Wednesday, October 22, 2008

data on Edgewood from Eric Muth

We have contact information on 24 former Edgewood Volunteers, five of whom are also Vietnam War Veterans. Of these: 8 are contact information only, 8 partially filled out a questionnaire, and 8 filled it out fully. The information herein therefore, comes from 16 men.

It must be made clear that Edgewood Volunteers we were not part of Whitecoat, Project 112, SHAD or Radiological experiments. However, the latter three are listed in VA “mandatory care” categories and Edgewood Veterans are not. The U.S Army Medical Research and Material Command informed us in 2007 that there were 7,839 Volunteers between 1951 to 1979. We were part of the formal experimentation years at Edgewood 1955-1975.

In 2003 the IOM stated that in 2000 they had contacted 4,022 Edgewood survivors. It is safe to suggest that there are less than 4,000 of us surviving today. The nagging question is; how many died of causes related to experimentation and how many living are disabled as a result of their Edgewood service? Col/Dr. James Ketchum wrote a book about Edgewood wherein he stated that there were no significant injuries amongst the volunteers and the DOD 2006 letter to Edgewood Veterans in stark contrast to the 1994 GAO report by stating that there were no significant long term effects.

The breakdown of Volunteer numbers of those known to us and the years they served at Edgewood are as follows: 1958: 313, 382, 781. [This is a sequential oddity because all served in the same month]

1965: 3738.

1966: 4088, 4095.

1968: 5247.

1969: 5619.

1970: 5984.

1972: 6145, 6566.

1973: 6640, 6692. [This is another sequential oddity, see 1969]

1974: 6778

The 16 answered as follows:

Military Records received: 6

Military Medical records received: 5

Medical Care promises received at Edgewood: 7

Edgewood Files received: 12

Volunteer Handbook received: 1 [1968 edition, none of the others ever saw one]

Signed Participation Agreement: 12

Signed Security Non-Disclosures: 5 [others received warnings and/or threats regarding disclosure]

Aware of Psychochemicals Projects before volunteering -0-

Aware of CIA participation at Edgewood: -0-

Medals promises received at Edgewood: 7

Received a letter of commendation: 11

Received a certificate of outstanding performance: 7

Contacted for the 1980 Army LSD study: 2

Contacted by the NAS for the 1980’s NRC studies: 7

Contacted by IOM for the 2000’s NAS study: 5

Contacted by the VA for its 2006 outreach: 11

Received the DoD enclosure in VA letter: 5

Listed on the DOD Edgewood registry: 4

Awarded Social Security Disability: 6

Awarded VA disability compensation: 1 @ 60%, 1 @ 80%, 6 @ 100%.

We see that 8 of sixteen men have Service Connected Disabilities, six of them Total and Permanent, and six of 16 are also Totally Disabled for Social Security purposes.

Seven of the 16 men reported partial or more PTSD disability compensation. The following may help us better understand this statistic.

1985 NAS/NRC long-term studies on volunteers Appendix C: [That the Army did not supply the names of all those exposed to drugs is evident]: “An issue of great concern was the relatively small group of men exposed to psychochemicals and their effects on interpretability. Briefly stated, it was felt at the outset by the panel reviewing psychochemicals that data obtainable from a survey might add little to our understanding of the long-term health effects of chemicals tested.”

The VA 2006 pg. 23, “Potential Health Effects Among Veterans Involved in Military Chemical Warfare Agent Experiments …” “Some of these exposures had the potential to cause substantial harm to the veterans health …” “ … long-term psychological effects could have resulted from just participating in these experiments.” DOD 2006 Fact Sheet: “Although the current medical literature indicates that such exposure may have some long lasting effects among some individuals, such as flashbacks [visual hallucinations] without new drug exposures.”

