Wednesday, February 15, 2006

GOP Dupes the Troops

Legislation snuck into the defense spending bill in December by senior GOP congressional members pulled the rug out from under countless U.S. military members.

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.

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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.

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Coming up: neo-connecting the dots between pharmaceutical corporate influence and the "midnight rider."

13 comments:

  1. Hmmm. If the military is taking a known "experimental" vaccine and forcing enlistees to take it (that's the problem in my view), should the company that makes it be liable? Presumably, the military is getting full disclosure as to the 'experimental' nature of the vaccine. If the companies aren't misleading or lying to the military about the risks involved, should there be liability?

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  2. If KBR knowingly sells contaminated food to the military, and the military knows they did but doesn't tell the soldiers, does that make it okay for KBR to have knowingly sold the contaminated food?

    Not in my book.

    If you look around the web on this subject, you'll find a lot of senior medical types around who still deny there's a problem with the vaccine, so it's going to be might tough for any soldier or vet to get redress through the government.

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  3. But contaminated food is a bit different from an 'experimental' vaccine. Companies use experimental drugs all the time, often with volunteers for clinical trials. If the military is forcing their people to take the drug or vaccine, it seems to me the people's beef should be with the military, not the vaccine maker.

    If the vaccine were somehow negligently produced so that it was harmful (i.e. contaminated with bacteria, like in your contaminated food scenario), then I think the company is liable. But if they are being forthright in identifying the vaccine as experimental and pointing out the risks, then I don't think they should be liable for it.

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  4. I don't think we're going to reach closure on this one Scott. I'll just say that you might think differently if you'd been forced to take a vaccine your were told was safe, then found out it wasn't, then tried to get some sort of redress from a government that denies there was anything wrong with the vaccine.

    I'd rather take my chances with a jury in a civil suit than go up single handly against the government.

    The problems with squalene were known for a long time, and both the government and the manufacture knew about them but denied them.

    And they're about to pull the same number with the Bird Flu vaccine.

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  5. Of course not. In my time, the four-star giving the order, Jay Johnston, never took it.

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  6. I would also bet that the individuals in the military who are authorizing what seems to be a massive program of turning soldiers into pharmaceutical guinea pigs don't have to take the vaccine in question themselves.

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  7. Jeff:

    I agree with you that the program is wrong. We just differ on who should be responsible for it.

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  8. Well, if you can't hold the government responsible (you really can't) and you can't hold the company responsible, who's responsible?

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  9. Congress could pass legislation holding the government responsible and providing a cause of action to the injured parties. That's what I'd advocate, I think.

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  10. Barndog8:30 PM

    I've always wondered about this myself. My timeline doesn't fit the critera (1978-1992). However, I do recall reading the MSDS sheets on the synthetic hydraulic fluid commonly used in most if not all of the military aircraft.

    I distinctly recall that continual exposure to it could/would possibly cause a variety of autoimmue disorders, INCLUDING rheumatoid arthrits - which I have.

    I was physically diagnosed in 2001, however my Doc (a former Navy flight surgeon) says that my disease has been progressing for at least 12-15 years.

    That puts it right in the ballpark. Unfortunately, the reality is - I'd be long fucking dead and worm food before anything ever came from a case via the V.A.

    Scott - your heart is in the right place, but your reality isn't, Brother. Congress would never pass such legislation. That would be cutting their own lifeline(s).

    Impossible. Completely impossible.
    That's just the way it is...

    Thursday, 17 February 2006 -

    Semper Fidelis

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  11. Barndog - sorry to hear you have rheumatoid arthritis. My ex-wife (and still good friend) has it. She was in the Army in the late 80s, early 90s, but I don't know if there is a correllation. Not to butt too far into your personal life, but FYI she has had a lot of luck with some dietary changes (she did some allergy testing to see what might be worsening the condition) and, of all things, acupunture. I don't know that it would work for everyone, but I thought I'd pass it along. It's a terrible disease to have - not what comes to mind when most people hear "arthritis."

    To get back on the topic of Congress - yeah, you're probably right. Congress wouldn't likely pass that kind of legislation. In fact, they're wanting to do more to cut off liability than anything (they're trying to limit drug company liability for vaccines and the like even when the companies are at fault). The pharmaceutical lobby is powerful, and one symptom of why the whole lobbying system needs to be overhauled or, preferably, scrapped. I don't think drug companies should get "special" protections from negligence liability and that sort of thing.

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  12. Barndog3:49 AM

    R. Scott -

    Not only no, but HELL FUCKING NO! The bastards not only shouldn't get protection, they should be prosecuted, and prosecuted for previous infractions.

    And, on the dietary changes - oh yeah.... I've got a couple really good research sites and such to draw from now. My RA Doc mentioned this to me, but had really nothing to lead me too.

    Now I have, and I've been finding out slowly. The wife and I are going to see a nutritionist directly - she has an arthritic knee stemming from a complete reconstructive surgery, after blowing it out skiing years ago.

    You're not intruding into my personal life, Bro. Things which make or help us become healthier, stronger, and the like - I don't believe are intrusions.

    They're gifts. Thank you.

    Semper Fidelis

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  13. Barndog3:57 AM

    Not to veer too far O.T. - the wife was watching Nightline here the other evening on Meth.

    *(this correlates with the pharm companies)*

    She said the pseudo-phederine (sp) used to make the base in Meth (the anti-histimine purchased over the counter, now illegal to do so in most states) - is produced by only 9 plants in the world.

    Since these new laws have been enacted, and this product has been pulled off the 'anyone can buy it list' - it's all being shipped to Mexico.

    According to the DEA guys on the show she watched - they track Meth on the quality... by the deaths and hospitializations it causes. The better quality it is - the more deaths it causes. The more watered/cut it is - the bigger dent they're putting in the flow and manufacturing of it.

    One of the DEA guys said they were before Congress testifying - and a particular Congressman was about screaming that it was marijuana, marijuana, marijuana that was the "killer drug" in society.

    The DEA agent said his team broke out laughing at the Congressman and their panel. I guess they got rather pissed.

    Then, they went onto explain it wasn't pot. It's Meth, hands down - and the Pharmeceutical companies were supporting it vicariously... and they needed to stop it through legislation.

    Guess what's happened? De nada.

    Thought I'd pass that along.

    Semper Fidelis

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