Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Atomic veterans' slowly gain recognition

'Atomic veterans' slowly gain recognition


'Atomic veterans' slowly gain recognition


Salina Journal

The check stub and a notification letter rest in a file stuffed with Salinan James Trepoy's military paperwork.

The sum -- a whopping $75,000 -- initially made Trepoy afraid to cash the check. Then he kept all the money in the bank for a time, fearing someone had a mistake and he would get a call to send it back.

The letter accompanying the check looked official enough, bearing letterhead from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, in Washington, D.C.

"This is to inform you that your claim for compensation under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program has been approved," the letter read.

Trepoy, 88, is among an estimated group of more than 200,000 former soldiers who were witnesses to above-ground and undersea atomic tests conducted between 1945 and 1963.

Nicknamed "atomic veterans," the soldiers were part of the testing because various governments wanted to see if troops could operate on battlefields contaminated by radiation from nuclear bombs.

Retired veterans Larry Halloran, of Mulvane, and Gary Thornton, of Leon, have made it a mission to track down atomic veterans in Kansas, particularly older vets such as Trepoy, to make them aware of their eligibility for financial compensation from the government under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program Act.

"If it hadn't have been for him (Halloran), I'd have never known," Trepoy said.

Money for veterans

In 1990, Congress passed the act, offering veterans who took part in the tests a payment of $75,000 each. Payments of $100,000 were offered to miners employed in above-ground or underground uranium mines scattered across the western U.S. Those working downwind of the Nevada test site were offered payments of $50,000.

"They're called atomic veterans, but they should be called atomic guinea pigs," Canadian lawyer Tony Merchant said recently.

Merchant represents a group of Canadian veterans who filed a class-action lawsuit in February seeking compensation from Canada's government for their radiation exposure and resulting ailments.

An estimated 900 Canadian military personnel were subjected to atomic testing in the U.S. and other locations starting in the late 1950s.

The Canadians' lawsuit alleges the veterans weren't told about the dangers of radioactivity, and weren't provided protective equipment or fully decontaminated after the atomic blasts.

Like many of the U.S. atomic veterans, Trepoy today has a taxing list of infirmities ranging from degenerative arthritis to a coronary artery bypass, diabetes and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), which was diagnosed after physicians noticed a skin rash on his back.

Lymphoma is one of 16 cancers the government presumes to be military service-connected if a veteran participated in a radation-risk activity.

Volunteers for atomic duty

Trepoy relies on a power-chair for mobility. But more than 50 years ago, the then strapping young Army draftee was serving in the Philippines waiting to be sent with other allied forces to fight in Japan when the United States dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing about the end of World War II.

Trepoy and his unit were sent to Fort Polk, La., but his fascination and curiosity about the atomic bomb never ceased. When the call came in 1953 for volunteers to participate in nuclear testing, he volunteered.

He was a member of two infantry battalions that were to participate in one of 11 blasts as a part of Operation Upshot-Knothole in Nevada.

Soldiers were required to have security clearances, and no cameras were allowed. Trepoy said the soldiers didn't think the military would put the troops in any danger.

For the test, troops were dressed in routine basic-issue uniforms and leather gloves, Trepoy said. They were positioned in trenches eight miles from "ground zero," the tower where the bomb was detonated.

The soldiers were told to stand with their shoulders against the trench wall, to cover their eyes with their arms and hands and not to look up.

They were told there would be two explosions for comparison, the first with 2,700 pounds of dynamite. The second would be the nuclear device.

He could see his bones

On the second blast, Trepoy heard the countdown, and then the bomb went off.

"To this day I never heard the noise (of the explosion)," he said. But he felt the heat of the blast, and looking down at his hands he could see his bones, Trepoy said.

The blast at 4:30 a.m. produced a bright light and the ground shook. Sand blasted over the troops' heads and the desert suddenly got hot, as if someone had opened an oven.

The bomb, equal to a 43-kiloton explosion, shattered windows of vehicles eight miles away and cracked windows in Las Vegas 60 miles away. Fifty kilotons is roughly equivalent to 50,000 tons of TNT.

