's and Altzheimers too.  Please call Dr Colier at 718-584-9000 to participate in Bronx trials or Dr Maxine Kringle at 857-364-6933 for Boston or email Julia.Golier@va.gov.  We will continue with this series.
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Warrior Connection – 05.08.16

May 8, 2016

The May 8th Warrior Connection was a continuing discussion on suicide warning signs and suicide prevention.

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Warrior Connection – 05.01.16

May 1, 2016

The May 1 edition of Warrior Connection was a discussion with the widow of a warrior who committed suicide revealing the problems they faced as they were abandoned by the military and the VA leading up to her husbands suicide and the resulting lingering problems the widow and her children  face.  This extraordinary brave widow offers insight and suggestions on how  to prevent another tragedy and how to cope after suicide of a loved one affected by war.   

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Warrior Connection – 04.24.16

April 24, 2016

The April 24th Edition of Warrior Connection was a discussion with Dr Kimberly Sullivan and Dr. Joanne Cirillo of Boston University School of Medicine consortium study on Gulf War illnesses. Dr Sullivan needs veterans to participate in medical care treatment research.  Please call them at 617-638-5834. 

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Warrior Connection – 04.17.16

April 17, 2016

The April 17 edition of Warrior Connection was an incredible  discussion about the legendary Bob Dylan and introduction of new Bob Dylan music with Duluth Minnesota Dylan fest director Brad Nelson and Dylan musicologist  John Busey in with cooperation of KUMD.org from Duluth Minnesota. John hosts a Dylan music radio program broadcast on KUMD.org that has been ongoing for 25 years. Bob Dylan is still performing, writing, and impacting our culture just as he has done for over 50 years. The version of "Blowing In The Wind"  that they played for this program brought tears to our eyes. The impact of Dylan's music on Vietnam veterans and other generations of warriors is beyond imagination. As discussed each person holds personal and unique memories and perceptions. THAT IS WHAT MAKES DYLAN SO GREAT. Dylan clearly touches the depth of each person's soul. Thanks to my cousin, children's author, and poet Bonnie Rokke Tinnes of Bemidji, Minnesota who set this up and celebrated her 48th wedding anniversary doing this broadcast. Co-host Ray Clark  tied it together with how Dylan was perceived and danced to during Vietnam combat operations.   

Brad and John also introduced two new songs from Duluth Does Dylan cd:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5wpe5i44izct33k/David%20Simonett%20%3D%20Boots%20Of%20Spanish%20Leather_v3.wav?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rezgurw2rgqk85a/Weary%20Tunesmiths%20%3D%20Lay%20Down%20Your%20Weary%20Tune.wav?dl=0

For additional information please refer to bobdylanway.com and kumb.org.

The Sixth Annual Duluth Dylan Fest will take place
Sunday, May 22 through Sunday, May 29, 2016.

See the full Flyer

read more »

Purchase tickets for Events

For more information about the 2016 Duluth Dylan Fest email duluthdylanfest@gmail.com or see our Facebook Page or flyer.

The Bob Dylan Way exhibit at Fitgers read more »

Commemorative Bob Dylan Way buttons are available at the Electric Fetus read more »

Bob Dylan Way T-Shirts for sale read more »

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Warrior Connection – 04.10.16

April 10, 2016

The April 10th edition of Warrior Connection was a discussion about the lessons of Vietnam + 40 + 50 years  and  steps  we the veteran who has survived can take to thrive.

  1. obtain an education
  2. choose friends  wisely
  3. abandon booze and street drugs
  4. fight for your medical care
  5. take care of yourself and your family
  6. help the next veteran co-hort group to survive and to thrive
  7. get involved in your community
  8. Put your faith,  your trust,  and your mentor - model for living in GOD.

Therefore your legacy may be:

My Quilt

(author unknown)

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life. But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.   I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who Unfairly judged me.   And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.

Please share this with someone you love, care about or even someone who needs Jesus in their heart. They may scoff, but at least the seed has been planted, and God will do the rest. May God bless you today and Forever.

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Warrior Connection – 03.20.16

March 20, 2016

The March 20 edition of Warrior Connection was a discussion based on the Army Times front page story for March 21 edition "TOO MANY SOLDIERS CAN'T SHOOT" ( Army Times pages 18- 21, Michelle Tan) and how to improve personal marksmanship with either a rifle or handgun.  Obviously, we think that everybody should qualify as an expert but that will take time and increase costs.  Supporting commentaries we have written include:

Practical Ballistics for Self-Defense - Doug Rokke

          The decision to use any rifle, handgun, or shotgun for self-defense entails legal justification according to state law and the selection of ammunition that will ensure that you win the gunfight. Just as old saying goes “you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” you should select ammunition that will immediately end any gunfight that you are in. That means knocking the person or vicious animal down and out with the first or second shot. This is commonly referred to as “stopping power”.

         The two primary physics concepts associated with ballistics are kinetic energy “K.E.” and momentum “p”. The laws of physics require that energy and momentum conserved. That means that for protection we should select ammunition that deposits all of it’s energy/momentum into the target but that still has enough kinetic energy or momentum for penetration and to ensure the knock down-kill. Both kinetic energy and momentum are a function of bullet mass (grains) and velocity where:

K.E. = “1/ 2” x “mass” x “velocity squared”

“p” = “mass” x “velocity”

Another important factor is “expansion” or how much the bullet deforms upon penetration to create a mortal wound channel as it transfers all or part of it’s kinetic energy and momentum into the target. Ideally any bullet would enter the target (penetration), fully expand, and transfer all of its energy into the target and thus stop before exiting out the other side. That is why a 12 gauge shotgun with slug, double “0” buck, or even #4 shot is so effective at close range and the obvious first choice for self –defense. The wound channel is huge and usually mortal because virtually all of the shotgun shot’s or slug’s energy is transferred into the target over a large entrance diameter thus immediately ending the gunfight because the slug or pellets rarely penetrate all the way through the target.

However, for many reasons the handgun will be the weapon that is used in most self-defense situations- gunfights. Today, self-defense handgun ammo includes: .25 auto, .32 auto, 9 mm, .38 special, .357 magnum, .40 S & W, .44 magnum, .45 auto, and .45 colt. Gunfights with a handgun will occur within 25’ so we need to look at muzzle energy and even more effectively muzzle momentum and bullet expansion.   Ideally we want to select a large caliber “heavy mass” bullet, with excellent expansion, and enough muzzle velocity to ensure penetration through clothing. High velocity, small diameter, and low mass bullets tend to zip right through targets at close range with minimal stopping power and create too much risk to bystanders. Thus the stopping power of a .45 auto/colt or .44 magnum is far better than for a .38 or 9 mm with a .357 magnum in between. As we select ammo please remember that any bullet less than 100 grains when combined with possible powder loads just does not provide the necessary energy required for a probable one or two shot kill. However, no matter what handgun and bullet caliber you select you must practice, practice, and practice after going through a certified qualification course to teach you the fundamentals. GSL instructors conduct numerous courses throughout the year (www.gsldefensetraining.com). Spraying rounds from large capacity magazines is simply too dangerous, inadvisable, rarely stops a gunfight, and is probably on shaky legal grounds too. Simply, if we face a situation where escape is impossible and the “perp” is ready, willing, able, and intent on killing us or our loved one then we want to end the gunfight immediately- hopefully with the first or second shot.

          The selection of rifle ammo follows the same rational except ranges may be greater. Therefore, we need to look at muzzle velocity, kinetic energy, bullet mass, and expansion at ranges from up close to 100 yards or 200 yards. However, please realize that the legal justification for self-defense gunfights at long at ranges is questionable at best but may me required for vicious animals. Popular rifle ammo such as the .223 or 5.56 mm with low mass bullets less than 100 grains that while having a flat trajectory loose energy rapidly and usually pass right through the target with minimal energy transfer. That is why the readily available and dependable .30 caliber rifle ammo such as the .30-06, .308, and .30-30 are the practical choice and are found in reliable rifles. For more ballistics information and calculations please refer to the “ballistics calculator” at (www.winchester.com), ammo manufacturers publications, and of course the annual “GUN DIGEST”. In conclusion as you select a weapon(s) and matching ammo for self-defense it is important to remember the sole purpose when legally justified is to immediately end the gunfight with minimal number of rounds expended, minimal risk to bystanders, and mortal wounds to the target.  

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Gizmos and Accuracy - Dr. Doug Rokke

    Every rifleman and riflewoman seeks to excel. Consequently they may consider installation of all types of gizmos to improve their shooting ability or the capability of their rifle or handgun to place a bullet in the exact place they aim for. Today, adjustable butt stocks, forearms, handles, grips, fixed and adjustable open iron sights, glow in the dark fixed sights, battery operated optics, conventional glass optics (scopes), lasers, tactical lights, sticks, tripods, bipods, fixed rests, recoil pads, and slings can be purchased and installed on your rifle or shotgun. Some of these gizmos are also available for handguns. Besides physical modification of any gun, different types of bullets and gunpowder “propellant” combinations may be chosen and used to improve ballistic properties. The costs for each of these gizmos or various bullets /gunpowder/cartridges varies but they can significantly increase the basic purchase price, gizmo price, and operational cost of any gun that a rifleman/riflewoman shoots.  

Some add-ons such as various fixed sights or optics such as a scope can help you improve your aim by helping you see the aiming point or target better through magnification or simple optics such as a peep sight. However, just because you can see the target better does not mean that your accuracy will improve. “Red dot or green dot” optics allow you to put a optical image on your target but the minutes of angle (moa) or area that the dot covers may not improve pinpoint accuracy, especially as the range or distance to the target increases.   Laser sights can provide you a visible spot, but the moa or width of the laser dot highlighting your exact point of aim on the target increases as the distance to the target increases. Lasers also have a limited operational range and are affected by bright light conditions. This means that the visible laser dot will be wider or maybe not even visible as the distance to the target increases or the sun shines thus affecting actual bullet placement. Please note that for self defense purposes when you paint a target with a laser dot your psychological advantage is incredible. Although visibility of a laser dot on the target may help you designate an exact aiming point, basic principles of marksmanship must still be followed.

Adjustable or modified stocks may help the rifle or shotgun fit better to your physique. This improves your ability to hold the gun the same way each and every time that you pull the trigger therefore maintaining consistent sight alignment. Grips that are designed or fitted for your hand size will also allow you to hold the handgun better and thus improve stability and sighting in on the target. Although grips and specialized stocks improve the fit of the rifle, shotgun, or handgun to your specific physique, your accuracy will only improve if basic principles are implemented. Recoil pads fall under the fit and comfort concept with their primary goal of reducing felt recoil or shoulder impact. According to Sir Issac Newton “for every forward force these is an equal and opposite backward force”. Therefore the purpose for installing a recoil pad is to reduce the effects of this backward force. Your shoulder will feel better after numerous shots if you use a recoil pad. Therefore, you can improve your ability to hold your gun tightly against your shoulder improving accuracy. A properly fitted and used sling improves stability. Consequently you can decrease the diameter of any shot group and improve overall accuracy but only if you adhere to basic marksmanship principles.  

Bipods, tripods, sticks, and rests are all valuable tools that can improve your overall stability. Heavy rifles and even some heavy handguns can affect you ability to hold them in precisely the same way each and every time without them wavering around like flag in a breeze unless you have adequate hand, arm, and shoulder strength. Sadly, some of us do not have the required strength and if we did it has decreased with increasing age and the onset of health problems.

    The relatively new addition or use of tactical lights poses several challenges. First, the additional weight of a light just like a laser will affect overall balance and thus stability. Although the target may be more visible – illuminated under low light conditions, the now extremely visible light source at your body makes you a perfect target. The bright light may also interfere with your own night vision. Obviously target visibility can help you place your sights on the target but at what cost? Lights actually decrease overall balance or stability and thus may decrease accuracy. The added weight when a tactical light or laser is attached to the barrel or grip of a handgun can have a dramatic effect on your ability to shoot that handgun with consistent accuracy because they increase the need for increased hand, arm, and shoulder strength.

