Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 10 Num. 22

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Writing in the May 25, 1994 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Paul Cotton notes that supposed "efforts" by governmental agencies to uncover the cause(es) of Gulf War Illness(es) (GWI) "have created a candy store for conspiracy buffs." A workshop at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was, in fact, told by several who testified that they saw a conspiracy behind the mysterious illness(es). Yet other participants in the panel suggested that GWI is stress-related, brought on essentially as a result of stress experienced by Gulf War veterans during that conflict. Supposedly, "several months of stress in isolated and austere conditions... created perhaps a unique situation that could affect the way illness appears."

Yet if stress is the cause, why the "surprisingly low rate of psychiatric problems in the Gulf, and a 'paucity' of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?" Well, claims one MD-PhD, maybe PTSD manifests differently in Gulf vets than it did with the Vietnam vets. Right.

The JAMA article is balanced and apparently presents all sides of the question. The panel was hampered by lack of information, in part due to Pentagon stonewalling; in part due to a shocking lack of detailed studies. Among information that was lacking:

** Apparently no tests of semen have been done. Wives of veterans complain they have acquired "mysterious maladies" since their spouses returned from the Gulf War.

** Apparently no studies were done related to effects of pesticides routinely sprayed on uniforms before they were given to soldiers.

** Apparently no data is available on which of the soldiers were given pyridostigmine, a cholinesterase inhibitor that blocks the receptor site for nerve gas.

** Apparently data was withheld regarding dust from depleted uranium used in tank-piercing shells. Data also was apparently withheld regarding use of microwaves and vaccinations against anthrax and botulin.

Allegations made to the panel include:

** Some veterans believe they were exposed to chemical warfare during the Gulf War. Some say "they tasted a bitter almond taste after Iraqi SCUD-B missile attacks and saw whole herds of dead camels and goats that appeared to have dropped where they were standing." Bitter almonds? Could that have been cyanide? Recall from CN 10.21 how, allegedly, "warfare-grade 'free' cyanide was dumped" near the PIT plant. "Kawaja... received inquiries from people who claim to live and work south of the PIT plant who either have or know of persons now in hospitals, 'brain dead' and dying from cancer."

** Testimony regarding mass burials of Iraqi corpses allegedly contaminated by chemical or biological weapons. How might that have affected those who were doing the burying?

** Repeatedly, stories were told of "whole herds of camels and goats that had apparently just dropped dead in place and were mysteriously untouched by flies."

** Missing medical records, some for entire units. Claims by some that they saw medical records being burned.

** "Julia Dyckman, RN, MPH, a Naval Reserve captain, says more than half of those to whom she administered anthrax vaccinations in the field experienced adverse reactions, including 'huge' swelling and high fever. But she claims that those vaccinations were not recorded in individual medical files, and that reports she says she filed on the adverse reactions have disappeared." Allegations were made by some that these vaccinations were "experimental recombinant DNA products" used "without informed consent in the Gulf." Hence the title of the JAMA article, that "Veterans... Suspect They Were Goats in Gulf War." Were veterans used as "guinea pigs" without their informed consent? One researcher thinks so. Patricia Axelrod, "who has been using a $60,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study Desert Storm complaints, contends that 'a full spectrum of experimental drugs' was given to troops. She alleges that the military "does not want it known that Desert Storm was a living laboratory. Americans were exposed to toxic environmental circumstances, including chemical and biological warfare agents. They have used these people as guinea pigs."

(See: "Veterans Seeking Answers to Syndrome Suspect They Were Goats in Gulf War," by Paul Cotton. JAMA, May 25, 1994, pp. 1559-1561.)

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