The soldiers were allowed to leave the trench after the detonation to watch the mushroom cloud forming. The cloud formed two separate caps, reaching as high as eight miles into the atmosphere, Trepoy said.

The soldiers were told to advance toward ground zero. Along the way they came across a pit where six live sheep had been positioned. The wool on the sides of the sheep facing the blast was charred.

"We were told the sheep would be all right, but I swear we had mutton about two days later," Trepoy said.

He said the troops were stopped about a half-mile from ground zero and told to turn back because the radiation was too high.

Begged for medical aid

Today, the largest group of atomic veteran survivors is the National Association of Atomic Veterans, and Gary Thornton is a member and former commander of the state chapter.

Thornton witnessed eight nuclear detonations in 1962 off of Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean. Thornton says thousands of atomic veterans have died while they begged for medical help, as the government was reluctant to acknowledge the health problems created by atomic tests.

The 225,000 military personnel involved with testing between 1945 and 1963 weren't even authorized to speak about their experiences, as the information about their service remained classified until 1996, he said.

The National Association of Atomic Veterans Web site states there are now as many as 195,000 atomic veterans left across America who either don't know that their oath of secrecy about their service has been rescinded, or are not aware of the potential monetary benefits due them for their radiation induced illnesses.

Thornton said that in the early 1980s there were more than 800 atomic veterans estimated to be in Kansas.

"Now, the best we can tell, there are only 99 of us left," he said.

Trying for recognition

Most of the surviving atomic veterans have long ago given up on seeing any medical or financial compensation for their service-related injuries, Thornton said. He and Halloran are doing their best to help those they can find.

The pair have also worked to get recognition for the atomic soldiers. They enlisted former state representative Everett Johnson of Augusta, himself an atomic veteran, to get a resolution adopted in 2004 to recognize and honor Kansas Atomic Veterans.

That led Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to present a certificate of recognition to each known atomic veteran from Kansas.

Due to illness and age, more than half of the identified veterans could not attend the governor's presentation ceremony in Topeka. Those who didn't make it got their certificates in the mail.

Just another day's work

For his part, Trepoy plans to use his $75,000 to reward charities that help soldiers. He's also already given some money to his church and the American Cancer Society, he said. And he sent some money to Halloran, he said, "to thank him."

"I just feel sorry for the men who've died and the families who have broken up," Trepoy said.

In his memory, the sand that Trepoy saw coming out the trench after the atomic blast is still melted. The glass from the shattered vehicle windows still scrunches under his feet. The sheep with the charred wool bleat with fear.

His trust remains firm in his superior officers that the troops were in no harm as they watched the mushroom cloud rise.

"When we got back to the base camp, we all took showers and threw our clothes in the trash. Then we went back to town," Trepoy said.

"It seemed like just a day's work for us."

n Reporter David Clouston can be reached at 822-1403 or by e-mail at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

C.I.A.; What Did the C.I.A. Do to His Father?

C.I.A.; What Did the C.I.A. Do to His Father?

Published: April 1, 2001

For a quarter of a century, a close friend of mine, a Harvard classmate, has believed that the Central Intelligence Agency murdered his father, a United States government scientist. Believing this means, in my friend's words, ''leaving the known universe,'' the one in which it is innocently accepted that an agency of the American government would never do such a thing. My friend has left this known universe, even raising his father's body from the grave where it had lain for 40 years to test the story the C.I.A. told him about his death. The evidence on the body says that the agency may have lied. But knowing this has not healed my friend. When I ask him what he has learned from his ordeal, he says, ''Never dig up your father.'' Then he laughs, and the look on his face is wild, bitter and full of pain.