The selection of specific bullets, cases, and gunpowder, especially if you do your own reloading, can improve the consistency of a round performance through optimization of bullet aerodynamics by selecting a desired ballistic coefficient as a function of bullet shape, bullet mass (weight), and muzzle velocity. However, individual marksmanship ability still is the deciding factor for improving overall personal accuracy as a rifleman / riflewoman. Please remember that a bullet only goes exactly where it is aimed for at the precise moment it exits the muzzle but with the influence of muzzle velocity, drift, and drop. The Winchester ballistics calculator on the web site (http://ballisticscalculator.winchester.com) can help you understand how any bullet performs under varying conditions but accuracy still depends primarily on individual marksmanship ability.

Thus with all of different types gizmos that are available that can help you improve stability of your rifle or handgun, sighting in, and visibility of your target; cost factors and how well you want or need to shoot should be factored in as you select any of the gizmos for purchase and installation your rifle, shotgun, or handgun. But it all comes down to the basics. Do you know how to use your rifle or handgun as designed?   Can you consistently apply the basics principles of marksmanship?

While some individuals can master these skills on their own it is preferable to complete a rifle/shotgun/handgun safety and marksmanship training course with qualified instructors. Guns Save Lives instructors conduct numerous courses throughout the year (www.gsldefensetraining.com). In conclusion, each rifleman / riflewoman needs practice, practice, and more practice in a safe controlled environment to improve and maintain accuracy no matter what rifle, shotgun, or handgun they shoot and what gizmos they have installed. But in the end shooting is simply always about having fun and the wonderful friendships each of us can develop and maintain with others who enjoy shooting.   This weekend go buy a box of ammunition then shoot up a bunch of tin cans, punch holes in paper targets, or pulverize some clay birds with your friends or family members at a range or other safe area using any gun you have available. THAT IS ENJOYMENT!  

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Snipers, Designated Marksman, GI Joe, GI Jane, & PTSD by Ray Clark, USMC Vietnam veteran and Dr. Doug Rokke, Major US Army retired

The exceptional new movie American Sniper about Navy Seal Chris Kale has triggered awareness and interest of how and why the military uses designated individuals to protect our military personnel who are engaged in tactical operations. There is a substantial difference between tactical operations in an open field, jungle, desert, or forest in contrast to combat in an urban terrain- city or town. Each area requires different tactical procedures and precautions as visibility, cover, or concealment are different as night and day. The enemy is all around. Firefights prevail. That means that weapons proficiency is critical to survival. Contrary to public misconception weapons training within the military is not as intensive as most think. Therefore individual ability to engage and thus wound or kill the enemy in a firefight varies substantially because basic and therefore advanced shooting skills are usually deficient.

Today very few 18- 22 year old men and women- the primary age group for military enlistment- grew up in a culture or area where rifle- pistol- shotgun training and safe use was taught. Consequently any military weapons training- qualification must start from nothing. The primary rifle is a variant of the M16 using a 5.56 x 45 mm round while the primary pistol is a semi-automatic Beretta M9 (92FS) using a 9 x 18 mm Luger.   Although the weapons manuals for the M16 (FM 23-9) and M9 (TM 9-1005-317-23&P) are excellent; individual ability to read, comprehend, and translate written knowledge into excellent rifle or pistol shooting and maintenance skills are limited to non-existent because most trainee’s have never shot either a rifle or pistol before entering basic training and too many lack academic skills. Warrior's today play a lot of government created "combat video games" that substitute for shooting real bullets at real targets. The thought is that if you hit the target enough times "spontaneously" on video, you will hit the target in reality. The shooters at Columbine High school proved that theory. They had over 90% accurate kill rate and it came from constantly playing combat video games in the days prior to the attack. However, there is no reset in combat While a computer game offers reset as if no casualties exist and the warrior gets a second chance to win reality is quite different.  

Those of us who take pride in our shooting skills realize that continued education (knowledge acquisition) and training (skills mastery) under direct supervision of qualified instructors and lots of practice (rounds downrange on target) are essential would find it difficult to understand that those entering the infantry fire only 730 rounds during their basic training phase of weapons qualification while all others fire just 500 rounds. The actual qualification course of fire is 40 rounds after 18 rounds for zeroing. Once the warrior gets to their unit they are lucky if they qualify each year. This becomes critical during a fire-fight because the annual re-qualification course only includes 18 rounds to zero their rifle then 40 rounds for actual qualification. The idea that anyone can zero their rifle and then get adequate practice using only 18 rounds before shooting a qualification course is wrong. Fifty-eight rounds per year will do nothing to ensure weapons proficiency.   Qualified weapons instructors and/or range officers are rare. It is usually a secondary duty for some young lieutenant with zero qualifications and no experience. You might get some seasoned NCO’s but that does not mean they are qualified NRA weapons instructors just that they have been in the military a few years. It is hoped they picked up weapons skills and training abilities through osmosis. We do not believe that firing only 58 rounds per year without excellent instruction is adequate for anything. What this means is that individual ability to hit a target is very low. All GI Joes and GI Janes go through the same initial weapons training and then fire the same number of rounds during annual re-qualification. The number of personnel who complete pistol training and qualification on the M9 – 9 mm is extremely low. Only a very few enlisted and a portion of the officers are issued and must qualify on the M9. A handful of officers usually field medical or command staff are issued and must qualify on both a rifle and a pistol.          

During combat this inadequate level of training translates into “spray and pray”. Historical research also shows that only a small fraction of all GI Joes and GI Janes who engaged in active combat even fired their rifle or pistol. After Civil War battles it was not unusual to find rifles loaded with 3 or 4 charges on top of each other that had never been fired. As squads or platoons conduct tactical operations they move along a designated route or clear a designated structure. Obviously the enemy can lie in hiding at any point and kill or wound warriors without any warning or without even being seen. The enemy can also sneak in and put an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in the unit’s path that can then be detonated by remote control by a spotter. Today most combat operations are in a hostile urban terrain think a town- city- village with structures that provide a place to hide and to look down on any approaching patrol. Then we see tactical operations where our soldiers move together towards an objective while bunched up in a cluster in a totally hostile environment. They might try to enter, clear, secure a unknown hostile structures using stacking as if they are in a parade. Two of Chris Kales team got shot that way in both the movie and for real. That makes our soldiers sitting ducks ready for slaughter. Therefore a need for designated unit marksman and snipers to protect other unit members while on patrol or while moving to engage the enemy became essential. Thus we have a squad designated rifleman or possibly a sniper who take a perch up high or in an oversight position to watch all activities, issue warnings, and eliminate any threat before an attack occurs. But remember they must keep moving to secure and establish a new perch to keep the unit members within their protective field of fire.

Today each combat unit- squad may have – hopefully does have a squad designated rifleman “SDR”. The squad designated rifleman will have gone through additional weapons training and will have fired currently at least 1500 rounds. That is still not many rounds considering the need for excellence. Each designated rifleman usually is issued a modified M16 in 5.56 x 45 mm that is suppose to enhance accuracy and firepower. Given that an M16 – 5.56 x 45 mm combination has specific limitations beyond 250 yards, more and more squad designated rifleman have requested and have been issued the old M14 in 7.62 x 51 NATO or .308 Winchester. Sadly some combat operations require even one more level of protection and therefore we have the sniper.  

Sniper’s are specialists. They are the professionals. They are fully qualified experts on numerous weapons. Snipers are allocated or deployed as tactically needed by senior commanders. They protect unit personnel engaged in tactical operations by killing high valued targets within range and who could pose a threat to any unit member involved in tactical operations. As portrayed in the movie many snipers felt guilty because they were unable to protect everyone within their zone of fire. Chris Kyle had 160 confirmed kill’s during 4 tours in Iraq while the legendary Vietnam War sniper Carlos Hathcock who was the founder of the USMC sniper school had 93 confirmed kills. Snipers:

  1. are highly trained experts on different weapons and ballistics.
  2. practice marksmanship constantly.
  3. train in concealment. If they are found they die a hard death.
  4. may have bounties on their head.
  5. have competent and professional spotters who ensure their round hits the intended target. Spotters may also be qualified snipers. The spotter will be watching the area with a telescope of some type. The spotter can provide the sniper with almost instaneous ballistics corrections to ensure each target is killed.
  6. use computers with GPS.
  7. use distance or range finders to optimize their shot.
  8. use instruments to measure exact ambient temperature, wind direction, wind speed, and humidity.
  9. practice observation, target selection, and shot placement.

Simply snipers eliminate the effects of all variables to ensure their shot hits and kills the intended target. Although each type of rifle round primarily used by snipers (5.56 NATO, 7.62 NATO, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester magnum, or .338 Lupa) or pistol round (9 mm, .45 auto, .22) has specific ballistic characteristics or limitations and each rifle or pistol has specific inherent mechanical attributes the sniper is trained to select and use the appropriate rifle or pistol and is capable of optimizing each shot fired to hit / kill the intended target within their line of sight, field of vision, or field of fire. Warriors consider snipers such as Chris and their own squad designated rifleman as “guardian angels”. That is portrayed in the movie when one guy Chris saved came up to Chris and Chris’ son to thank Chris for saving his life. HE HAD LOST ONE LEG BUT WAS ALIVE.

As I discussed in my book (The Never Ending War, Ray & LM Clark, ISBN 978-1-62510-921-7, Tate Publishing, 2013) during infantry combat while in Vietnam as marines we practiced firing our weapons at 30 & 40 yards. We had to just HIT the target to get it sighted in for semi-automatic and automatic weapons firing. Firing full automatic or “rock and roll” is fun but it is extremely difficult to control the weapon and therefore a 3 round burst or semi-automatic mode – one round per pull of the trigger is preferred. Most firefights are close engagements. We fought for ourselves and our friends. Our motto was “No man left behind”. We fought our enemy face to face during the daytime and nighttime and we were mostly outnumbered. We had to make instantaneous decisions because HESITATING would get us killed. Our villains were trained soldiers, civilian soldiers, booby traps, IED’s - Improvised Explosive Device’s and suicide bombers.

Every person who is involved in combat or other military operations will be affected. These effects going back to antiquity are known collectively as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, battle fatigue, combat fatigue, shell shock, or soldier’s heart. They are all adrenalin disorders brought on by physiological or psychological trauma. Combat is exciting. You can go from complete tranquility and boredom to sheer terror and chaos within a few seconds and bounce back and forth between those to states numerous times in an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year without any actual relaxation and recovery depending on the duration of your deployment. You have to develop a mental hardness that goes against everything you’ve ever been taught at home and in church. You must become as complacent as the corner butcher working on a fresh piece of meat. Today just as during Nam soldiers usually rotate out (redeploy) as an individual or maybe as a unit but because of rapid transportation capabilities you could be in combat and back home in a “safe, secure, location” within the same day. Most returning warriors just get dumped out on the community once they were home. In the movie American Sniper we see Chris leave Iraq right after a fire fight, come back home, go to a bar all alone, then finally call his wife to go home. Although each returning warrior is suppose to go through and complete a post deployment physical exam DD 2796 after every deployment too often that is incomplete, or short-circuited because the warrior is told they will be put in holding status if any problems are identified. The GAO has found that least 23% of completed physical exams are now missing. The purpose of this physical exam is to identify medical problems and potential PTSD and then set up medical care.  

Coming home or back to “Disney World” you try to forget everything that has happened. You put all of your bad memories away and then try to act as normal as possible while you are dying on the inside. It is not unusual for a returning warrior to shutdown, hibernate, go into seclusion. After involvement in any combat operations at any level for any duration and after especially intense duty as a marksman or sniper you come back home to live a life in comparison with a total a lack of excitement. You thrived on the adrenalin rush and now that rush is absent.

Extreme loneliness sets in because you miss your friends (dead and alive) who you depended on and who depended on you to survive. Warriors have two families, their military family or battle buddies and their civilian family including their spouse, kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and civilian friends. These are two distinct families and they are always separated. You can only be with one at a time. This creates a major conflict because neither understands the other’s role or how each separate family affects the warrior. As a result of combat some died, some became disabled and others came basically unaffected. For those who lost battle buddies while they came home survivors guilt is a major cause of depression in many returning veterans.   Returning veterans can avoid many problems with readjustment simply by making good choices in friends and entertainment. Choose your friends wisely because you will probably end up just like them. As a consequence of frustration, loneliness, physiological medical problems and psychological many veterans try to self medicate with prescription drugs and alcohol which only causes more problems. American Sniper illuminates these problems as described in the book and shown in the movie. Chris Kyle and is buddy were murdered by another OIF   veteran. Clearly without designated marksman and snipers who killed threat targets our own numbers of American military KIA and WIA would have been much higher. However the hidden toll on all involved requires prompt an optimal medical care. Sadly, that medical care remains elusive. It also shows the need for better weapons training. In response to that need mobile marksmanship training teams are now being created and deployed but proper training is still only a pipe dream because of budgetary restrictions.

