MYSTERY SURROUNDS GULF WAR ILLNESS(ES)
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
** 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.