On Nov. 28, 1953, around 2 a.m., Armand Pastore, night manager at the Statler Hotel opposite Penn Station in New York, rushed out the front door on Seventh Avenue to find a middle-aged man lying on the sidewalk in his undershirt and shorts. ''He was broken up something awful,'' Pastore told reporters many years later, flat on his back with his legs smashed and bent at a terrible angle. Looking up, Pastore could see a blind pushed through an empty window frame high up in the Statler. The man had fallen from the 10th floor -- apparently after crashing through a closed window -- but he was alive. ''He was trying to mumble something, but I couldn't make it out. It was all garbled, and I was trying to get his name.'' By the time the priest and the ambulance came, the stranger on the sidewalk was dead.

When Pastore went up to the stranger's room -- 1018A -- with the police, they found a man who gave his name as Robert Lashbrook sitting on the toilet with his head in his hands. Down at reception, Pastore asked the hotel telephone operator whether she had overheard any calls from 1018A. Two, she said. In one, a voice had said, ''He's gone.'' The voice on the other end replied, ''That's too bad.'' Lashbrook admitted making two calls but has denied saying anything of the sort.

The high trees over the family house in Frederick, Md., were still in darkness when Eric Olson was woken by his mother, Alice, and taken into the living room. Upstairs, his younger sister, Lisa, and brother, Nils, slept undisturbed. Lt. Col. Vincent Ruwet, his father's boss at the Army research establishment at Fort Detrick, told Eric something bad had happened. ''Fallen or jumped'' and ''accident'' were the words he heard as he looked across the room at his mother, frozen and empty-eyed, on the sofa opposite. ''In that moment when I learned that my father had gone out a window and died,'' Eric later wrote, ''it was as if the plug were pulled from some central basin of my mind and a vital portion of my consciousness drained out.'' He was 9 years old.

When I first met Eric Olson in 1974, both of us were working on doctorates at Harvard. Mine was in history, his in clinical psychology. What I liked about him was his maniacal cackle. One minute he would be laboring some abstruse point in his Southern drawl, the next his face would be alight with a snaggle-toothed grin, and his body would be electrified by the joke he had just slipped by me, deadpan. The laugh was an attractive and alarming trait, because sometimes he would laugh about things that weren't funny at all.

His Harvard research was about how to help people recover from trauma. With the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, he had been to Man, W.Va., to interview survivors of a disaster in which 125 people had been killed and 4,000 people made homeless when a dam burst and a wall of black water containing coal waste swept down Buffalo Creek. He and Lifton wrote a paper that spoke of the way sudden, violent loss left people imprinted with death anxiety and long-term psychic numbing.


This is a 7 page NY Times magazine article that was printed on 2001, it is the story of the son of Frank Olson, who despite President Ford and his Chief of Staff Dick Cheney arranging for the agency to apologize and for the "truth" to be told to them on
July 21, 1975, Alice, Eric, Nils, Lisa and Lisa's husband, Greg Hayward, were invited to the White House. In the Oval Office, according to newspaper accounts, President Gerald Ford expressed ''the sympathy of the American people and apologized on behalf of the U.S. government.'' There is a photograph of Alice shaking the president's hand. Her face is glowing. Even so, catharsis was brief. The meeting with the president lasted 17 minutes.

A week or so later, Eric, Lisa, Nils and two lawyers met the C.I.A.'s director, William Colby, at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va. In his memoirs, Colby remembered the lunch as ''one of the most difficult assignments I have ever had.'' At the end of the lunch, Colby handed the family an inch-thick sheaf of declassified documents relating to Frank Olson's death. What Colby did not tell them -- did not reveal until he published his memoirs just three years later -- was that Frank Olson had not been a civilian employee of the Department of the Army. He had been a C.I.A. employee working at Fort Detrick.

The man DR Olson worked for was DR Sidney Gottlieb, the link back to SOD at Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal and Dugway and Deseret Utah. If they are willing to lie to cover up a murder of one of their own, what else is the CIA willing to lie about? Anything? Obviously the enlisted men used in experiments at these military bases were no more valuable to the agency as one of their own employees, were they?
Dr Gottlieb died with his secrets in March 1999 at the age of 80

Friends and enemies alike say Mr. Gottlieb was a kind of genius, striving to explore the frontiers of the human mind for his country, while searching for religious and spiritual meaning in his life. But he will always be remembered as the Government chemist who dosed Americans with psychedelics in the name of national security, the man who brought LSD to the C.I.A.