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Warrior Connection – 03.13.16

March 13, 2016

The March 13 edition of warrior connection discussed the failure of the choice program to provide me - major doug rokke  my own medical care after choice program director had promised us the service during a previously broadcast warrior connection. His  apology is:

quote 

Below is Health Net Federal Services' statement. We hope you'll be able to
read it in its entirety on your radio program.

We regret that you have found our efforts on your behalf to be
unsatisfactory.

Developing a complex new program like Veterans Choice is a team effort, and
Health Net Federal Services is working closely with Congress, the
Department of Veterans Affairs, health care providers and many others to
improve service levels and provide veterans with the appropriate,
coordinated and convenient care they have earned for their service to our
nation.

The Choice program recently completed its first year of operation, and we –
as well as all stakeholders in the program – learned a great deal from this
early experience about what it will take to cultivate an effective
public/private partnership that efficiently connects community health care
providers with veterans who are eligible for the program.

There was good news last week when the VA announced it is eliminating
administrative burdens placed on community health care providers. We expect
this will help us eliminate the current backlog of provider claims and help
ensure timely payment of clean claims going forward.

Supporting those who serve in the military is in our DNA. Partnering with
the Department of Defense since 1988, we are the nation’s longest-tenured
contractor for the TRICARE program, which serves active duty military
personnel and their dependents.

Health Net strongly supports VA's vision for a single community care
program that is easy to understand, simple to administer and meets the
needs of veterans, community health care providers and VA staff. We will
continue working closely with VA to help make this a reality.

Brad Kieffer
Health Net, Inc.
818-676-6833 - office
818-400-7317 - mobile
www.twitter.com/hn_bradkieffer

end quote.

We then read and discussed the Defense Nuclear Agency March 1991 memo stating how dangerous depleted uranium is and then the March 1 1991 Los Alamos memo - order I was given as I started depleted uranium friendly fire clean up following ground combat during ODS to lie in all reports to avoid all liability for adverse health and environmental effects.

 http://www.traprockpeace.org/twomemos.html

We then finished of the program in memory of SSg Paul Lyons former co-host who committed suicide one year ago on how to fix the broken VA system.

Before the crash- SUICIDE AN  EMAIL FROM SSG PAUL LYONS

I have had the privilege to have co-hosted With Doug Rokke And Denise Nichols on Gary Nulls Radio Station, known as "The Progressive Radio Network", out of New York City, regarding the various exposures that occurred during Desert Storm, whether they be concerning Depleted Uranium, Biological Warfare, and Chemical exposures; not to mention experimental shots with records of them being given as well as Nerve Agent pre-Treatment pills that we were ordered to take, that occurred during Operation Desert Storm. I and well over 275K Troops are said to be on the Gulf War Registry. I have also been exposed...I have two post war Children who are also sick, including my wife. How's that for a "Welcome Home Party"? The VA and DOD Need to Restart   their Children and Spouse Health Registry and get with program! We didn't ask for this and I DAMN sure wouldn't have intentionally exposed my Wife and now my sick post Gulf War Children, had I known that the birth defects and Illnesses were transmittable...This has been a NIGHTMARE for my wife and I. Someone In The Federal Government needs To Pick up the dropped ball and GET WITH THE PROGRAM!! We Also Need New Congressional Hearing's, from somebody in Congress with the backbone and fortitude of Former US Senator Donald Riegle, (R) Who saw the problem back in the early 1990's and held hearings, trying to get to the TRUTH of Gulf WAR Illnesses and now we have possible OIF exposures as well. This Government needs to settle this most important issue once and for all....If our current CBRN, also known as NBC gear is faulty, then let's fix the problem...WE know it there are GAPS, so let's FIX IT!!

The crash suicide  

SSG Paul Lyons 101st airborne us army retired- ultimate veterans advocate and my co-host of  warrior connection on prn.fm reached the breaking point of no return and committed suicide on Sunday march 15 2015 . Paul had called national hotline for help on march 7 at about 3 am and they failed to help. Paul called Major Denise Nichols, RN for help. Denise called me, I got Chaplain Brian Manigold – Danville (Illinois) illiana VA Medical Center to call Paul about 3:30 am. Brian got to Paul but being about 400 miles away could only offer verbal help. Hot line- Va- DOD failed Paul. In our last talk only days before he left us Paul told me he had nothing left. He had outlined the problems and offered the solution in one of his last emails to me. The army (101st AB) and va who paul once trusted had dumped him like so many others, Overt retaliation aimed at Paul because of Paul’s efforts   and on others he loved took its toll.   Paul’s abandonment and the ongoing abandonment of so many others including me cannot be allowed to continue. we must fix the va now and stop ongoing trashing of God's earth. Our nation and God just lost one of the finest we must now force va and dod to change. Please help edit or add to these recommendations. I presented these on Paul’s behalf with all talking about Paul’s loss during Danville illinois illiana va town hall meeting yesterday- March 25.

Doug Rokke

  1.  ALL THE PERTINENT DOCUMENTS ARE FULLY DISTRIBUTED
  1. VA- DOD LEADERS must PUBICALLY ADMIT the CORRELATION BETWEEN TOXIC EXPOSURES AND ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS as already known in internal reports.
  1. CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATON must be made available and completed such as initiated in the ATTACHED POWER POINT. The numerous investigative documentaries must be made available and watched to begin to comprehend and resolve the lingering problems.
  1. MEDICAL CARE must be optimized.
  1. PROMPTNESS
  1. STOP OVERT AND HIDDEN RETALIATION
  1. THOROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION to mitigate exposures
  1. ADEQUATE STAFFING
  1. coordinated medical care appointments

10 TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THESE WARS.   Ethical moral dimension

11, REPORT ACTUAL CASUALTIES NOT REDUCED  NUMBERS  

  1. crisis line follow up through referral
  2. verify definitive treatment- recovery plan.
  3. crises intervention team- chaplain, medic,
  4. no police swat team intervention unless   chaplain makes call.
  5. return all phone calls requests for help before end of day- even if only contact.  
  6. thorough support system- action plan.
  7. Coordinated family support- notification
  8. thorough primary and secondary – historical survey to determine casuals relationships – DD 2796
  9. coordinated best friend(s) coordination
  10. do not give referral back to failed group – team

From Ray Clark:

Why are so many of our young Military personnel so messed up?

Many people think that Wounded Warrior’s are mainly comprised of those who have gone overseas to defend our Country. That is true to a great extent, but many of those who have not been deployed are also showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.

Why? They haven’t been in combat, or have they? Divorce rate 60%

Most young service members have come from a broken HOME / and LIFE. Their hope, dreams and future was aborted when they were children and it took a toll on their lives.

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What are signs of PTSD. Hypertension, irritability, fear, hyperventilation, hypervisual, you express anger and lack of patience. Then you ISOLATE.

Much of their family history is off the radar and the individual doesn’t talk about their family problems.

The three most destructive substance’s frequently found in broken homes… 1. Alcohol, Drugs (prescr. & illegal) and Porn. They help to create…

  1. Domestic abuse and Dysfunctional families go hand in hand. - they both involve POLICE intervention , which becomes embarrassing, frustrating.
  2. Spousal and Child abuse
  3. 4.a lack of competent child care and nurturing
  4. Little to No spiritual guidance in building morality and character growth in the child.
  5. DIVORCE = where 1 will leave and 1 will have to work fulltime leaving the kids at home.

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The effects on the child are…

  1. Loneliness, boredom, anger, disappointment and blame themselves.
  2. A lack in social skill’s , self confidence, self worth and self esteem.
  3. There also may a lack of positive role models. So they may follow anyone. Let your hero’s all be dead, because if they are alive they will disappoint you.
  4. The two most important people in your life are separating/ and soon they will both be dating other people and possibly remarrying a stranger.
  5. If there are other siblings at home, you may have to become the PARENT and GUARDIAN for them.
  6. The Grandparents will have to help finish raising the grandchildren. 

Why are so many of our young Military personnel so messed up?

Many people think that Wounded Warrior’s are mainly comprised of those who have gone overseas to defend our Country. That is true to a great extent, but many of those who have not been deployed are also showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.

Why? They haven’t been in combat, or have they? Divorce rate 60%

Most young service members have come from a broken HOME / and LIFE. Their hope, dreams and future was aborted when they were children and it took a toll on their lives.

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What are signs of PTSD. Hypertension, irritability, fear, hyperventilation, hypervisual, you express anger and lack of patience. Then you ISOLATE.

Much of their family history is off the radar and the individual doesn’t talk about their family problems.

The three most destructive substance’s frequently found in broken homes… 1. Alcohol, Drugs (prescr. & illegal) and Porn. They help to create…

  1. Domestic abuse and Dysfunctional families go hand in hand. - they both involve POLICE intervention , which becomes embarrassing, frustrating.
  2. Spousal and Child abuse
  3. .a lack of competent child care and nurturing
  4. Little to No spiritual guidance in building morality and character growth in the child.
  5. DIVORCE = where 1 will leave and 1 will have to work fulltime leaving the kids at home.

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The effects on the child are…

  1. Loneliness, boredom, anger, disappointment and blame themselves.
  2. A lack in social skill’s , self confidence, self worth and self esteem.
  3. There also may a lack of positive role models. So they may follow anyone. Let your hero’s all be dead, because if they are alive they will disappoint you.
  4. The two most important people in your life are separating/ and soon they will both be dating other people and possibly remarrying a stranger.
  5. If there are other siblings at home, you may have to become the PARENT and GUARDIAN for them.
  6. The Grandparents will have to help finish raising the grandchildren.

* The reason grandparents and grandchildren are so close is that they both have a common enemy, the parent.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The effects…

  1. You begin to look to “outsiders” for guidance instead of family.
  2. You isolate, mistrust relationships and avoid marriage.
  3. You feel like everyone you trust and care about will end up hurting and leaving you. Don’t get too close to anyone.
  4. It becomes easy to make “bad choices” in friends because self medicating seems like the right solution. IT’S NOT !

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The Military is a family…It is a close-knit world-wide community of like- minded people who willingly put their lives on hold in order to protect us at home. They risk their lives everyday to keep us free and they are connected by a common mind-set of values, exceptionalism and purpose. They are truly America’s best.

1.Since the conception of America, Young men and women have been joining our military to get away from home and start their own career. They have always come into our military family with past memories, wounds, trauma, brokenness, loneliness, disappointment and anger. They have always been running from something, but not from the amount of broken homes we are seeing today. Many are messed up when they get here.

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How do get ourselves fixed ?

  1. We identify our enemy and admit we have a problem. We can’t outrun our problems. When we get to where we’re going, they will already be there.
  2. We have to realize what “FEEDS” or FUELS our problems of depression, anger, irritability and hypertension. (Substance use and abuse) Where there is no wood, the fire goes out.
  3. You must set you a goal and “FOCUS” on it. (SUNCHIN KATA)
  4. You must make better decisions and fewer Regrets. You’ll have to live with them
  5. Choose your friends wisely. You’ll probably end up just like them.
  6. Don’t date anyone you wouldn’t want to marry. You might fall in love.
  7. Love your spouse and be faithful to them. Your children are depending on you.
  8. Be the Best Spouse, Parent, Guardian and HERO of your family(including step-children) treat them like your own.
  9. Be willing to STICK it out in your marriage and work things out (maybe professional help.) Your children deserve a good family life.
  10. The Best Home Improvement you can do is take your family to Church. 

WHY??

  1. GOD lives there. It’s fun to worship HIM.
  2. They usually have good food, family activities & everyone smells good.
  3. There are good “role” models for both parents and children there.
  4. Most are good positive people, good mentors and good Teachers to help us to grow into the Best and Happiest people we can be. We need all of the help we can get.
  5. GOD is not a crutch for weak people, He is a stretcher for wounded and dying people.

