Most Americans are aware that the "midnight rider," inserted into the bill after hours by Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), protects vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits in the event of the outbreak of a bird flu pandemic. But it also blocks members of the armed services from seeking redress against companies that produced experimental vaccines used in military inoculation programs.
On December 22, 2005, Bob Evans of the Hampton Roads Daily News reported that three veterans' advocacy groups had protested the legislation.
In an open letter to President Bush and Congress, the groups said, "subjecting service members to dangerous vaccines while giving protection to vaccine manufacturers is not only a threat to the health of our troops, it is a threat to the ability of our armed services to recruit and keep soldiers."
The groups noted that the legislation strips veterans…of their ability to sue for damages if the vaccines, now experimental, are used and cause someone harm. Under the terms of the bill, the government would compensate victims but the specifics of how that would work and the amount of money was not determined.
The veterans groups' letter, and an advertisement they placed in the Congress Daily newspaper on Friday, cites statistics from a story in the Daily Press detailing how the Department of Defense withheld data on more than 20,000 hospitalizations of troops who received the controversial anthrax vaccine from 1998-2000. [Italics added.]
The Frist/Hastert defense bill rider also prevents those harmed by vaccines from obtaining information about the vaccines or the manufacturers.
I was one of the troops required to take the anthrax vaccine while deployed overseas with the Navy in 1999. So far, I'm not aware of any health problems the vaccine has caused me, but not everyone I knew was so lucky.
Participation in the vaccine program was mandatory. Sailors who refused to take the vaccine were subjected to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Many were administratively discharged from service.
Several sailors who declined to be inoculated cited information gained from the Internet warning that the anthrax vaccine had not been fully tested, and was still in the "experimental" stage. Information disseminated through "official channels" refuted the Internet warnings, labeling them "irresponsible," and assuring Navy personnel that the vaccine was perfectly safe.
During that deployment, a number of my shipmates developed painful and disfiguring skin conditions, the cause of which was described by Navy medicine as "undeterminable." When we returned home to Norfolk, Virginia, a dermatologist at Portsmouth Naval Hospital told one of our female sailors that her skin condition was the result of her use of the birth control pill.
To the best of my recollection, it was roughly a year after our return from deployment before Navy medicine openly admitted that the outbreak of skin conditions had been caused by the squalene oil based adjuvant used in the vaccine known as MF59.
The squalene in MF59 is thought to cause a variety of auto-immune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Lou Gehrig's disease.
In 2004, Emmy and Peabody Award winning investigative reporter Scott Malone wrote a piece for Military.com on the book Vaccine - A: The Covert Government Experiment That's Killing Our Soldiers And Why GI's Are Only The First Victims.
Author Gary Matsumoto tells an amazing, six-year scientific mystery story, unraveled literally strand by strand and lab sample by lab sample. It is a real-life and death CSI show, and perhaps a tragic mistake of gargantuan proportions, affecting thousands if not hundreds of thousands of US fighting men and women.
In a crash effort to boost the effectiveness and lessen the required doses of existing anthrax vaccines, US military researchers apparently turned to squalene, a naturally-occurring oil distantly related to cholesterol. The squalene was added to various "experimental" batches of the vaccine administered to troops destined for the first Gulf War in 1991. But when injected, even in the minutest of amounts, squalene oil can cause the body's immune system to create its own specialized anti-bodies which then indiscriminately attack all such other oils in the body. These auto-immune reactions have the exact same symptoms as those of the victims of the so-called Gulf War Syndrome.
The present day vaccine story is not so pretty a tale, however, with descriptions of the occasional horrible death, including one vet who died in excruciating pain as the skin on his entire body withered away. [Italics added again, for obvious reasons, hopefully.]
Matsumoto reports that scientists have only discovered this past summer that the latest possible victims of adjuvant-induced squalene antibodies are the recently returned Iraq War II veterans-a few even suffering some of the same auto-immune symptoms as their earlier comrades.
Coming up: neo-connecting the dots between pharmaceutical corporate influence and the "midnight rider."