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112/shad Legislation

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Office of Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA)

Office of Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT)


May 1, 2008

Thompson and Rehberg Fight for Veterans Unknowingly Exposed to Toxic Tests in 60s and 70s

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced legislation that would provide healthcare to veterans who were unknowingly subjected to biological and chemical weapons tests conducted in the 1960s and 70s.

The existence of these tests, known as Project 112, including Project SHAD, was denied by the Department of Defense (DoD), despite reports from participating veterans that they were being stricken with unusual diseases. The DoD now acknowledges that the tests took place, but the Veterans Administration (VA) will not provide these veterans with health benefits and compensation for their diseases. The Thompson-Rehberg legislation would require the VA to assume the toxins used in the weapons tests caused injury to the veterans, making them eligible for medical benefits and/or compensation for their conditions.

“For ten years, I’ve been fighting to get the government to acknowledge that these extremely dangerous tests made some of our brave veterans sick and even caused some of their deaths,” said Thompson. “These men risked their lives for their country, and in return, their government treated them like guinea pigs and has for years turned its back on them. This legislation will make sure they don’t have to wait any longer for the help they need and deserve.”

“Project 112 is one test the Department of Defense has undoubtedly flunked,” said Rehberg. “Now, these brave men and women who served our country have been left to suffer. These veterans deserve quality healthcare and recognition by their government that it understands what they’ve had to go through. This bill is a great step toward that.”

Project 112, which included Project SHAD, was conducted between 1963 and 1973 by the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. During these projects, a number of weapons containing chemical and biological agents such as VX nerve gas, Sarin Nerve Gas and E. Coli were tested on unknowing military personnel.

Normally, a veteran must provide proof of a connection between service and the health condition being claimed. This bill would provide veterans of Project 112 a “Presumption of Service Connection,” which means that the VA presumes the relationship between service and a health condition is based on the other criteria, such as dates and location of service. For example, veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War are already given a “Presumption of Service Connection.”

In addition, this bill instructs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs within 180 days of enactment to notify all veterans of potential exposure to the biological or chemical weapons used in Project 112 and Project SHAD. A Government Accountability Office report (GAO-04-410) issued in May of 2004 concluded that a substantial number of veterans still remain unaware that tests were conducted on them.

The Thompson-Rehberg legislation has been endorsed by the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Jerrel svr

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List of ships and the Pentagon can verify if you were ecposed (1-800-497-6261)

Please ask your COngressmen/women and Senators to support this legislation!

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Project 112/SHAD

Shortly after President Kennedy's inauguration in 1961, the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, directed that a total review of the U.S. military be undertaken. The Study consisted of 150 separate projects. Chemical and Biological Warfare review was known as Project 112/SHAD. To oversee this program the Deseret Test Center was established at Ft. Douglas, Utah in 1962. Both land-based and ship-based tests were conducted during the period 1962-1973. Although the tests were originally classified and information is still limited at the present time it is known that the following agents were used: Bacillus globigii, E. coli, Serrratan marcscens, zinc cadmium sulfide, GB (sarin), VX, Methylacetoacetate, sulfur dioxide, beta-propiolactone, ethyl alcohol, lysol, peracetic acid, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide & sodium hypochlorite. In addition there are issues relating to other agents including Mustard Gas and at least "tracer" amounts of Radioactivity and Asbestos. Health Care for Veterans of Project 112/Project SHAD Act of 2003 became Public Law No. 108-170 on 12/06/2003 and Terminates after 12/31/2005. We need a bill to amend this law to extend the date of Termination and to enclude Proper Compensation and or Pension for disabilities related to Possible Exposures to Chemical and or Biological agents & other deadly toxins as well as radiation and 245-T the harmless herbicide (AGENT ORANGE) that has killed so many

Jerrel svr

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The CIA fed LSD to service memebers until one jumped out of a window and was killed. One reason the government does not want to recognized some of these claims is that it would show criminal activity on their part.

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July 23, 2003

Vets push for continued research on chem-bio tests

By Deborah Funk

Times staff writer

Believing more information can be found on secret military chemical and germ warfare tests from 30 and 40 years ago, some veterans are urging the Defense Department to keep open its search for relevant documents.

The Vietnam Veterans of America said it has information showing an additional ship may have been involved in testing because it was on the same grid at the time a test took place. VVA officials point out that just as defense officials prepared to announce their search for documents was over, they had to add another vessel, a submarine, to the list of vessels involved in the so-called Project 112 tests.