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Well, The ball is now in your court---play it well !!

Thank you

Life after Trauma #26

Suicide prevention

September is Suicide Prevention month and it is a sad commentary that we have so many suicides among our Military personnel , Veterans and their families. There is a lot of discussion as to what the cause and effects suicide has on the individual and their families and I thought I‘d give you mine.

As a Marine combat veteran who has fought suicidal thoughts for more than forty years, I think I have some ideas on how to cut down on the loss of so many of our national hero’s.

  1. One of the contributing factors associated with suicide is the consumption of “substance .” What is the related Substance I’m talking about? It is alcohol and drugs. Special significance must be placed on pharmaceutical drugs. Weather they come from the V.A. or purchased over the counter, mixing drugs and alcohol can be a deadly combination. Drugs are for a specific purpose and come with a prescribed usage. Abusing the directions or mixing them with other substance can have a damaging or deadly effect. Substance “abuse” may or may not be a contributing factor in the persons life, but just the mere fact that alcohol is being consumed by the depressed person is one of the major culprits that causes the person to think irrationally. They become more depressed, lonely and disconnected from society. The potential for suicide is drastically increased when you mix alcohol and drugs. When you are consuming alcohol and drugs of any amount, you begin to fall “under the influence“ of what you are consuming. You will say and do things that you would not do under normal circumstances. There is also the risk of auto accidents, tickets and increased insurance premiums causing more problems to your career, marriage and self esteem. This kind of “mixing” substance may push you over the edge as you become more depressed and detached from those around you. Suicide is undoubtedly the most selfish thing you can do to those you love, and who love you the most. It slams the door shut in the face of everyone who cares about you and leaves them with a lifetime of wondering why you left without first reaching out to someone who could help you. When Americas Foreign and Domestic enemies read about our military dropping out on the fight against terrorism, I’m sure they are pleased and smile because they will never have to worry about you again. You have actually contributed to their success by eliminating yourself from the battle.
  2. 125 TNEW - If you are depressed or discouraged, please reach out for help. There are a lot of people waiting to hear from you. They want to help, but you must make the call. Many of us have wanted to drop out of the race at one time or another, but didn’t. We pushed on in spite of our pain because we knew there were a lot of young people coming behind us and they were looking for us to set a good example for them. They’re now looking at you. I was taught as a Marine to attack the attacker. When the enemy shows up and attacks you, hit him back twice as hard. It’s simply what good warrior’s do. Semper Fidelis means Always Faithful. (Always) That’s not a cute little saying, it’s a way of life. Stay faithful to God, Country and Corps.
  3. Leave a legacy for someone to follow.
  4. Nothing is too bad that it can’t be fixed.

To call for help…

Jacksonville Vet Center 910-577-1100

Durham V.A. 888-870-6890

Boots on the Ground 919-907-0577

Moment of Silence

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs - Gulf War Illness Research Program
Integration Panel Meeting of May 8, 2015
David K. Winnett, Jr.

Those who suffer from the ravages of chronic illness face daily burdens that would be unimaginable to most. Many thousands of Veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War carry the burdens that come with chronic illness. Chronic illness affects not only the way we feel physically, it takes a huge toll on us emotionally, spiritually, and financially. When you don’t feel well you cannot perform physical and mental tasks the way you once did, and your personal relationships are often greatly strained. The lack of physical capacity more often than not leads to unemployment. Together, these burdens can quickly overwhelm those who are not blessed with social and financial backup systems.

Paul Lyons lived with the burdens of chronic illness for over two decades. Like most who served in the military, Paul was a warrior and not easily defeated, physically, mentally, or emotionally. But sadly, even the greatest of warriors have a breaking point. For more than two decades after being medically retired from the Army, Paul was a well-known national advocate for sick Gulf War Veterans. Paul was instrumental in forming the Desert Storm Justice Foundation. His activities included lobbying members of Congress in Washington D.C., and conducting highly intensive personal research related to Gulf War Illness as well as investigation of the rates of death in Gulf War Veterans.

I met Paul in 2010, at our Gulf War 20th Anniversary Reunion in Dallas. He was a very kind and good hearted man. Despite his physical frailties and obvious pain he never missed an opportunity for a laugh. Paul was fiercely committed to exposing what he strongly believed was a DOD-led effort to suppress information relative to our exposures to battlefield toxins and unapproved pharmaceuticals. He had gone to extraordinary lengths in order to obtain a number of very compelling documents from DOD that painted a quite unflattering picture of the DOD in its efforts to minimize Gulf War Illness where public opinion and the media were concerned.

Paul put together a very powerful presentation for one of the Dallas sessions, including a PowerPoint presentation that literally had members of the audience gasping in shock and disbelief at what Paul had managed to uncover via numerous FOIA requests submitted to DOD.

Following the Dallas reunion Paul returned home to Arkansas and continued to do battle with the bureaucracy that is the United States Government, continually trying to uncover that next piece of evidence that might one day shed a bright light on the cause of Gulf War Illness.

But sadly, over time Paul’s illness began to chip away at his mental well-being. As his personal life began to fall apart so too did Paul’s will to press on. On March 14, 2015 Paul made a conscious decision to end his suffering. He took his own life that day because he felt that he could no longer put up a valiant fight. Paul was only 56 years old.

I greatly admired Paul's tenacity and stick-to-itiveness where his research into Gulf War Illness was concerned. Although I knew him only for a brief time his death took the wind from me, and the many other Gulf War Veterans who knew him. I'm saddened that he is no longer among us, but at the same time I rejoice in knowing that his pain has finally ended. Paul will be missed, but his memory will live on in the hearts of everyone who knew him.

Very sadly, the incidence of suicide has become an all too frequent occurrence among Gulf War Veterans. Over a long period of time many ailing Veterans grow tired of living with constant pain, fatigue, and the myriad of other life altering symptoms associated with Gulf War Illness. Not to mention the strain it puts on the family unit. My prayer is that we’ll soon see a feeling of renewed hope begin to spread across the Gulf War Veteran community as the more promising Gulf War Illness studies begin to bear fruit. Let us always remember that the lives of many thousands of our Veterans depend on the results that we are collectively seeking during these proceedings.

At this time I respectfully ask that our panel engage in a moment of silence in honor of a very special man, Paul D, Lyons, United States Army, Retired.

00:0000:00

Warrior Connection – 03.06.16

March 6, 2016

The March 6 edition of Warrior Connection as an extraordinary discussion between Dr Gary Null  and Warrior Connection co-hosts Major (retired Army ) Doug Rokke, Ph.D., Major (retired USAF) Denise Nichols, MS, RN, and former USMC grunt / Chaplain / Author Ray Clark about the documentaries on Gulf War illness and homeless veterans that Gary has done. (garynull.com)

Read Gary's two new articles about "GULF WAR ILLNESS." 

Part 1; Gulf War Syndrome: US Veterans Suffering from Multiple Debilitating Symptoms

By Dr. Gary Null

Global Research, February 19, 2016

Region: USA

Theme: Science and Medicine, US NATO War Agenda

After their service in the Gulf War conflict from 1990-1991, hundreds of thousands of our country’s veterans began suffering from multiple and diverse debilitating symptoms including neurological and respiratory disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, psychological problems, skin conditions and gastrointestinal issues.

This cluster of symptoms came to be known as Gulf War syndrome. Independent investigations, including those conducted by many of the Gulf War veterans themselves, showed multiple causes behind Gulf War syndrome, including experimental vaccines and medications; exposure to depleted uranium (DU); toxicity from biological and chemical weapons, oil fires, and other environmental contaminants.

Yet for nearly two decades, the official word from the Veterans Administration (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the White House was that Gulf War syndrome did not exist. The result? Countless returning military personnel struggled for years to have their physical illnesses recognized as something other than psychological.

The latest official statistics compiled by the VA show that 25%-30%, or as many as 250,000 Gulf War veterans have suffered from this life-threatening spectrum of illnesses. (1) The number of deaths attributable to Gulf War syndrome remains elusive, however, the US government has failed to address this critical matter. A VA report released in 2014 weighs in on the disturbing oversight:

No comprehensive information has been published on the mortality experience of U.S. Gulf War era veterans after the year 2000. The 14 years for which no mortality figures are available represent more than half of the 23 years since Desert Storm. Mortality information from the last decade is particularly crucial for understanding the health consequences of the Gulf War, given the Epidemiological Research latency periods associated with many chronic diseases of interest. Despite specific recommendations over many years from both the current Committee and Institute of Medicine panels, federal research efforts to monitor the mortality experience of 1990-1991 Gulf War veterans remain seriously inadequate. (2)

How has the federal government managed to avoid taking responsibility on an issue that profoundly impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands of our veterans? Such is the power of the military-industrial complex and the political machine in Washington DC. It seems that as long as the government can deny its role in exposing our soldiers to unproven and toxic vaccines, medications, biological and chemical weapons and depleted uranium, it wouldn’t have to provide medical care to the victims of Gulf War illness. This is, quite simply, one of the largest medical scandals and coverups in American history. For nearly two decades, the American media supported the official position that Gulf War Syndrome was only in the heads of our veterans, while legions of vets and their families were hung out to dry and die. The administrations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have been complicit in the plot, and therefore stand accused of massive human rights violations. Yet American media denies it completely.

In this special two part investigation it will become clear that these claims are not wild conspiracy theories or anti-government rants, but based on firsthand testimony from veterans and years of solid scientific research. All these facts paint a sobering picture of the insidious corruption, lies and negligence on the part of our government, which has, quite literally, killed our own.

I started reporting on the alarming emergence of Gulf War syndrome in the mid nineties. In a 1994 cover story in a national publication and based on my original 2 year investigation, I discussed the disturbing link between exposure to experimental drugs and other chemical toxins and the host of serious health problems among servicemen and women who participated in the Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm. In the article, I interviewed vets who spoke not only about suffering deeply from various symptoms, but also how their attempts to bring their circumstances to light and receive healthcare were effectively stonewalled by US government.

One such serviceman was Paul Sullivan, who spoke to me about the hardships he faced, stating:

I first became ill right there in the gulf, with rashes and what we just considered runny noses. It never went away. I ended up with chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, learned I had a tuberculosis infection. The rashes still haven’t gone away. The VA completely blew me off for two years until I went public·and talked on your radio station…. Before then, the VA was in the process of purging people’s records, denying them service…. This denial of the problem-that it even exists-by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is absolutely shocking, immoral, and unconscionable-absolutely outrageous. (3)

My investigative article also covered the findings of two federally appointed researchers who presented an incendiary report at a May 1994 Congressional hearing on the topic “Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health?”. The report, written by Dr. Diana Zuckerman and Dr. Patricia Olsen, points to an effort by the DoD to fast-track Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of certain experimental drugs designed to protect soldiers against wartime chemical exposure. According to the report, the DoD told the FDA that botulinum toxoid (botulism) vaccine and the anti-nerve gas drug pyridostigmine bromide were safe and effective for long-term use, despite the fact that no such evidence existed. Further, the researchers showed that DoD studies on the drugs employed shoddy scientific methodology and turned up ample evidence of serious adverse side effects. Another disturbing fact was the lack of soldiers’ informed consent. I explained in the article that:

According to Zuckerman and Olson, initially the Department of Defense assured the F.D.A. that investigational drugs would be administered to soldiers on a voluntary basis. Information on the products would be provided, and soldiers would be monitored for ill effects. As it turned out, though, none of these conditions were met. The Defense Department got the F.D.A. to grant them waivers from informed-consent regulations for the use of pyridostigmine and botulinum-toxoid vaccine. As a result, many gulf veterans were not told what vaccine they were being given or what the risks were. (4)

Despite years of mounting evidence, it was not until 2008 that Gulf War syndrome was officially recognized as a distinct illness after a US Congress-appointed committee released an analysis of over 100 studies related to Gulf War illnesses. The committee concluded that there was a clear link to specific chemical exposures. The chemicals identified included pesticides, pyridostigmine bromide, and the nerve gas sarin that troops may have been exposed to during the demolition of a weapons depot. The committee’s chief scientist, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, singled out the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor drugs such as pyridostigmine bromide as having a particularly strong connection to the development of veterans’ ill health. She also revealed that some people appear to be particularly at risk from such chemicals due to genetic variations that impair enzyme function. When exposed, these people run a much higher risk for developing symptoms and disease (5).