In the 1950's and early 1960's, the agency gave mind-altering drugs to hundreds of unsuspecting Americans in an effort to explore the possibilities of controlling human consciousness. Many of the human guinea pigs were mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes -- ''people who could not fight back,'' as one agency officer put it. In one case, a mental patient in Kentucky was dosed with LSD continuously for 174 days.

Other experiments involved agency employees, military officers and college students, who had varying degrees of knowledge about the tests. In all, the agency conducted 149 separate mind-control experiments, and as many as 25 involved unwitting subjects. First-hand testimony, fragmentary Government documents and court records show that at least one participant died, others went mad, and still others suffered psychological damage after participating in the project, known as MK Ultra. The experiments were useless, Mr. Gottlieb concluded in 1972, shortly before he retired.

The C.I.A. awarded Mr. Gottlieb the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and deliberately

So twenty years of research was "useless" and people died over or because of this research and many veterans have been left permanently scarred from these experiments that even still to this day January 11, 2009 that we don't know the "truth" because DR Gottlieb destroyed the records to protect himself and the agency, and to hell with the people used and abused.

Try and tell me again how the "greater good" is justification for abuse....I will never believe that line again.....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Nightmare Called Edgewood


A Nightmare Called Edgewood

1000 words

Harlingen, Texas, January 7, 2009: “I made this trip fifty years after the fact to squarely face my devils”…. “I finally came to the realization that it was not the place, but the people at that place who had changed many of us forever. We were the victims and became the walking wounded casualties of the Cold War who can never be made whole again….”

These are the words of Eric Muth, one of 7,120 soldiers and airmen who were subjected to secret chemical weapons and drug tests at the Edgewood Arsenal, northeast of Baltimore, Maryland. His journey back to that site was made in an attempt to gain some grain of understanding concerning his battle with the United States government to obtain assistance and compassion for those thousands of young men whose lives were permanently damaged by CIA and military human experimentation.

Muth, a 60-year-old veteran, was a volunteer at Edgewood in 1958. He said he was exposed to hallucinogenic drugs and toxic gas. The after effects of those exposures left him with a bipolar disorder and periodic suicidal thoughts.

The Edgewood experiments were conducted as a CIA effort to develop some effective mind control programs. Though never confirmed by the United States government, survivors of those experiments say the Agency used Nazi war criminal scientists to perform the work on what was called Project 112. These tests involved the use of synthetic marijuana, LSD, THC, BZ, two-dozen psychoactive drugs and other hallucinogens, plus a variety of biologicals and chemicals, including Saran and mustard gas agents. Though the various government agencies have reported all of the volunteers were completely aware of what agents were being used, most veterans claim the recruiters said only that they would be “participating in secret tests”.

Because the government stonewalls any and all attempts to obtain detailed information on this testing program, exact dates cannot be confirmed. Most people involved agree the program, in various forms, ran from 1953 until 1975. During those years, 7120 military personnel ranging from 17 to 20 years of age were participants in a wide variety of tests and experiments. Ten years later 385 of these volunteers were dead. Though the government again will not confirm the numbers, in 2006 the Department of Veterans Affairs identified only 3,000 of those veterans as living. Logically it can be assumed that 4,120 of those heroic volunteers must have gone to their final reward. It had previously been reported that more than 40% of the Edgewood volunteers met their deaths before age 65.

The Department of Defense and the VA seem to be co-conspirators in the government’s attempt to deny responsibility for health related problems encountered by the Test Veterans. In most cases involving these volunteers DoD and the VA claim records were destroyed, lost or cannot be located. When victims seeking assistance provide them specific dates and locales, the veterans’ military service cannot be verified because the information is “secret”.