The Pentagon must release more data relevant to veterans� health, such as results from swab samples taken from the throats and noses of some veterans and dose rates of agents used, said Steve Robinson, VVA�s Project 112 adviser.

Defense officials announced June 30 they had concluded their proactive investigation into the tests. They began releasing data Sept. 13, 2001, when they revealed that tests called Copper Head, Autumn Gold and Shady Grove had taken place in the early 1960s.

In all, defense officials said 50 tests took place on land and sea, while 84 were canceled. Some 5,842 veterans have been identified as participants.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has sent letters to veterans telling them what tests they were involved with and what material they may have been exposed to. VA invited them in for physical exams.

But about 1,700 veterans who took part still have not been contacted by the government telling them more details.

That includes Jerrel Cook and Jack Alderson, who participated in the secret tests and have even provided information to defense officials. Cook, 58, of Joplin, Mo., has filed claims for respiratory, thyroid and joint ailments.

�The only thing I received was a letter denying all my claims,� said Cook, who as an Army private participated in Elk Hunt in Alaska in 1964 when VX nerve agent was tested. He gave government officials names of others participants that were noted in a letter of appreciation from their commander.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers are urging defense officials to investigate the tests further, including correcting inaccurate or omitted information.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said he believes most of the information about the 134 planned tests under Project 112 still is secret.

�How were these tests conducted? What safety procedures were utilized? What information, if any, was provided to service members about their involvement? Why was it kept a secret for so long?� Thompson said in a prepared statement. �Continuing this investigation may help provide answers to some of these questions.�

Defense officials were asked to reveal all medically relevant data so VA could provide health care and process claims for compensation from veterans.

Retired Navy Capt. Michael Kilpatrick, who played a key role in the Pentagon�s investigation, said defense officials believe they have found all existing documentation but are willing to accept new data from veterans.

�We will continue to maintain dialog with veterans to try to work this issue through,� said Kilpatrick, deputy director of the Deployment Health Support Directorate.

Alderson has worked for many years to try to get information declassified. He was the naval officer in charge of five light tugs and took part in the exercises Big Tom, Fearless Johnny, Half Note and Shady Grove. Defense officials have issued inaccurate or incomplete information on two of the tests, he said.

Alderson was a lieutenant and stand-by skipper and never traveled through a cloud of real or simulated warfare agent, but says he was present for drills and decontamination. The Pentagon identified no decontaminants for Shady Grove, but Alderson claims chlorine, betapropiolactone, ethylene oxide and formalin were used.

He believes Big Tom took place in 1966, not 1965 as defense officials list, and said the light tugs were omitted from the data released on that test.

Alderson, of Eureka, Calif., said tug crews were vaccinated against six or seven germ-warfare agents, but that defense officials have only acknowledged two biological-warfare agents � tularemia and Q-fever � were used in the tests in which his crews were involved. He said it was his impression that the other agents were used, too.

Alderson questioned how defense officials could end their investigation when he said they haven�t interviewed many of the people involved in the planning.

�That�s kind of like investigating Abraham Lincoln�s assassination and not talking to his wife,� Alderson said.

Jerrel svr

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Published: July 08, 2002

Were they exposed to dangerous toxins?

Decades after secret chemical tests, veterans want answers

By Deborah Funk

Times staff writer

Jerrel Cook was a private first class in 1964 when the Army sought volunteers for classified tests near Fort Greeley, Alaska. Camping in the woods sounded like fun. He signed on.

Only after he and others got to Greeley were they told they�d be working with unspecified chemical agents, he said. �None of us had any idea what we were actually getting into,� said Cook, 58, who now lives in Joplin, Mo.

Today, veterans like Cook want answers about just what happened during those tests decades ago to measure military defenses against biological and chemical warfare agents. Ever since similar tests came to light in 2000, veterans have been trying to get details declassified. And slowly, their own stories are emerging.

Cook began suffering shortness of breath just before his 30th birthday. Today he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.

Cook is a former smoker, but believes his ill health is related to the tests four decades ago.

�I�m sure it is,� he said.

Cook took part in Elk Hunt, a series of tests at Gerstle River in the 1960s. The Pentagon never has spoken publicly about those tests. The only testing information released by Pentagon officials concerns 12 similar Cold War-era tests, all of which took place at sea in Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, or SHAD.