The committee concluded that Gulf War illnesses are certainly physical in nature and that the psychological stressors experienced by Gulf War vets, while substantial, were inadequate to account for the extent of their illnesses. The committee findings reported that more than a quarter of the 700,000 US veterans of the 1991 conflict have suffered from the illness.(6)

Before we dig deeper into the politics and deceit that has, and in some ways continues to suppress the Gulf War syndrome issue, let’s first take a closer look at the 25 years of scientific inquiry establishing a link between the multiple toxins to which our soldiers were exposed and the long list of Gulf War-related illnesses .

Deconstructing the Symptoms and Science of Gulf War Syndrome

The term Gulf War syndrome is not an easily defined condition, but rather encompasses a wide variety of ailments. Former congressman Steven Buyer (R-IN), whose Army reserve unit was stationed at a prisoner of war camp in the region, calls Gulf War syndrome a misnomer, explaining that he and other afflicted servicemen have been plagued with a broad spectrum of chronic disorders. Having experienced some of the symptoms firsthand, Buyer attributes the heightened frequency of illnesses among veterans to the wide variety of hazardous substances they encountered in the Gulf, including poison gases, diesel fumes, petroleum-related pollution, parasites, experimental medications, and biological warfare agents.(7) According to the Association of Birth Defect Children, Gulf War exposures include, but are not limited to: DEET, permethrin, pyridostigmine, pentachlorophenol, benzocaine sulfur, aluminum phosphide, baygon, boric acid, Sevin, amidinohydrazone, diazinon, Dursban, dichlorvos, Ficam, carbaryl, lindane, malathion, oil well fires, leaded fuels, depleted uranium, solvents, DeContam agent, malaria pills, campfires, leishmaniasis, chemical warfare agents, CARC, experimental vaccinations (including those with squalene), D-phenothrin, allethrin, paint toxins, and many others. (8)

Dr. Boaz Milner, who practiced at the VA hospital in Allen Park, Michigan, treated hundreds of patients claiming to have become ill as a result of their Gulf War experience. Milner agrees with Buyer that the collection of symptoms that have manifested can be attributed to a variety of factors, which he has categorized into five syndromes. Milner’s first category of Gulf War syndrome sufferers consists of soldiers who were exposed to excessive quantities of radiation, likely a result of the depleted uranium used in munitions. The second form was induced by the widespread use of experimental vaccines that were designed to protect the troops from the harmful elements they would encounter, while another category encompasses veterans exposed to various environmental pollutants, including the more than 700 burning oil wells that contaminated the region’s air and water. Milner believes that other soldiers may have contracted illnesses due to the presence of toxic chemical compounds, such as pesticides. The fifth form of the syndrome was brought on by the release of biological warfare agents.(9) With so many exposures, it is logical to anticipate a broad spectrum of symptoms for sufferers of Gulf War syndrome.

Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome affects over half of Gulf War victims, according to Dr. Garth Nicolson, President and Founder of the Institute for Molecular Medicine, who, with his wife, molecular biophysicist Dr. Nancy Nicolson, spent years studying veteran health conditions. Other symptoms pointed out by Nicolson include lymphoma, cardiac ailments, memory loss, leukoencephalopathy, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Also common to sufferers are dizziness, nausea, stomach pains, light sensitivity, intense anxiety, breathing difficulty, muscle spasms, diarrhea, blurred vision, inexplicable skin rashes, hives, bleeding gums, eye redness, night sweats, and acute migraine-like headaches. (10)

Vaccines

The effects from the mélange of chemicals Gulf War vets were exposed to is impossible to unravel fully after examining the brutal fact that the experimental vaccines mixed with unmonitored medicine had never been proven safe. In fact, the widespread use of experimental vaccines during Desert Storm has been cited by many as a possible cause of Gulf War syndrome. Dr. Garth Nicolson elaborates, “I’m not a big fan of experimental vaccines. There have been too many mistakes. Usually you find these things out years later. Often agents that we think innocuous turn out to be harmful.”(11) Even worse, during the Gulf War, the established procedures of vaccination were neglected and ignored. Normally, only one inoculation should be given at a time, but the military insisted on giving multiple shots at once, which, according to Nicolson, is the worst thing you can do because it suppresses the immune system. (12)

The troops immunized for the Gulf became government guinea pigs. They received experimental vaccines, such anthrax and botulinum, which were not approved for use by the FDA and have since been shown to cause potentially dangerous side effects. Soldiers who were given these experimental vaccines, without informed consent, have reported suffering from a variety of neurological problems and aberrant bleeding from various parts of the body.

Neil Tetzlaff, a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force during the Gulf War, testified at a senate hearing of his symptoms:

On the plane ride to Saudi and during my first day in-country, I was nauseated and vomited. I attributed the sickness to the plane ride and tenseness of the situation. On my second day there, I vomited again and felt different. I attributed the sickness to something I’d eaten. On the third day, I was extremely nauseated and vomited multiple times. I sought out the doctor and discussed my illness with him. We dismissed it as something I had eaten at the Saudi canteen. On my fourth day there, I vomited violently, the worst ever of my life, and was acting a bit off center and muddled. … On the morning of the seventh day, I vomited about a quart of blood. Since deployed for Desert Shield, I have been suffering moderate to severe and intolerable pain, and fatigue, and lately have developed one heck of a palsy. I’ve lost [much of] my ability to speak because I can’t recall words, have extreme problems with my short-term memory, and I had a dramatic change in my olfactory system. The last three and a half years have been extremely difficult on me and my family.(13)

Not only did the experimental vaccines pose a threat to the troops’ immune systems, the anthrax vaccination contained squalene, an unapproved adjuvant linked to devastating autoimmune diseases. The DOD made every attempt to deny that squalene was indeed an added contaminant in the anthrax vaccine administered to Gulf War military personnel. (14) Despite these efforts, unusually high antibody levels for squalene have been measured in blood samples of Gulf War vets. A clear link was established between the contaminated product and all the syndrome sufferers who were injected with squalene.

This was confirmed in an investigation conducted by Insight magazine, which also reported that VA spokespeople have no explanation for these findings.(15) The mystery is compounded by the disappearance of up to 70,000 service-related immunization records. One of the scientists hired by Insight to investigate the presence of squalene in veterans’ blood elaborates on the study’s findings: “We found soldiers who are not sick that do not have the antibodies. … We found soldiers who never left the U.S. but who got shots who are sick, and they have squalene in their systems. We found people who served overseas in various parts of the desert that are sick who have squalene. And we found people who served in the desert but were civilians who never got these shots … who are not sick and do not have squalene.” (16)

According to one government official familiar with the blood test results, veterans’ illnesses were correlated with increased levels of antibodies for squalene. Another official explained, “I’m not telling you that squalene is making these people sick, but I am telling you that the sick ones have it in them.” (17)

Research immunologist Pam Asa has worked with about 150 sick Gulf War individuals. Asa reported that the autoimmune manifestations of squalene vary from person to person, depending on the patient’s genetic makeup. “In other words, patient A will have a certain spectrum of symptoms, and patient B will have another. But it’s still the same disease.” (18)

Mark Zeller is a serviceman suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. He revealed the following to me in a radio interview:

I sent my blood and got a notice back that I’m positive for this stuff called squalene, which is an adjuvant, which goes into a vaccine. This adjuvant is still not for human use. I’m here to tell you, I’ve got squalene in my body. And I said, it’s not supposed to be in humans. To this date, it’s still not used in humans except for research. I never sought to be a guinea pig out in the desert. I signed on to protect my country. At least that’s what I thought. (19)

Zeller isn’t alone. A study conducted at Tulane Medical School and published in Experimental Molecular Pathology included these stunning statistics:

… The substantial majority (95%) of overtly ill deployed GWS patients had antibodies to squalene. All (100%) GWS patients immunized for service in Desert Shield/Desert Storm who did not deploy, but had the same signs and symptoms as those who did deploy, had antibodies to squalene.

In contrast, none (0%) of the deployed Persian Gulf veterans not showing signs and symptoms of GWS have antibodies to squalene. Neither patients with idiopathic autoimmune disease nor healthy controls had detectable serum antibodies to squalene. The majority of symptomatic GWS patients had serum antibodies to squalene. (20)

According to Dr. Viera Scheibner, a former principal research scientist for the government of Australia:

… This adjuvant [squalene] contributed to the cascade of reactions called “Gulf War Syndrome,” documented in the soldiers involved in the Gulf War. The symptoms they developed included arthritis, fibromyalgia, lymph­adenopathy, rashes, photo­­sensitive rashes, malar rashes, chronic fatigue, chronic headaches, abnormal body hair loss, non-healing skin lesions, aphthous ulcers, dizziness, weakness, memory loss, seizures, mood changes, neuropsychiatric problems, anti-thyroid effects, anemia, elevated ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Raynaud’s phenomenon, Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic diarrhea, night sweats and low-grade fevers. (21)

Although the US government has been reluctant to associate squalene, and vaccines in general, with Gulf War syndrome, a 2014 VA report concedes that vaccine exposure cannot be discounted:

Taken together, the scientific literature published since 2008 supports and reinforces the conclusion in the 2008 RACGWVI report that exposures to pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide are causally associated with Gulf War illness and that exposures to low-level nerve agents, oil well fires, receipt of multiple vaccines, and combinations of Gulf War exposures cannot be ruled out as contributing factors to this condition. (22)

Biological and Chemical Weapons

Disclosures by high-ranking Iraqi officials have confirmed that Iraq possessed an extensive chemical and biological arsenal during the Gulf War. After his defection in August 1995, Saddam Hussein’s top biological weapons adviser, Lieutenant General Hussein Kamel Majid, unveiled an abundance of classified information to United Nations investigators documenting the development of Iraq’s biological and chemical warfare arsenals. Prior to the Gulf War, the Iraqis engaged in a top-secret program to develop biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons that could be used against their enemies, including the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Prior to the disclosures, Iraq claimed it had only 10 people employed in its biological programs. Since then it has admitted that 150 scientists and an extensive support staff were involved in the mass development of biological warfare agents throughout the 1980s. According to UN officials, Iraq possessed at least 50 bombs loaded with anthrax, 100 bombs containing botulinum, and 25 missile warheads carrying other germ agents.

The Iraqi government’s goal was to create a diversified arsenal that went far beyond conventional weapons. For instance, one viral agent manufactured by the Iraqis was capable of generating hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, which commonly results in temporary blindness or bleeding eyes. Another agent could be used to induce chronic diarrhea, a condition quite effective in immobilizing troops. The secret Iraqi programs were also responsible for the production of at least 78 gallons of gangrene-inducing chemicals that were capable of penetrating the body and infecting wounds. Other agents included “yellow rain,” a lethal fungus responsible for bleeding lungs, and ricin, a deadly toxin derived from castor oil plants.

Was Iraq ready to use its poisons on the battlefield? Jonathan Tucker documents in the Nonproliferation Review that Iraq used them on 76 separate occasions.(23) Tucker notes that during the conflict London’s Sunday Times reported on intercepted Iraqi military communications indicating that Saddam Hussein had authorized front-line commanders to use chemical weapons as soon as coalition forces began their ground offensive.(24) The American Newsweek also reported this fact. (25)

We have military documentation to support assertions of biological and chemical weapons presence. Battlefield reports of the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade confirmed the release of anthrax on Feb. 24, 1991, at King Khalid Military City, while documentation from the following day reveals the presence of lewisite, a nerve gas that may have been released either by an Iraqi assault or from secondary explosions.

Depleted Uranium

In addition to the chemical and biological warfare, there is another disturbing legacy left by the American invasion of Iraq: depleted uranium. DU is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process. Its name implies it is a harmless material, but in actuality it is still a highly poisonous, radioactive, heavy metal. The term depleted comes from the process of extracting and removing the highly radioactive isotope U-235 from natural uranium and thereby leaving the relatively stable and less radioactive isotope, U-238. After U-235 is extracted from U-238 for use in nuclear weapons and breeder reactors, only U-238 remains. Although it is considerd depleted because it no longer contains U-235, U-238 still emits one-third of its original level of radioactivity.

