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Ignore and downplay their deaths, suppress their families’ anguish. Important story by Greg Mitchell. And here’s his followup article.

1:46 pm on July 26, 2003

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Its not enough that US solders are being used for target practice in countries the average government school senior couldn’t find on a map (and that had never posed a threat to the US), they may also get sick or even die as a result of the vaccines they are forced to receive. Of course, American children are also forced to receive potentially dangerous vaccines. The mandate that children receive an ever-expanding list of vaccines may be responsible for the sky rocketing rates of autism. Of course, the campaign contributions of the vaccine manufacturers have nothing to do with the policies of mandating vaccines. Its just another example of how this government supports the troops and acts for the children.

INSIGHT Magazine

Mystery Deaths Fuel Vaccine Anxieties

Posted Sept. 15, 2003
By Timothy W. Maier

Since Persian Gulf War II began about 6,000 soldiers have been shipped home
for recovery. Of these, 1,200 were wounded in combat. Many of the others
consider themselves part of an army of “walking dead” – troops who
appear to
be so physically and mentally exhausted that the military has no recourse
but to discharge them. Why they are ill has become a matter of intense
debate inside the Pentagon. Some claim a series of anthrax and smallpox
vaccinations made them so gravely ill that they have trouble breathing or
sleeping and have experienced a loss of memory. Others have been diagnosed
with lupus and heart problems. At least six died shortly after rolling up
their sleeves to receive the anthrax and smallpox shots. But the Pentagon
dismissed related claims with such regularity and intimidation that many GIs
tell Insight they no longer report the illness. They are told to “suck it
up” and move on.

“Don’t blame the vaccinations” has been a Pentagon mantra since it
inoculating nearly half a million troops almost two years ago and pumping
millions of dollars into BioPort Corp., the Lansing, Mich.-based sole
supplier of the anthrax vaccine [see “A Dose of Reality” and “Why
Got a Shot in the Arm,” Sept. 20, 1999]. But an alarming outbreak of more
than 100 suspected pneumonia cases among Gulf War II veterans serving in
Iraq and southwestern Asia has drawn the ire of Congress.

Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) held eight congressional hearings on the safety
of the vaccination while chairman of the House Government Reform
subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International
Relations, and issued a seething report that found serious safety and
regulatory problems with the vaccine. Now Shays is asking again, “Could
these vaccinations be hurting our troops?” The Pentagon reluctantly
that two Army soldiers – Spc. Joshua M. Neusche, 20, of Montreal, Mo., and
Sgt. Michael L. Tosto, 24, of Apex, N.C. – died from complications arising
from pneumonia on July 12 and June 17, respectively. The Army is
investigating their deaths. Between 1998 and 2001, the U.S. Army Center for
Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine reported 17 soldiers died from
complications of pneumonia. The Pentagon has confirmed that this year at
least 17 others have been placed on respirators but insists the vaccinations
have nothing to do with the deaths or illness.

The two pneumonia-related deaths reported recently apparently are an
understatement. Family members of Army Spc. Zeferino E. Culunga, 20, of
Bellville, Texas, and Staff Sgt. Richard S. Eaton, 37, of Guilford, Conn.,
claim their sons died in August after being diagnosed with pneumonia. A
third death involved Spc. Rachael Lacy of Lynwood, Ill. According to her
autopsy, “smallpox and anthrax vaccinations” contributed to her death
April 4 after she first had been diagnosed with pneumonia.

When the victims’ families reached out to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
he ordered a team of military investigators to Germany and Iraq to review
the recent pneumonia cases. “We as a family are concerned that we are not
being told the truth,” wrote the family of Spc. Neusche in an Aug. 12
to Rumsfeld. Like the other families, they asked to see medical records in
an effort to get a second opinion on the cause of death. Culunga died of
acute leukemia. Lang was never deployed, so she is not considered part of
the cluster of pneumonia cases. “It is our right to receive truthful,
and unfiltered answers just as the military required truth, honesty and
commitment from our son,” says the Neusche-family letter to Rumsfeld.

But the Army is not investigating the deaths of Culunga or Lacy, and is
awaiting autopsy results for Eaton.

Besides those who died from pneumonia-like complications, families of six
others claim the vaccinations contributed to their sons’ deaths – including
two who committed suicide because, say the complaints, the vaccinations made
them so seriously ill that it destroyed their will to live. While the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged the nature of these deaths,
the Pentagon has not because military doctors have refused to confirm that
the vaccines contributed to the deaths of any of these victims.

Despite mounting criticism, the Pentagon repeatedly claimed the pneumonia
cases had nothing to do with the anthrax or smallpox vaccinations. “In 200
years of vaccination, no vaccine has ever been shown to cause pneumonia, and
there are multiple reasons to believe that the vaccines have no role,”
John D. Grabenstein, deputy director for clinical operations at the Military
Vaccine Agency, told United Press International.

Could Grabenstein be wrong? During congressional hearings on the vaccination
program in 1999, Pentagon officials acknowledged there had been three
reports of serious illness coincidentally associated with the vaccination
involving hypersensitivity pneumonia. A study last year in
Pharmacoepidemiolgy and Drug Safety said the vaccine was the cause of
pneumonia in two soldiers. But Grabenstein dismisses such evidence. In fact,
in his recent study of vaccination patients published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association (JAMA), he insists there have been no deaths
related to the smallpox shot. He ignores the Lacy case because she was never
deployed overseas.