In those tests, service members were protected against the warfare agents used. Other tests substituted simulants that were thought to be safe at the time but are considered harmful today. Even some of the decontamination solvents used to clean up after the tests have proven dangerous.

�In simulant tests, people may not have been as thoroughly briefed as they were during the agent tests,� said Dee Morris, of the Pentagon�s Deployment Health Support Directorate.

Project 112�s �tentacles�

SHAD was part of a larger program called Project 112, which included more than 100 tests, according to defense officials. So little is known about the project that it isn�t even clear whether the Gerstle River tests in Alaska formally were part of Project 112. The Pentagon has not shed any light on the matter.

The Vietnam Veterans of America has been pushing for declassification of the biological and chemical warfare tests to try to piece together the program designed to measure the vulnerability of U.S. equipment and personnel, said Patrick Eddington, VVA�s associate government relations director.

The Army tested in different environments, including the Arctic and tropics, and the program involved other agencies, including the Agriculture Department.

�Project 112 had its tentacles in a lot of different places,� Eddington said.

At Gerstle River, tests code-named Elk Hunt, Whistle Down, Night Train, Sundown, Devil Hole, Swamp Oak, West Side and Dew Point were conducted between 1962 and 1967. Some used the nerve agents sarin and VX, while others used simulants, according to a 1993 inspection report for the Gerstle River Test Site obtained by Army Times.

The report, prepared for the Army Toxic and Hazardous Materials Agency at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., shows various systems were used to deliver the agents or simulants, including mines, bombs, rockets, artillery shells, bangalore torpedoes and spray tanks.

Cook described seeing movies at Gerstle River of the Elk Hunt tests filmed with remote cameras. A sheep or goat would be tied and the nerve agent would be remotely detonated.

�Almost instantaneously � you�d see the sheep fall over, start quivering and they�d be dead,� Cook recalled. �I said, �My lands, this stuff is bad.� �

Morris would not confirm information about Elk Hunt nor any other tests that were not included in the 12 SHAD tests declassified to date because defense officials are sorting through the information.

�There were lots of things done at Gerstle River,� she said.

The Pentagon began to declassify information about the tests last fall and has turned over to VA more than 2,700 names of veterans who took part in the ones declassified so far.

VA officials have located 622 veterans to inform them they may have been exposed to hazardous agents. They plan to contact more as they�re able to find them and as the Pentagon releases more names, VA spokesman Jim Benson said.

Cook and his friends Joshua Willhite and Roy Harwood, who also volunteered, haven�t received letters from VA because Elk Hunt has yet to be declassified.

Willhite, also a private first class in 1964, cleared trees and bush for the test sites and drove vehicles. He wore a protective rubber suit under coveralls.

Like Cook, he said he was told after arriving at Greeley that he�d be working with a nerve agent, but only recently has he learned more specifically what agents were used, thanks to Internet research conducted by Cook.

Harwood, now 58 and living in Macon, Ga., said his job was to cut pieces of the outer coveralls and put them in jars to measure their toxicity. He also wore full protective gear.

Cook�s job with Elk Hunt was cleaning the protective gear. He worked with a civilian, throwing rubber suits, boots and gloves in washers and dryers and folding them afterward. The civilian used a neutralizing solvent on the suits, and most of the time neither took any special precautions.

Willhite, 62, of Ozark, Ark., sometimes has shortness of breath, but he doesn�t know if that�s due to the tests. He suffers from a recurring rash on his legs and sinus problems, both of which developed about a year after the tests, he said.

Harwood attributes no health problems to the tests.

Jerrel svr

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The government is NOT making any serious effort to actually locate the names of those involved, nor will it. Many of those tests remain classified, and the DOD will NOT release any information from those classified tests.

In spite of testimony given before the Congress, there is a very small group of people supposedly searching for those test subjects. They supposedly have a complete list of everyone tested at Edgewood Arsenal in their Medical Volunteer program, yet it turns out that this list is very far from complete.

In some cases, they have partial names of participants, with no service numbers. In some cases, they have names, but no information on what they may have been tested with. In other cases, even veterans that can prove that they were there (such as myself) simply do NOT appear on their lists at all.

And, the government still refuses to acknowledge that their LSD, PCP, BX and other psychoactive drugs and chemicals had any long term effects on anyone. This i spite of the fact that every other research program in the world shows that LSD, PCP and other hallucinogenic drugs can have very long term effects.

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