The DoD claims that DU is used only on bullet tips and tank shells in order to enhance penetration of steel as easily as butter. The truth is that the entire bullet or shell, not just the tips or coating, contain U-238, making them especially hazardous. Furthermore upon explosion the uranium can be present at a nano-scale. Dr. Doug Rokke, a retired major who served as the director of the US Army Depleted Uranium Project in the mid-90s is a specialist in uranium cleanup efforts. He was an advisor for DU science and health for the Centers for Disease Control, US Institute of Medicine, Congress, and the DOD. Rokke has been at the forefront in efforts to alert health and military officials about DU’s enormous health risks:

It is important to realize that DU penetrators are solid uranium 238. They are not tipped or coated! DU oxides are shed during flight spreading minute contamination all along the flight path. The Cannon bore is also contaminated as is the inside of each tank or bradley fighting vehicle or LAV.  During an impact at least 40 % of the penetrator forms uranium oxides or fragments which are left on the terrain, within or on impacted equipment, or within impacted structures.

The remainder of the penetrator retains its initial shape. Thus we are left with a solid piece of uranium lying someplace which can be picked up by children. DU also ignites in the air during flight and upon impact spreading contamination everyplace. The resulting shower of burning DU and DU fragments causes secondary explosions, fires, injury, and death. (26)

US and British forces used Operation Desert Storm as a testing ground for the widespread employment of DU during Gulf War I. It is estimated that over 940,000 30 mm uranium-tipped bullets and 14,000 large-caliber depleted rounds were released. Even before the second Gulf War, between 350 and 800 tons of DU residue, with a half-life of 4.4 billion years, permeated the ground and water of Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Such immense radioactive pollution has exposed countless people. Inhalation and ingestion of DU were unavoidable for troops in proximity to exploding shells. In addition, soldiers spent long hours sitting in tanks, handling uranium-laced shells and casings. Weapons were also taken home as souvenirs. Families of veterans came in contact with the substance after handling clothing laced with it.

The insidious adverse effects of DU in the body was illustrated by scientists at the DOD’s Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Maryland, in research presented to the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society of Toxicology. They tested the effects of embedded DU by inserting shrapnel-like pellets into the legs of rats. The researchers were surprised at how quickly oncogenes–genes believed to be precursors to cancer–formed. Another discovery was that DU kills suppressor, or health-maintaining, genes. The experiments also demonstrated that DU spreads throughout the body, depositing itself in the brain and spleen, among other organs, and that it can be passed by a pregnant rat to a developing fetus.(27)

Many of the symptoms experienced by Gulf War veterans and their families are indicative of radiation poisoning. These include nausea, vomiting, memory loss, and increased cancer rates. In addition, veterans’ children are manifesting an alarming rate of birth defects, lowered immunity, and childhood cancers. Radiation-affected sperm may be contributing these defects.

Dr. Jay Gould, author of The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors, has been an outspoken critic of low-level radiation. Gould says that exposure to DU released into the atmosphere poses the same grave dangers any other exposure to uranium. “There is nothing new about it,” Gould says, stressing that a biochemical impact of low-level radiation can immediately attack the immune response.(28) Since immune response is a key factor in maintaining good health, a weakened immune system makes people vulnerable to any kind of infection or allergic response. Consequently, everything from cancer to allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities can be activated by the uranium dust.

Gould adds that one reason why people generally ignore the dangers of low-level radiation is because it is often confused with background radiation:

Background radiation is something that humans have lived with for hundreds of thousands of years. Over that long period, our immune response has developed a capacity to resist natural forms of radiation from cosmic rays and radiation in the soil. But ever since the nuclear age began, we have introduced new fission products, like radioactive iodine and radioactive strontium that are released in the operation of a nuclear reactor or an explosion of a bomb. These have the ability to impact the immune response. This is what we mean by low-level radiation. It’s an internal radiation. In other words, if you ingest a fission product or a piece of uranium dust, it is like having a tiny x-ray go off for a tiny fraction of a second for the rest of your life. The effects of low-level radiation are quite awful, depending on which organ is affected. (29)

A University of Aberdeen peer-reviewed study of Gulf War vets equivocated on the reality of Gulf War illness. It admitted a higher, but not statistically significant, increase in death rates among soldiers who came into contact with DU and pesticides. A recent examination of the effects of DU in lung cell lines indicates that uranium changes regulatory biomolecular pathways within the lung tissues.(30) In rat tissue cells, a dramatic decrease in certain liver enzymes occurred. Other results indicate an increase in mRNA response (precursors to the cellular enzymes) to make up for the previous decrease in enzyme production.

Another paper by the Laboratoire de Radiotoxicologie Experimentale in Marseilles, France, suggests that in animal studies, DU inhalation can damage lung cells by changing DNA base pairs.(31) Introduction of DU into rat tracheae caused increased enzyme activity in rat testes three months later. In mouse cell lines, DU caused DNA mutations, and the authors point out that these were not only caused by radiation, but the actual presence of the chemical was toxic as well. (32) White blood cells of people exposed to the effects of DU in Bosnia and Herzegovina had measured changes in their genetic material.(33) In addition, an Israeli study showed that concentrations in hair, nails, and urine were directly correlated to the amounts of DU ingested in the water.(34) A further rat study shows that neurological exposure to DU may influence motor behavior and memory loss.(35) Despite the lack of extensive human cohort studies, these data suggest that DU present in bodily systems affects the various tissues throughout the body.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine studied vets who were exposed to friendly fire during the first Gulf War. During the course of a decade, vets continued to show elevated DU levels in their urine. The presence of increased DU research in the literature indicates a growing consensus that exposure to DU is a cause for concern.(36)One soldier who was struggling with terminal colon cancer described the environment where he was stationed as a toxic dump of “oil refineries, a cement factory, a chlorine factory and a sulfuric acid factory” all polluting the air. (37)

Gulf War Illness and Birth defects

Unfortunately, the suffering has not been limited to veterans. As early as 1994, the LA Times reported on birth defects appearing in the children of soldiers exposed to various chemical agents. (38) Reed West, daughter of Gulf veteran Dennis West from Waynesboro, Mississippi, was born prematurely with collapsed lungs and a faulty immune system. Joshua Miller, the son of veteran Aimee Miller, chronically suffers from unusual colds, pneumonia, and high fevers. In Waynesboro, Mississippi, the site of the National Guard Quartermaster Corps, 13 out of 15 children born to Gulf veterans suffered from serious disorders. Infant mortality rates have dramatically escalated in four counties in Kentucky and Tennessee, where the Army’s 101st Airborne Division is based; in three counties in Georgia, where the Army’s 197th Infantry Division is located; and at Ft. Hood, in Texas.(39) According to Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, a molecular toxicologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, men pass toxic chemicals on to their unborn children through their semen. (40)

According to Birth Defect Research for Children, a Florida-based association studying birth defects in Gulf veterans’ families, there is an increase in birth defects in children born to Gulf War vets. Its registry keeps track of babies born with missing limbs, chronic infections, delayed development, cancer, heart problems, and immunity defects. The center has identified a disproportionate occurrence of Goldenhar syndrome in Gulf veterans’ offspring.(41) Goldenhar syndrome (medically called oculo-auriculo-vertebral [OVA] spectrum) is a “rare disease,” yet it is popping up in the infants of Gulf War vets far too frequently. The syndrome has a wide range of symptoms, and frequently looks very different from one child to the next. Despite its dissimilarities, Goldenhar syndrome frequently produces facial deformities such as asymetrical distortions, abnormally small eyes, missing upper eyelids, ear malformations, incomplete or fused vertebral development, and numerous internal problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, and intestines.

Persian Gulf vet Steve Miller knows this condition all too well: his son, conceived soon after his return from the Gulf, was born with Goldenhar. According to Miller, “He had hydrocephalus, spinal scoliosis, spina bifida, was missing his left eye and left ear, [and] his heart was on the right side of his body.” Miller continued to explain that “according to the National Institute of Health, [Goldenhar syndrome] is either hereditary or caused by teratogenic exposure. In our case we both tested negative in genetic testing.” (42)

So how did Miller’s child end up with such a rare disease when the genetic factors that supposedly cause Goldenhar syndrome were absent from both parents’ DNA? The answer: a multiplicity of poisons.

Mitochondria, Neurodegeneration and the Latest Scientific Evidence.

Compelling new research presented at a 2015 Conference held by the American Physiological Society (APS) has now linked Gulf War Syndrome pathology with impaired mitochondria function. Comparing the mitochondria in blood cells from from veterans who served in Gulf operations with healthy veterans who did not deploy, the research found that deployed vets had increased mitochondrial DNA and more damaged mitochondrial DNA than their healthy counterparts. The findings suggest that the toxic compounds affecting individuals with Gulf War syndrome may have directly damaged this critical component of the cellular health. (43)

These findings corroborate a study published in 2014 noting that “Mitochondrial problems account for which exposures relate to Gulf War illness, which symptoms predominate, how Gulf War illness symptoms manifest themselves, what objective tests have been altered, and why routine blood tests have not been useful.” (44)

January 2016 saw the publication of a comprehensive analysis of new research on Gulf War syndrome conducted at Boston University and several other institutions. Published in the journal Cortex, the analysis implicated exposure to pesticides, oil well fire emissions, sarin nerve gas and the ingestion of pyridostigmine bromide pills as profoundly on the neurological health of Gulf vets.(45) The analysis discussed the high incidence of “structural and electrical abnormalities” in the central nervous system, brain cancer, and reduced white and gray brain matter in among the veterans. The researchers also stressed the importance of deepening the scientific inquiry in this area so that we may finally develop effective treatments:

Further research into the mechanisms and etiology of the health problems of [Gulf War] veterans is critical to developing biomarkers of exposure and illness, and preventing similar problems for military personnel in future deployments. This information is also critical for developing new treatments for GWI and related neurological dysfunction (46)

Twenty-five years after the conclusion of the Gulf War conflict, there is no debating the fact that our troops suffered tremendously not only from chemical hazards on the battlefield but also from exposure to dangerous experimental drugs administered by the US military. Part 2 of this Gulf War syndrome investigation, will take a closer look at the disturbing decades-long legacy of ignorance and outright denial about this serious illness on the part of the US government.

Notes

  1. “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013” US Dept of Veterans Affairs, http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/RACReport2014Final.pdf
  2. Ibid
  3. Null GM. The Gulf War syndrome: causes and the cover-up. Penthouse. September 1994. Reprinted with permission of the author,

      4: Ibid

  1. Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses. April 12, 2008.
  2. Silverleib A. Gulf War syndrome is real, new federal report says [online article]. CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/17/gulf.war.illness.study.
  3.  Cary P, Tharp M. The Gulf War’s grave aura. U.S. News & World Report. July 8, 1996.

      8.Presentation to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Veteran’s Administration [Web page].http://www.birthdefects.org/research/veterans.php.

  1. France D. The families who are dying for our country. Redbook. Sept. 1994.
  2. Null G. Interview with Dr. Garth Nicolson. Aug. 8th, 1997.
  3. Null G. Interview with Drs. Garth and Nancy Nicolson. May 7, 1996.
  4. Null G. Interview with Dr. Garth Nicolson. Aug. 8th, 1997.
  5. Null G. Interview with Neil Tetzlaff. July 19th, 1997.
  6. Bernstein D. Gulf War syndrome covered up. Covert Action Quarterly. 53.
  7. Rodriguez PM. The Gulf War mystery. Insight Magazine, September 8, 1997.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Devitt M. Vaccines may be linked to Gulf War syndrome. DOD to review possible use of illegal additive. Dynamic Chiropractic. June 12, 2000.
  10. Null G. Interview with Pam Asa. Aug. 9, 1997.
  11. Null G. Interview with Mark Zeller. July 29, 1997.
  12. Asa PB, Cao Y, Garry RF. Antibodies to squalene in Gulf War syndrome. Exp Mol Pathol. February 2000;68(1):55–64.
  13. Scheibner V. Adverse effects of adjuvants in vaccines. Nexus. Dec 2000;8(1)–Feb 2001;8(2).
  14. “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013” US Dept of Veterans Affairs, http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/RACReport2014Final.pdf
  15. Tucker J. Nonproliferation Review. Spring/Summer 1997.
  16. Swain J, Adams J. Saddam gives local commanders go-ahead for chemical attacks. Sunday Times. Feb. 3, 1991.
  17. Masland T, Waller D. Are we ready for chemical war? Newsweek. Mar. 4, 1991.
  18. IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED ON DEPLETED URANIUM, Dr. Doug Rokke, Ph.D.