Finally, the 2007 Annals of Psychiatry state: “Interestingly, PTSD rates among veterans who participated in voluntary Chemical Warfare Agent research under controlled conditions, and were never expsoed to hostile enemy fire, were found to be higher than PTSD rates for veterans who participated in actual combat, in which the physical wounds inflicted were far more severe” “… the psychological trauma of Chemical Warfare Agents exposure is tantamount to the most intense and traumatizing types of stress found anywhere in human experience.”

We can now better understand why 8 men have Service Connected disabilities that include 7 with PTSD and their overall disabilities led to total Social Security disabilty for 6 of them.

To save the Army the cost of hazard pay they set the stage in 1958. The Chemical Warfare Laboratories published SP 2-13 wherein they stated that: “ … your participation in the various testing programs will be profitable to you and the U.S. Army” “… experimental procedures involving NON-hazardous exposure to compounds …” “ … volunteers are not allowed hazardous duty pay.” It is odd that they stated there were no hazards becausel, The volunteer’s participation agreements stated “I am completely aware of all hazards.” Additionaly, letters of commendation to Edgewood volunteers stated: ”… you deliberately made a commitment to undergo procedures whose outcome could not be fully known in advance” “….you not only displayed courage and maturity … .” The Army knew there were cosiderable hazards when they published AR 70-25 in 1962: “Volunteers as Subjects of Research”. “The experiment must be such as to contribute significantly to approved research …” “… unusual and potentially hazardous conditions are those that may be reasonably expected to involve risk, beyond the normal call of duty, of privation, discomfort, distress, pain, damage to health, bodily harm, physical injury, or death.” By 1975 all the latter had come to pass therfore, we could almost consider this AR to be an after action report.

The DoD certainly knew there were hazards. Defense Instruction 5030.29 1964: “DOD assumes full responsibility for humans involved in research under its sponsorship, whether this involves investigational drugs or other hazards.” In light of the Feres Doctrine their assumption of responsibility was meaningless and only intended to conform with the Helsinki Accords. “Edgewood Arsenal personnel knew well that experimentation was hazardous. In 1961 they published CDRL 2-44 wherein they lauded volunteers as ”Peacetime Heroes” “ … they serve far beyond the call of normal peacetime duty in a cause that vitally affects the nation’s defense posture.” They subjected themselves to risk in hazardous service and is reflected in the words on their commedndations: “above and beyond the call of duty.”

LTC Elfert served at Edgewood in 1958 and he suggested that the volunteers service was similarily stressful to combat. The DOD currently has a program entitled Combat Related Special Compensation for its Military retirees which is not limited to direct combat. Qualifiers include: While engaged in hazardous service, such as an experimental stress study [psychochemicals intended to cause maximum stress] and Instrumentality of War: Injury or sickness caused by gasses [mustard which is a carcinogen, CN a cyanide which causes heart damage, and DM an arsenic, all of which were tested at Edgewood along with 250 other chemicals].

The U.S. Army HRC Awards Branch in 2005 admitted to CIA MKULTRA participation at Edgewood when they answeried a volunteers query: “ … testing in the Edgewood Arsenal MKULTRA Program.” CIA MORI Documents clearly prove that the CIA funded Army experiments for over twenty years and that MKULTRA sub-project-45 in psychochemicals and K fields, known simply as the K agent program at Edgewood, was conducted using manufacturers reject drugs known to have bad side effects, and those were supplied by the CIA to Edgewood specifically for testing on Armed Forces volunteers.

That the Army and the DOD did not want to know about health cause and effect relationships, as they pertained to Edgewood volunteers, was made obvious by their actions and inactions.

In 1970-1971 the Army conducted a long term Follow-up Study of Medical Volunteers who received drugs at Edgewood. II Method. “It was decided to limit the study to volunteers who were serving on active duty. The study was limited to 40 men and conducted over a ten month period. “No subject felt that he had experienced physical or psychological changes as a result of participation in the program.” The army was likely pleased to know that its career soldiers suffered no ill effects. This gives rise to the question of what would have happened to the career soldier who admitted having residual mental issues?