In a report by Dr. William Page of the Institute of Medicine issued in March 2003, it was concluded that veterans exposed to Saran showed high rates of brain tumors and sleep disorders. The National Institute of Health reports chemical warfare agents such as GA, GB and VX produce long-term health effects including delayed onset cardiac problems.

In October 2003 the VA published a manual for Chemical, Biological and Radiological Weapons Exposures. Many of the known medical problems caused by chemical weapons were listed. Even with this manual as an official source, very few veterans have had their medical concerns acted upon by the government. A few have been given treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

According to testimony in front of Congress, “It is easier to treat and diagnose veterans for PTSD and other mental conditions, because there is little recognized research and reports to guide healthcare providers. The neurological and physiological effects of toxic environmental exposures are neglected.” The end result of this is the further jeopardizing of veterans’ already fragile health conditions.

Even with the congressional hearings and medical reports that have been provided to Congress, the Army still claims all volunteers were fully informed and that no veteran suffered any long-term effects from the testing.

It should also be noted that no government agency has been able to explain the high percentage of veteran deaths in the volunteer group, nor has there been any meaningful attempt by any governmental body to assure adequate medical care for those who were participants.

Finally, after decades of attempting to get the government to face up to its medical obligations, the Test Veterans have reached the end of their patience. On January 7, 2009 a lawsuit was filed against the Central Intelligence Agency claiming the U.S. A. has failed to provide care for human subjects in the once-secret tests. The suit charges veterans were treated as human guinea pigs in tests involving nerve gas, hallucinogenic drugs and mind control experiments that left them with permanent disabilities. This lawsuit also gives a different name to the program, saying it way codenamed MKULTRA and that it ran from the 1940s until 1976.

Though many of the veterans believe this litigation will bring final settlement to their more than fifty years of battle with government bureaucracies, they should remember another medical care battle waged against the armed forces. Military retirees from World War II and Korea, led by Medal of Honor recipient Colonel George “Bud” Day, fought a 20 year battle against the government to win officially promised medical care for life. The Department of Defense was relentless in fighting the litigation and the Supreme Court finally defeated it. That should be a strong reminder to all of the Test Veterans that the nightmare called Edgewood is far from any meaningful resolution.

Semper Fidelis,
Thomas D. Segel

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vietnam Veterans of America Sues Military and CIA Over Secret Testing of Soldiers

Jan 7: Vietnam Veterans of America Sues Military and CIA Over Secret Testing of Soldiers

Gordon Erspamer

Morrison-Foerster (Law Firm, San Francisco, California)

Jan 07, 2009

January 7, 2009 - Law Firm Morrison & Foerster Files Suit Against CIA, DoD, and U.S. Army on Behalf of Troops Exposed to Testing of Chemical and Biological Weapons at Edgewood Arsenal and Other Top Secret Sites

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

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

WHERE: United States District Court, Northern District of California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT MORRISON & FOERSTER: With more than 1,000 lawyers in key finance and technology centers internationally, Morrison & Foerster offers clients comprehensive, global legal services in business and litigation. The firm is distinguished by its unsurpassed expertise in finance, life sciences, and technology, its legendary litigation skills, and an unrivaled reach across the Pacific Rim, particularly in Japan and China. For more information, visit
Vietnam Veterans of America Sues Military and CIA Over Secret Testing of Soldiers

Veterans Sue CIA Over Past Chemical Tests on Soldiers (Update2)

Veterans Sue CIA Over Past Chemical Tests on Soldiers (Update2)
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By Karen Gullo

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Vietnam Veterans of America and six former soldiers sued the Central Intelligence Agency claiming the U.S. failed to provide care for human subjects in once- secret tests of chemical and biological weapons and drugs.

The veterans say they and others were treated like guinea pigs in tests involving nerve gas, hallucinogenic drugs and mind-control experiments that left civilians and military people who unwittingly volunteered for the program with permanent disabilities. The tests, codenamed MKULTRA, began in the 1940s at a Maryland Army base and continued to about 1976, they said.