    April 13, 2004 http://www.gdr.org/depleted_uranium%20htm.htm

  1. Mesler B. Nation. May 26, 1997.
  2. Dr. Jay Gould. Personal interview. Oct. 28, 1996.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Malard V, Prat O. Proteomic analysis of the response of human lung cells to uranium. Proteomics. 2005 Nov;5(17):4568–80.
  5. Genotoxic and inflammatory effects of depleted uranium particles inhaled by rats. Toxicol Sci. Jan 2006; 89(1):287–295. Epub 2005 Oct 12.
  6. Stearns DM. Uranyl acetate induces hprt mutations and uranium-DNA adducts in Chinese hamster ovary EM9 cells. Mutagenesis. Nov 2005;20(6):417–423. Epub 2005 Sep 29.
  7. Krunić A. Micronuclei frequencies in peripheral blood lymphocytes of individuals exposed to depleted uranium. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. Sep 2005;56(3):227–232.
  8. Karpas Z. Measurement of the 234U/238U ratio by MC-ICPMS in drinking water, hair, nails, and urine as an indicator of uranium exposure source. Health Phys. Oct 2005;89(4):315–321.
  9. Monleau M, Bussy C, Lestaevel P, Houpert P, Paquet F, Chazel V. Bioaccumulation and behavioural effects of depleted uranium in rats exposed to repeated inhalations. Neurosci Lett. Dec 16, 2005;390(1):31–36.
  10. McDiarmid MA, Engelhardt SM, Oliver M, et al. Biological monitoring and surveillance results of Gulf War I veterans exposed to depleted uranium. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. Aug 2, 2005:11–21.
  11. McClain C. Cancer in Iraq vets raises possibility of toxic exposure. Arizona Daily Star. November 2, 2007.
  12.  Serrano RA. Birth defects in Gulf vets’ babies stir fear, debate. Los Angeles Times. Nov. 14, 1994.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid
  15. Birth Defect Research for Children Inc http://www.birthdefects.org.
  16. Null G. Interview with Steve Miller. Aug. 9, 1997.
  17. American Physiological Society (APS). “For veterans with Gulf War Illness, an explanation for the unexplainable symptoms.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150910185120.htm>.
  18. Hayley J. Koslik, Gavin Hamilton, Beatrice A. Golomb. Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Gulf War Illness Revealed by 31Phosphorus Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: A Case-Control Study. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (3): e92887 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0092887
  19. White, Roberta F., Lea Steele, James P. O’callaghan, Kimberly Sullivan, James H. Binns, Beatrice A. Golomb, Floyd E. Bloom, James A. Bunker, Fiona Crawford, Joel C. Graves, Anthony Hardie, Nancy Klimas, Marguerite Knox, William J. Meggs, Jack Melling, Martin A. Philbert, and Rachel Grashow. “Recent Research on Gulf War Illness and Other Health Problems in Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War: Effects of Toxicant Exposures during Deployment.” Cortex 74 (2016): 449-75. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.
  20. Ibid

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Dr. Gary Null, Global Research, 2016

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Part 2: The Gulf War Syndrome Plot: The US Government’s Conspiracy of Silence and Obstruction Against Gulf War Veterans

By Gary Null, PhD.

Research Editor: Jeremy Stillman

The Progressive Radio Network

February 25, 2016

With only 148 Americans officially killed in action and only 467 wounded, the Gulf War seemed to be a shining victory for our military and its leaders. However, this victory has cast a long, lingering shadow. Today we know that nearly 200,000 of our Gulf service men and women are suffering from a debilitating and sometimes deadly syndrome. The suffering our military personnel have endured from Gulf War syndrome is outrageous in and of itself; however, the US government’s decades-long denial that the illness even exists has compounded the problem tremendously.

Clearly there is a sadistic irony being played out.  We asked brave Americans, whether in the reserve, National Guard, or enlisted troops, to serve in dangerous environments, including Afghanistan and Iraq. We exposed them to biological and chemical agents, experimental vaccines, and environmental toxins – ranging from the byproducts of air pollutants released from burning oil wells to depleted uranium (DU). After they are brought home, not only do they not receive adequate medical treatment, but the government even denies the existence of their very serious health conditions. As a result, many veterans have filed bankruptcy. Their conditions are not covered under any veteran program. A 2015 US Department of Housing and Urban Development report estimates that nearly 48,000 veterans are currently homeless on any given night, which accounts for approximately 11% of the entire homeless American population.(1) Since it is difficult to determine the actual number of homeless veterans, this figure is likely conservative. 

Due to the government’s serious neglect, too many veterans are now destitute, homeless, and hungry, having spent tens of thousands of dollars and depleting their life savings in an unsuccessful attempt to relieve their ailments. As former Senators Don Riegle Jr. (D-MI) and Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) so adeptly observed, "The veterans of the Gulf War have asked us for nothing more than the assistance they have earned. Our refusal to come to their immediate assistance can only lead others to question the integrity of the nation they serve." (2)

In a recent interview, James Binns, who served as the chairman of the Research Advisory Committee tasked with investigating multi-symptom illnesses in 2008 , expressed his misgivings about the conspicuous lack of attention given to the issue by those in our halls of power:

We did it to ourselves. Pesticides, PB, nerve gas released by destroying Iraqi facilities—all are cases of friendly fire. That may explain why government and military leaders have been so reluctant to acknowledge what happened, just as they tried to cover up Agent Orange after Vietnam. Certainly, the government should have been facing the problem honestly and doing research from the start to identify diagnostic tests and treatments. (3)

Recently, Binns and his colleagues published a report in the journal Cortex showing compelling new research linking Gulf War syndrome with toxic wartime exposures. (4) 

Denying Healthcare: A Culture of Corruption

In a 1994 interview I conducted with Paul Sullivan, one of the Gulf War vets profiled in Part 1 of this article, Sullivan shared with me the roadblocks he encountered trying to receive medical attention for his illness:

When you finally get into the VA system, what happens is, they'll lose your records. I went to appointments, ended up waiting four, five additional hours for the doctor simply to find my medical records or the X-rays that they took two or three days earlier. When you do get an exam, the doctor will say, ‘I've got five minutes. Tell me your problem.' Then they won't record your symptoms. You hear stories about doctors where their stethoscopes were not even in their ears. You hear stories about soldiers going in there like me, with rashes and respiratory problems and the doctors not even writing it down. Then, even though we're sick, they don't do any tests. Lung function tests, sinus X-rays, chest X-rays – they weren't doing any of that. Then for the few tests they did run, such as blood tests, in my case, they knew I had an immune deficiency – nobody ever looked at the results. ...

Unfortunately for many veterans who get out of the service and don't have any health insurance, the VA is our only option. And our only option has crashed and burned under the stress of so many hundreds of thousands of vets coming in and looking for help.(5)

Twenty-two years later, have things changed? Hardly. The appalling lack of quality and timely healthcare through the VA continues to be a major issue plagued by scandal and corruption.

In 2014, officials at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health System were exposed for concealing the fact that as many as 1,600 ailing vets endured months-long wait periods before being seen by doctors. It’s estimated that at least 40 US veterans died while waiting for appointments.  Many were placed on “secret wait lists” designed to hide the unacceptably long wait periods. (6) Recently retired Phoenix VA physician Dr. Sam Foote commented on the lists saying, "The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules." (7)

The issue of unreasonably long delays is not limited to the Phoenix VA system. In 2014, amidst growing pressure, Congress enacted the Veterans Choice Program, a $10 billion program to provide vets with access to healthcare services if they have been waiting over 30 days to receive VA medical care, or if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility. While Veterans Choice seemed to be a welcome improvement to the previous system, new revelations indicate that this latest program is shamefully ineffective, leaving untold thousands of veterans with little to no access to healthcare for months and even years. Sources indicate that this recent federal program, which doles out payments to cover veterans’  health costs at both VA and private facilities, has caused numerous problems, effectively preventing veterans’ access to healthcare. (8)

Courageous whistleblowers are calling attention to the downsizing and elimination of important departments, such as neurosurgery and orthopedics, by VA hospital administrators. (9) These actions have forced veterans into the Choice program in order to cut hospital costs while also allowing the hospitals to reap additional federal funding.(10) The result has been fewer health service options for veterans contending with serious illnesses and conditions. Across the country, reports document the continuation of long delays and bureaucratic barriers to receive healthcare.

In a 2015 CNN interview, one insider stated that even at the Phoenix VA, former service people wait more than 6 months to see a doctor. (11) At the Phoenix VA alone, over 8,000 requests for medical care were found to have wait times of more than 90 days. The ongoing travesty is perpetuated by the VA’s new and misleading system of measuring wait times, which, according to the insider,  “enables an official line that's not consistent with reality," (12) VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson admitted last year that on any given day across the country, there are 500,000 appointments with extended wait times. (13)

Many employees appear hesitant to speak out against the VA’s ineffective and corrupt policies from fear of repercussions. According to Carolyn Lerner of the US Office of Special Counsel, a body charged with investigating and prosecuting ethics violations and whistleblower retaliation, an incredible 40% of the cases reviewed concern the VA.(14) Dr. Katherine Mitchell, a VA physician and whistleblower who testified before Congress about the secret wait list scandal and culture of retaliation inside the VA, believes the number of whistleblowers coming forward would rise significantly if employees felt comfortable voicing their opposition. Dr. Mitchell stated,

I believe that percentage will go up significantly. The amount of retaliation that’s going on in every facility throughout the nation for decades, if the employees are encouraged that they can come forward honestly, I believe that the VA will be 90 percent of their cases. (15)

New reports show that some VA officials responsible for these catastrophic failures have not only managed to avoid accountability, but are receiving bonuses. Last year the VA paid out $143 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses to VA physicians and administrators. A number of these recipients were embroiled in controversies.(16)  Dr. David Houlihan, former chief of staff at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin, who stands accused of prescribing excessive amounts of narcotics to ailing vets, was given a $4,000 performance bonus in 2014.(17) Another VA chief of staff from St. Cloud Minnesota, Dr. Susan Markstrom, was awarded a $3,900 bonus even though an internal investigation report from January 2014 pointed to her role in mismanaging hospital operations and enforcing a culture of intimidation at the facilities, which discouraged employees from speaking out against the hospital management. (18)  Also among the recipients of the performance bonus was VA benefits office director Kimberly Graves, who came under fire in a September 2015 VA Inspector General report for allegedly abusing her authority to change job positions, and in the process, collected $129,000 in compensation. (19)

Vaccines and Pyridostigmine Bromide : A Question of Ethics

In Part 1, we reviewed the science behind the dangerous vaccines given to military personnel during the Middle East campaigns. It is necessary to take a deeper look at the corrupt machinations of the military-industrial complex that allowed these harmful vaccines to be administered in the first place. These vaccines were experimental; therefore, many questions have arisen as to why our government dispensed them – and why our military men and women had to suffer from them. What are the ethical ramifications of giving experimental drugs to soldiers in time of war? Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, stated the following at the hearing titled "Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans' Health?" led by the Senate's Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Caplan asserted:

Some would argue that the entire category of ethically suspect research makes no sense in the context of war. Hot or cold, when the threat to the nation's security is immediate, real, and serious, then the prevailing rules of human experimentation requiring the informed consent of subjects and prior review by research review committees must, of necessity, go out the window. The niceties of ethics regarding how to conduct human experimentation are for times of peace, not for the exigencies imposed by the threat or reality of war. But this argument is wrong.