“Totally bogus,” says Meryl Nass, a civilian doctor who has treated
who became ill after receiving the vaccinations. “I e-mailed JAMA a copy
the death certificate for Lacy. I asked him why he didn’t report it. He
said, ‘We don’t accept diagnoses from outside the military.’ The Mayo Clinic
[in Rochester, Minn.] did the autopsy. They don’t believe the Mayo

In fact, Lacy’s death is not even listed in the military’s Noteworthy
Adverse Events report – an omission that critics suggest smells of cover-up.
“My concern regarding the Lacy case is that it was parsed to death in an
effort to keep it out of the official reports,” says Jeffrey Sartin, a
former U.S. Air Force doctor who now works in the Infectious Disease
Department at the Gunderson Clinic in La Crosse, Wis. “If it could not be
proven with 100 percent certainty that vaccines caused her illness, it was
not going to be reported as such.”

While Sartin says it should have been reported, Nass wonders if Grabenstein
may have a serious conflict of interest that has prevented him from
reporting such incidents. She notes Grabenstein sits on a number of
pharmaceutical boards and is well known for advocating legislation that
would allow pharmacists to administer vaccinations.

Some civilian doctors charge that the Pentagon mislabeled these cases in an
effort to avoid making adverse-reaction reports that the military keeps to
monitor vaccination programs. Indeed, Lacy may not be the only death
overlooked. The death of NBC correspondent David Bloom, who died of a blood
clot after receiving vaccination shots, as well as the death of a
55-year-old Missouri National Guardsman who had a heart attack under similar
circumstances, also were disregarded. “I am not sure they had
Nass says. “They are trying to obscure it. They have something else in the
lungs and they’re not telling us what it is. The Pentagon knows something,
but they are not sharing it. And if it isn’t pneumonia, what is it?”

What is known is that about one-half of these military patients with
pneumonia also had elevated eosinophils in their blood. Eosinophils are
responsible for allergic reactions and also help defend against parasites,
says Sartin, who worked with a team of doctors that treated Lacy.
eosinophils were seen in the blood count of Rachael Lacy before she died,
and both her autopsy and the heart biopsy of a servicemember who had
myopericarditis showed eosinophilic infiltration of heart tissue,” reports
Sartin. “This suggests to me the possibility of an immune-mediated
to something such as a vaccine.”

Another possibility, he says, could be Churg-Strauss syndrome, an autoimmune
disease in which “you get asthma, pulmonary infiltrates [in other words,
chest X-ray can look like pneumonia] and eosinophilia.” Sartin reports
can lead to vasculitis, which is what killed Bioport employee Richard Dunn.
A coroner claimed the anthrax vaccine contributed to Dunn’s death. “If we
could get the test results on these patients, and in particular the autopsy
results on Neusche and Tosto, we might be able to draw some conclusions
about what caused their illnesses and whether it was vaccine-related,” he

Pointing to the sharing of information on the SARS outbreak and how that
helped civilian doctors diagnose and treat the disease, Sartin argues that
the same could be done with data about the sick soldiers. However, for now,
the military would rather keep those records under wraps, which puzzles
Sartin. “All of us close to the [Lacy] case, including her family members,
wonder why a perfectly healthy young woman, in the top 10 percent of her PT
[physical-training] testing, would get sick right after her vaccinations
without any other explanation and the authorities would not consider that
the vaccine probably, or at least possibly, caused her illness and death.”

Dawn Richardson
PROVE(Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education) (email) (web site)
PROVE provides information on vaccines, and immunization policies and
practices that affect the children and adults of Texas. Our mission is to
prevent vaccine injury and death and to promote and protect the right of
every person to make informed independent vaccination decisions for
themselves and their family.
This information is not to be construed as medical OR legal advice.

1:25 pm on September 18, 2003

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The increased demand for purple hearts as a result of the high number of wounded solders in Iraq is causing a purple heart shortage. The government is actually suggesting wounded veterans buy their own medals at an Army surplus store. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

(Hat tip: Wonkette)

4:56 pm on August 19, 2007

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NB: bad language in this YouTube. (Thanks to Charles Everett.)

6:09 pm on March 5, 2008

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At least this one, who excelled as an interrogator in Iraq because he refused to allow or inflict torture. The article contains so many profound confirmations of common sense (and contradictions of War Party propaganda) that it must be read in full. Here are two telling excerpts, based not on hypothesis, but on irrefutable experience:

“It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse.”

“Over the course of this renaissance in interrogation tactics, our attitudes changed. We no longer saw our prisoners as the stereotypical al-Qaeda evildoers we had been repeatedly briefed to expect; we saw them as Sunni Iraqis, often family men protecting themselves from Shiite militias and trying to ensure that their fellow Sunnis would still have some access to wealth and power in the new Iraq. Most surprisingly, they turned out to despise al-Qaeda in Iraq as much as they despised us, but Zarqawi and his thugs were willing to provide them with arms and money. I pointed this out to Gen. George Casey, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, when he visited my prison in the summer of 2006. He did not respond.”

Of more abiding interest: the writer is forced to use a pseudonym because he faces domestic threats. I wonder if any of them come from the “conservatives” who pretend that they can ignore the Iraq disaster, and still regenerate the GOP on the basis of its “core values” and “basic principles.” Want to find out? Why not go to a local GOP function and ask for a vote on the issue of torture? My hunch is that you’ll be confronted by a bunch of Long-Island Wal-Mart-customer-style Barbarians who will trample you in a stampede to get back their war plunder that has kept the GOP’s engines running for so long.

Pretty soon you’ll need a pseudonym, too.

9:25 am on December 1, 2008