(POPEYE) On this edition of DTRH Popeye airs his two interviews with Dr. Doug Rokke. They expose they truth about the negative health effects of Depleted Uranium, Gulf War Syndrome, the anthrax vaccines, and exposure to other toxins that people all around the world, both military and civilian, have been exposed to; And the fact that the negative health effects have been known about since at least 1991 by the people in charge, including recently retired Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
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(FEDERALJACK) Family members of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six believes the public is being misled about the deaths of 17 of it’s members. The team, which gained worldwide fame for killing Osama bin Laden, was traveling with Afghan soldiers in a Chinook transport helicopter when the craft was downed by insurgents in August 2011. Family members of the seals filed a lawsuit to seek damages from the US, Afghan, and Iranian governments, while also pressing Congress to address what they perceive to be improprieties in the government’s version of events.
(MILITARY TIMES) A federal appeals court on Thursday revived dozens of lawsuits by soldiers and others who claim they were harmed by improper waste disposal while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The lawsuits claim Houston-based contractors KBR and Halliburton Co. exposed soldiers to toxic emissions and contaminated water when they burned waste in open pits without proper safety controls. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus in Maryland dismissed the lawsuits last year, ruling that the contractors could not be sued because they were essentially an extension of the military.
But a three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its unanimous decision that the contractors are protected only if they were following explicit instructions from the military. The court said Titus improperly tossed the case without sufficient evidence on that issue.
(MILITARY TIMES) Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have coined the term “Iraq-Afghanistan war lung injury” to describe respiratory symptoms developed by some veterans — and they have duplicated the problem in mice, using dust from Camp Victory in Baghdad.
In an article published Friday in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers including Dr. Anthony Szema, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine at Stony Brook, found that exposing mice to dust collected from Camp Victory in 2007 produced inflammation and changes to respiratory airways similar to those found in Iraq veterans diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis.
The mice lungs contained “angular, sharp and solid” particles with traces of titanium and iron, according to the study.
Replicating the experiment with dust from other locations, including the San Joaquin Valley in California; Kandahar, Afghanistan; and a titanium mine in Montana, the researchers could not produce the same inflammatory response.
(MILITARY TIMES) Debt collection is emerging as a big issue for service members and veterans, according to data released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on March 6.
Since the agency began accepting complaints in some categories last July, roughly 3,800 complaints specifically about debt collection have been received from military consumers — service members, veterans and their families. A breakout of how many complaints came from active-duty members and their families was not available.
Over the same period, the bureau has received 14,100 complaints from consumers in the military community, and has helped them recover more than $1 million.
The complaint volume rose by 148 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the bureau.
Debt collection has quickly become the highest-volume complaint category for military consumers. Those complaints are about to overtake mortgage complaints as the largest category in terms of cumulative volume.
Since the bureau began accepting complaints about mortgages in December 2011, about 4,700 such complaints have been received from the military community. The 3,800 debt collection complaints have been racked up in just seven months.
“The sheer volume of debt collection complaints alone makes this an important complaint category [for the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs],” wrote Holly Petraeus, assistant director for that office, in an introduction to the CFPB report. “Beyond the number, however, I have heard in my many visits to military installations across the country about aggressive and deceptive tactics by debt collectors specifically targeting members of the military.”
Tactics to coerce payment often involve contacting the service member’s chain of command, threatening punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, threatening to have a service member reduced in rank or threatening to have the service member’s security clearance revoked, she wrote.
Many of the complaints are not related to monetary relief; the office also has helped military consumers with such problems as correcting credit report errors or opening or closing a bank account.
In addition to the 3,800 debt collection complaints and 4,700 mortgage complaints from July 21, 2011, through Feb. 1, 2014, CFPB also has received from military consumers:
■1,700 credit card complaints.
■1,500 bank account and services complaints.
■1,200 credit reporting complaints.
■600 consumer loan complaints.
■400 private student loan complaints.
■100 payday loan complaints.
■50 money transfer complaints.
(Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman) A physician working at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) hospital in Missouri claims she was fired for refusing to prescribe higher doses of addictive painkillers to patients.
Dr. Basimah Khulusi told the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and ABC News that she lost her job at the VA hospital in Kansas City after patients complained that she would not authorize more powerful amounts of opiates.
“I had to do something about it. And I tried,” Khulusi said. “And then, you know, I was let go.”
Khulusi told CIR that the VA informed her she was being terminated so they could replace her with a new doctor who was willing to work in a VA clinic that specialized in giving pain medicine injections.
Abuse of painkillers has been a serious concern among VA patients, with prescriptions for opiates, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine, rising by 270% between 2001 and 2012, according to CIR. That has contributed to a fatal overdose rate of almost double the national average, according to an analysis that was performed by scientists who are part of the VA staff.
Opiate prescriptions at the Kansas City VA alone soared by 173% during the period in question.
Khulusi explained that the majority of her patients were addicted to the drugs, which was why she refused to up their doses.
Some veterans were taking 900 narcotic pain pills a month and 1,000 milligrams of morphine a day, which is 10 times the level she said was safe.