The prevailing standards for human experimentation were set down during the Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War. In the aftermath of the trials, a code of research ethics was established and has now been incorporated into both professional ethics and law by many governments and political bodies since that war. The Nuremberg Code makes no exception for research conducted in the context of war. The enormously important goal of protecting the nation's security is not held to be a value that is so overriding as to obliterate individual subjects' rights. The code states clearly and unambiguously that everyone involved in research is to be so informed and that they are to have the right to give or withhold their consent to that research.(20)

For our soldiers, however, none of those conditions were met. The Department of Defense (DOD) had the FDA grant waivers from informed-consent regulations for the use of pyridostigmine and botulinum-toxoid vaccine. Consequently, many Gulf veterans were not told what vaccine they were being given nor the adverse risks. The aforementioned government-appointed researchers, Dr. Diana Zuckerman and Dr. Patricia Olson reported that:

...many [veterans] report that they were told not to tell medical personnel that they had received a vaccination, even if the vaccination caused pain or swelling. No record of the vaccine was available in medical records. As a result, physicians who were concerned about any local or, systemic reactions often had no information about the possible causes of those symptoms. Veterans who claim they were harmed by the vaccines or pyridostigmine frequently have no proof that they were vaccinated or took the pills, or that they had an adverse reaction. (21)

One Gulf veteran who knows this situation firsthand is the Reverend Dr. Barry Walker, who served as a chaplain in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. In his testimony to a Senate committee hearing, he confirmed the veil of mystery that the DOD drew over the medication and vaccines to which they were subjected:

On January 16, 1991 I received the first of two shots of a vaccine, but we were not told exactly what it was. We were later told that the purpose of the vaccine was to protect us; rumor was that it was for protection against anthrax. Also in January, after the first Scud was launched, we were ordered to start taking some pills, although we were not told exactly what they were, either. All we were told was that the pills would protect us against chemical and biological weapons. We were told to take the pills and not given a choice, though some soldiers did not take them. I was expected to be an example to others, so I took them at first. I later learned that these pills were pyridostigmine.

To my knowledge, none of the 4,700 troops [in my ministry], except maybe the command headquarters, was given any real information about the risks of these drugs or vaccines. We were not shown anything in writing or told anything other than that these would protect us. My chemical officer was asked to find out more about the pills, and she shared some of that information with the group commander and a few staff officers. She said there were no problems with the pills.

The fact that we were given the vaccine or drugs was not recorded in our medical records, although I insisted that the vaccine be recorded in my personal record. Many soldiers did not carry a vaccine record, and most wouldn't have thought to ask that it be recorded. I don't recall any list being made of who was given the vaccine.(22)

Today, the controversy around vaccination of our service people has only increased. In November 2015, the United States Senate passed the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act; if passed by the House, the legislation would require all members of our armed forces to submit to the recommended adult vaccine schedule, which amounts to about 90 injections. It is thought that those who refuse to follow the mandate will be at risk of losing their health coverage. (23) It seems that the US military hasn’t done enough experimentation on our troops using unproven vaccines. 

We now turn our attention to the use of pyridostigmine bromide, a medication that had only been approved by the FDA to treat patients with the neurological disorder myasthenia gravis, which affects the biomolecular communication between nerves and muscles. The government wanted to use pyridostigmine to protect US troops against certain chemical weapons, but it had not been proved safe or effective for repeated use (and it was distributed repeatedly to the troops). Despite the DOD’s claims for pyridostigmine’s safety, the FDA could not establish the drug’s safety and efficacy based upon the research the DOD provided. To the contrary, Zuckerman and Olson stated:

Pyridostigmine bromide is a chemical which is believed to enhance the effectiveness of established drugs for the treatment of nerve-agent poisoning. Pyridostigmine is also a nerve agent itself. ... In recent studies, animals given pyridostigmine followed by two antidotes (atropine and 2-PAM) were more likely to survive exposure to a nerve agent called soman. However, pyridostigmine pretreatment may make individuals more vulnerable to other nerve agents, such as sarin. The DOD scientists concluded that pyridostigmine should only be used when the chemical-warfare threat is soman. Iraq was believed to have both soman and sarin, and the only verified report of chemical weapons in the Gulf War concluded that sarin was present.(24)

They further asserted that the DOD's use of pyridostigmine was ineffective:

In addition, DOD documents indicate that the treatment regimen for U.S. troops during the Persian Gulf War may have included an inadequate dose of atropine. Therefore, even if Persian Gulf soldiers had been exposed to soman, it is questionable if the pyridostigmine pretreatment would have provided any protection, since the dose of atropine was apparently inadequate.

Due to the DOD’s concerns about serious adverse reactions, all of the studies screened male subjects to determine whether they were hypersensitive to pyridostigmine before allowing them to participate in the experiment. In addition, individuals with multiple medical conditions, taking prescription medications, and persons who smoked were excluded from the studies. Participants were told not to drink any alcoholic beverages. Despite these precautions, serious adverse reactions were reported during several of the studies, including respiratory arrest, abnormal liver results, unusual electrocardiograms, gastrointestinal disturbances, memory loss, and anemia.

None of the Persian Gulf War troops were adequately warned about the risks associated with the drug, and few if any were given a choice of whether or not to take it.(25)

Nurse Carol Picou, who served in the Gulf, experienced this firsthand:

This has been used since 1955 on patients with Myasthenia Gravis. This drug has never been tested on healthy human beings. Yet I have a report where they show they did do testing on 10 soldiers – men. Two couldn't even finish the program. Two got severely sick. Even when you give it to Myasthenia Gravis patients you monitor for levels of toxicity. You give it to them according to their height, weight, bone structures. Yet they gave us pyridostigmine – everybody the same pack – 30 mg pills. Take them three times a day. And when people had problems with them they didn't take us off. Right away, I looked it up. In 1955, if you have problems with this drug, they should take you off of it, and the antidote is atropine. Well, we received atropine during the war. We didn't know why we had to carry atropine and Valium. Well, it's because of the fact of the chemical warfare threat, and the fact that if something would happen to us from the pyridostigmine, that would be our antidote.(26)

Picou has experienced serious health problems, not the least of which is head-to-toe neurological damage, since her Gulf service.

Although there were sufficient concerns about pyridostigmine’s adverse effects, Dr. James Fox, a scientist with the US Department of Agriculture, conducted pyridostigmine research on cockroaches and made some startling discoveries. His findings have significant implications for Gulf War veterans. Fox discovered that pyridostigmine, when used in combination with the common pesticide DEET, rendered a powerful pesticide punch: DEET became 10 times more toxic. DEET and many other pesticides were used extensively throughout the Gulf War. Consequently, veterans who took pyridostigmine pills became more vulnerable to the pesticides surrounding them, giving a very plausible explanation for the serious neurological symptoms experienced by so many Gulf War vets.(27)

The Depleted Uranium Deception

There have been several army reports on the dangers of depleted uranium, which have been released by the Depleted Uranium Citizens' Network. In November 1996, Sara Flounders, coordinator of the International Action Center, a network of organizations and activists initiated by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, pointed out that an Army Environmental Policy Institute report discusses the negative health and environmental consequences of DU use in the Army. According to the report, the financial implications of long-term disability payments and other health-care costs would be excessive if DU were indicted as a causative agent for Desert Storm illnesses. Flounders believes this may be why DU had not been discussed as a possible cause of Gulf War syndrome.(28)

Since the first Gulf War, DU has been used in the Balkans and Kosovo, and, more recently in the the United States’ Middle East invasions. It has been suspected as the culprit in lung and kidney illnesses because it is soluble in water and can be ingested as a fine dust through inhalation. Soldiers in Kosovo have complained of an illness that causes extreme lethargy. Since federal officials have not recognized an official illness caused by DU exposure, the government concludes that DU radiation in the areas that were bombed does not exceed background radiation. Despite suspicions for a relationship between DU and debilitating disease, until 2001 no extensive health research had been completed to determine the long-term effects from repeated DU exposure.(29)

Dr. Doug Rokke, a retired major who served as the director of the US Army Depleted Uranium Project in the mid-90s, and a specialist in uranium clean-up efforts, has been an advisor for DU science and health to the Centers for Disease Control, US Institute of Medicine, Congress, and the DOD. Rokke has been at the forefront in efforts to alert health and military officials about DU's enormous health risks. After Operation Desert Storm, he was the officer in charge of cleaning up the mess and assessing environmental risks due to the invasion. During the course of his mission, Rokke said he received an order, the Los Alamos Memorandum, "which was a direct order to lie in all the reports about the health and environmental effects from uranium munitions in order to sustain their use and avoid all liability." Throughout his months in Saudi Arabia in cleanup efforts, Rokke and his team received "numerous orders to provide medical care and numerous orders to ignore them and numerous orders to lie, cheat, steal and do whatever you have to do."(30)

Rokke is now convinced that the DOD's own reports stating that almost 20% of active-duty personnel in the current military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq are non-deployable because of severe illness, are the direct result from prolonged exposure to the toxic swamp that has become the Middle East. He has also observed that with respect to the causes of death among OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) and OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) personnel for medical reasons, there is a surprising proportionality with the medical causes of death among veterans from the first Gulf War. What GIs from both campaigns share is their high exposure to chemical toxicity, multiple toxic vaccines, and in particular DU.(31)

Though the Gulf War concluded 25 years ago this month, the devastating toll it has taken on the lives and health of thousands of Americans is still felt today. The systemic deception, denial and corruption on the part of the US government has contributed immensely to the ongoing hardships faced by America’s bravest. A critical reexamination of how we care for those serving in the armed forces is long overdue. It’s time for us to demand an end to the unjust policies and politics that have kept our service men and women suffering and dying in silence and begin to institute comprehensive reform that places the health and wellbeing of our soldiers first.

Endnotes

       1. 2015 AHAR: Part 1 - PIT Estimates of Homelessness in the U.S. HUD Exchange. 

       https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/4832/2015-ahar-part-1-pit-estimates-of-homelessness/

  1. Riegle DW, D'Amato AM. U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Gulf War. US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. May 25, 1994. Available at: http://www.gulfweb.org/bigdoc/report/riegle1.html.
  2. http://www.bu.edu/sph/2016/01/25/toxic-exposures-caused-illness-in-gulf-war-veterans/
  3. Ibid
  4. Null GM. The Gulf War syndrome: causes and the cover-up. Penthouse. September 1994. Reprinted with permission of the author
  5. Bronstein, S., & Griffiin, D. (2014, April 23). A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/23/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/
  6. Ibid
  7. Greenblat, Mark. Monk, Daniel and Kessler, Aaron.  “Exclusive: Whistleblowers say Veterans Choice used to slash budget deficit and care” http://www.abc2news.com/longform/exclusive-whistleblowers-say-veterans-choice-used-to-slash-budget-deficit-and-care_
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid
  10. Griffin, Drew et al. "Veterans Still Facing Major Medical Delays at VA Hospitals." CNN. Cable News Network, 20 Oct. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
  11. Ibid
  12. Ibid
  13. Shastry, Anjali. "VA Whistleblower Disappointed, Would Tell Other Doctors to Stay Away." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 30 July 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
  14. Ibid
  15. Brennan, Margaret. "Employee Bonuses in Question at Embattled VA." CBS News. N.p., 11 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
  16. Ibid
  17. Slack, Donovan, and Bill Theobald. "Veterans Affairs Pays $142 Million in Bonuses amid Scandals." USA Today. Gannett, 11 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
  18. Ibid
  19. Null GM. The Gulf War syndrome: causes and the cover-up. Penthouse. September 1994.
  20. Ibid
  21. Ibid
  22. Phelan, J. (2015, November 15). US Senate Passes Bill Approving Mandatory Vaccinations for Veterans. Retrieved February 22, 2016, from http://www.naturalblaze.com/2015/11/us-senate-passes-bill-approving-mandatory-vaccinations-for-veterans.html
  23. Null GM. The Gulf War syndrome: causes and the cover-up. Penthouse. September 1994.
  24. Ibid
  25. Null G. Interview with Carol Picou. Aug. 8, 1997.
  26. Null G. Interview with James Fox. Sept. 4, 1999.
  27. Null G. Interview with Sara Flounders. Nov. 1996.
  28. Depleted uranium and its deadly legacy. January 15, 2001; January 2006.
  29. Interview with Dr. Doug Rokke: a special investigation on Gulf War syndrome. Gary Null Show. Progressive Radio Network. April 15, 2010.
  30. Ibid
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