“What is not historical about these tests is the impact they had on the enlisted men,” Gordon Erspamer, an attorney with Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, said today at a news conference. “They have never been compensated, they have been denied health care, they have been left alone for more than 30 years.”

The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in San Francisco, names as defendants the CIA, which allegedly funded the experiments, and the Defense Department. It seeks court orders declaring the experiments violated international law and forcing the government to notify and provide health care to people who participated in the tests.

‘Thoroughly Investigated’

“CIA activities related to MKULTRA have been thoroughly investigated and the CIA fully cooperated with each of the investigations,” Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, said in a phone interview. “Tens of thousands of pages from documents related to the program have been declassified and released to the public.”

Harf and Cynthia Smith, a Defense Department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Eric Muth, 60, a plaintiff, said he was exposed to toxic gas and given hallucinogenic drugs in 1958. The lasting effects on him include bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts, according to the lawsuit.

Soldiers were told they could get extra pay to participate as medical volunteers in tests of new protective gear and riot gas, said Frank Rochelle, 68, another plaintiff. The volunteers signed consent forms and were told never to discuss the top- secret work, he said at today’s news conference in San Francisco. . “It was never explained the type of drugs I would be taking,” said Rochelle, who claims he was given high doses of a hallucinogen that still causes sleeplessness and breathing problems.

3,000 Survivors

There are about 3,000 survivors of the tests conducted at the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland and at U.S. hospitals and universities, Erspamer said. Most are in their 60s and 70s and have been denied benefits by the Army for health problems related to the experiments, he said.

Jim Benson, a Veterans Affairs department spokesman, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment.

From 1950 to 1975, about 6,720 soldiers took part in experiments involving 254 different chemicals at U.S. Army laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal, according to “Health Effects from Chemical, Biological and Radiological Weapons,” a 2003 training manual by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Congressional hearings in 1974 and 1975 led to disclosure of the program, notification to subjects and compensation for a few families of soldiers who died during the tests, according to the manual.

Erspamer represents Silver Springs, Maryland-based Vietnam Veterans of America in an unsuccessful lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to overhaul mental health care to reduce the suicide rate among veterans. That case is on appeal.

The case is Vietnam Veterans of America v. CIA, 09-37, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at

Last Updated: January 7, 2009 16:30 EST Veterans Sue CIA Over Past Chemical Tests on Soldiers (Update2)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Radiation veterans still seek justice why?

I respectfully request attention to the following on behalf of a forgotten (on purpose) group of Veterans, known as “Radiated” or “Atomic” Vets (see our web site
For over 63 years the DOD in collaboration with the VA has willfully and intentionally neglected us.

We are older veterans, and now the few still surviving who took part in the first atomic bomb blasé in New Mexico on July 16, 1945; those of us that were seasoned combat veterans that went in 45 days after the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki; those that took part in the many “test series”; and those charged with handling and securing nuclear material. None were informed of the risks.

The VA, in it's self-proclaimed wisdom, continues to delay justice for our class of Veterans. The VA has been very negligent in acknowledging RADIATION EXPOSURE as causative for many ailments, recognizing only a handful of cancers for purposes of medical treatment and compensation.

For the remainder of chronic illnesses recognized by the medical community as caused by disruption of the body’s immune system, the VA, in conjunction with DOD, uses a convoluted (and declared unscientific) theory called “ DOSE RECONSTRUCTION” to determine, years after the fact, an amount of radiation exposure, and the results.

This has been prejudicial for those exposed to Ionizing Radiation, including their families, as many have deceased due to exposure.

Many of these veterans were sworn to secrecy and too many died not knowing the secrecy ban had been lifted for purposes of seeking medical help. It is very discouraging to find very few Civil Service personnel in the VA do not have the slightest knowledge of Radiation Exposure and its effects.

In addition to the effects of ionizing radiation I highly recommend the VA be officially educated in the exposures of the SHAD & SHAD112 Veterans contaminated with various chemical exposures, again this is the same type of DOD secrecy operation as described above.


Thank You, Charles Clark,
President Radiated Veterans of America