The 1985 National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council final report pg. 50: “It appears that the subjects actually given psychochemicals in those experiments were selected from an optimal pool of mentally and physically healthy persons.” The 2006 DoD Fact sheet: “As a group, the volunteers selected to participate in the studies were above average in physical and mental qualifications when compared to other service personnel.” The DOD Fact Sheet sent to Volunteers informs them that the NAS/NRC stated: “The study did not detect any significant long-term health effects in Edgewood Arsenal Volunteers.” The NAS/NRC study final report actually stated: “However, the limited information available from follow-up on these soldiers does not permit definitive conclusions regarding the nature and extent of possible long-term problems resulting from chemical exposure at Edgewood.”

The 1975 Army Inspector General report stated Edgewood informed them that as of 1966 there were no volunteer deaths. The 1994 Government Accountability Office Report stated that there were some deaths and that “adverse health problems were not discovered until many years later --- often 20-30 years and longer.” VA Veterans Health Initiative 2003: “… ultimatley to compensation for a few families of subjects who had died during the experiments.” 1993 DOD {Human Experimentation}: “ … the DOD will, to the extent feasible, make available to the Department of Veterans Affairs information that may be useful in assessing disability claims of veterans. Edgewood veterans arriving at the doors of a VA prior to 2006 received little more than a denial of such a programs existance [Edgewood human volunteer experiments]. The NAS Institute of Medicine [IOM] conducted a study for the DOD beginning in 2000. In 2007 the Director wrote: The IOM committee was not charged with examining past exposures to specific chemicals, like those at Aberdeen/Edgewood, and assessing whether they caused disabilities in military personnel” “… where veterans were exposed to agents in classified experiments, the veterans were at a disadvantage, because it was difficult to get access to secret information needed to adjudicate their claims

Seven men remembered being promised medals at Edgewood. If the reader sees things as the DOD and the Army, then the rational for denying an Edgewood veteran medals earned the hard way is obvious because a medal for an Edgewood volunteer a road to culpability and an admission that their service was hazardous, that they were brave, courageous, and some valorious in their perilous Edgewood journey. Psychiatrists agree that it is rare for two individuals to have the same reactions to drugs and stressors or for them to have the same degree of suffering. Few had exactly the same agents and doses at the same time therefore, they were all set apart from their fellows making them eligible for individual awards.

U.S. Army HRC Awards Branch 2005: “ … volunteer service at the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Center, Edgewood, MD, is noteworthy, but he is not eligible for consideration of an individual award since the purpose and intent of the Army’s Awards Program is to recognize soldiers who actively engage in acts of heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service. Accordingly, these four recommendations cannot be considerd for review by the Army Decorations Board.

The DOD has stated that there were no significant long term effects leaving us to ponder the word significant, because the self evident truths herein can only lead a prudent man to conclude that the DOD and the Army cannot defend against, what they term allegations, because the issues of injuries that led to disabilities of half a sample presented herein are not reasonably debatable. Edgewood service was hazardous which caused death and injuries. A grateful nation needs to recognize these facts and properly reward those who gave of themselves in the name of National Security.

1 comment:

Testfits101 said...

I just want to say that I was an Aberdeen /Edgewood soldiers 1993-1994 I am saying this for the first time and am very nervous about it. I was able to skip running and PT if I volunteer to test has mask seals. They repeatedly told us that it was a vegetable oil and nothing to worry about. I have had a very sick few years since, bone density is very poor, hip collapsed so at 32 I had complete hip replacement, and numerous other problems, I've always knew in the back of my mind exactly what they exposed us to in those chambers I have no clue. I am disabled through soc. Sec. Dis. And have aid and attendance, but only 30%service connected. I'm not sure what to do about this information, I've been seeing more and more recently founded experiments, so if anyone could please advise, I'm 43 single dad of 12 year old , northern Michigan. Thank you