Some of Khulusi’s patients expressed appreciation for her efforts to wean them off of the drugs, but others threatened her, “cussing, cursing, lashing out, complaining to the administration, complaining to the [medical] board to try to take my license away from me,” she told CIR.
VA officials say they are trying to address the problem with a new program, the Opioid Safety Initiative, which is supposed to cut down the number of narcotic painkiller prescriptions.
(GAZETTE) For three years, Graciela Saraiva has been trying to clear her name after she was discharged from the U.S. Navy under “other than honorable” conditions for failing a drug urinalysis.
Saraiva, 23, of Olney, tested positive for codeine, which was in Tylenol-3 pills she was taking after getting her wisdom teeth removed, she said.
During her orientation for the Navy Reserve, she took a urinalysis, she said.
There was paperwork asking what medication she was on. She left it blank.
It was a simple mistake, she said; she didn’t list her birth control either.
“It didn’t even occur to me,” she said of the Tylenol.
When contacted by The Gazette, Hunjin Kim, a Silver Spring-based dental surgeon, confirmed Saraiva’s account.
The Navy found codeine and morphine in Saraiva’s system, and sent her a letter in May 2010, telling her she had tested positive for the drugs.
A Navy spokeswoman said the Navy has a zero tolerance for drug use, but would not publicly comment on details of Saraiva’s dismissal.
Saraiva contends that she didn’t receive the letter right away because it had been improperly addressed to her and because she was in California completing her annual reserve training, she said.
When she returned from her annual training, supervisors pulled her aside.
“They give me a letter which said I had popped for codeine,” she said of the positive drug test.
They escorted her off the base, and told her that if she didn’t provide paperwork that didn’t explain the codeine in her system, she would be kicked out of the Navy.
It was a shock for Saraiva, a Brazilian-American immigrant who enlisted out of high school, mirroring her sister’s decision to join the Marines a few years before. It was an “honor” for her and her family, she said.
“I wanted to be part of this organization, to be part of a team, and do something greater for my country,” she said.
Saraiva provided the paperwork later that week, but was discharged in August anyway, she said.
“I was amazed, speechless, and pissed off,” she said. “Of all the [people] in the Navy who can’t pass [physical requirement tests] and follow orders, I’m the one kicked out? For something I didn’t even do?”
Saraiva earned a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Rifle Expert Medal, and a Pistol Sharpshooter Ribbon, according to her public record from the Navy before she moved to the reserves in March 2010.
Saraiva received a discharge of “Other Than Honorable,” which is two grades below an “honorable” discharge and one above “dishonorable.” She also was designated as RE-4, which is a recommendation against re-enlistment, according to the website of the Navy’s inspector general.
Naval records that Saraiva’s family provided to The Gazette show that when Saraiva appealed her discharge, two separate boards reviewed her case.
One, a Navy discharge review board, ruled in her favor in 2011, and changed her discharge status.
“She does have an honorable discharge,” Naval News Service Lt. Cmdr Sarah Flaherty told The Gazette.
However, the Board for Correction of Naval Records told the Saraiva family in May that it would not change Saraiva’s re-enlistment code from an RE-4, which Saraiva believes stands as a black mark on her record.
“It’s not a good thing to have — at all. It’s going to influence whether or where and what kind of jobs I can get,” she said. “It’s going to limit me significantly.”
“The rules for urinalysis are to disclose and declare medicines you’re on at the time of urinalysis,” Flaherty said.
She added: “The reason [the Navy] has medical declarations is because when something pops, they refer to your medical record.”
Flaherty also said that the Navy had received a congressional letter on behalf of Saraiva, but Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, had not yet sent his response.
“She needs to wait to see the letter to see what comes,” Flaherty said. She did not say what decision the letter contained.
A representative from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who Saraiva’s family contacted, said office policy prohibits them from discussing individual constituent cases.
If the Navy declines to change Saraiva’s re-enlistment code, her next step would be to file suit against the Navy in federal court, Flaherty said. Saraiva said she is considering that. But she’s not sure if she would re-enter the reserves at this point, even if she could, she said.
“At this point, I’m focused on getting my life back, getting my reputation back. Then I’ll think about whether or not I want to pursue that route,” she said.
(FEDERALJACK) A month after one of the most destructive chemical spills in West Virginia’s history, state residents are still dealing with lingering questions about the safety of their drinking water. But the potential health risks of the chemical spill in the Elk River outside of Charleston harken back to an even bigger water-contamination catastrophe. From 1953 to 1987, the water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was contaminated with harmful chemicals. Marines and their families who lived on base bathed in and ingested that water, and federal scientists have found an increased incidence of some birth defects and cancers such as leukemia in children of mothers exposed to polluted drinking water, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A high rate of male breast cancer among troops stationed at Lejeune during the period of contamination has also been reported. RT’s Ameera David speaks with Jerry Ensminger, co-founder of The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, and Mike Partain, the organization’s lead community member, about their experiences at the Marine Corps base.