TCS Daily


Bridge to Nowhere, Meet Research to Nowhere

By Michael Fumento - May 26, 2006 12:00 AM

Perhaps you've heard of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young's effort to allocate $315 million in federal funds to connect one tiny island in his state with an even tinier island of only 50 people. Well, he's now been joined by Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. She has allotted a massive $75 million from taxpayers into the Veteran's Administration (VA) budget, with the dictate that every cent go to a Texas advocacy scientist and his institution to study a non-existent illness.

The alleged illness is Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), and the beneficiary of Hutchinson's taxpayer-funded largess is University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center epidemiologist Dr. Robert Haley. Even if you accept that GWS is real and that Haley has something to tell us about it, you should find Hutchinson's action outrageous.

As Science magazine pointed out in its May 5 issue, other researchers are "troubled by such a funding provision." That's because it "not only avoids the traditional peer-review process, but it also marks the rare -- and possibly first ever -- VA funding of a program outside its research network, and to a researcher whose theory [of GWS causation] hasn't won much scientific support."

Haley didn't have to submit a grant proposal, as previously has been the solid rule for funding from either the VA or the National Institutes of Health. If this becomes precedent, look for more legitimate federally-funded medical research to diminish and be replaced by pure pork.

Why bypass normal channels?

First, there's the sticky problem of GWS itself. Depending on your source, as many as one in four U.S. Gulf War vets have it. But epidemiological studies comparing all of these 700,000 men and women to matched non-vet controls keep on finding, as did the last one (in 2005), that "Ten years after the Gulf War, the physical health of deployed and non-deployed veterans is similar."

Indeed, looking at both U.S. and British Gulf vets, the latest study found death "from all illnesses was lower among Gulf War veterans in comparison to those of non-Gulf War veterans.

This doesn't rule out the possibility that Gulf vets might still have excesses of certain illnesses. In fact, in a sop to GWS activists the VA makes "presumptive illness" payments to Gulf vets based on early studies showing they have higher-than-expected rates of the neuromuscular disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But a study last year found that vets in general have a significantly higher rate of "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

None of which bothers Haley. Since 1994, originally using funds from Texan billionaire H. Ross Perot, Haley has produced one set of findings after another that GWS is real and is a neurological illness caused by exposure to low-dose toxins -- with "low-dose" meaning unmeasurable. He's latched onto a non-existent cause for an unreal illness.

The hallmark of his work is that nobody else seems capable of reproducing his findings. Replication may be good science; but the media are always clamoring for something new and Haley is a very good about giving it to them.

"[Haley's] particular avenue of research being pursued is not one that has found much favor with the scientific community," Simon Wessely, director of the King's Centre for Military Health Research at King's College London, told Science.

For example, in 1997 Haley and colleagues reported that compared with 20 non-Gulf vets, 23 allegedly ill Gulf vets "had significantly more neuropsychological evidence of brain dysfunction." But Wessely (though he claims he believes GWS is real) and others later looked at more than twice as many ill Gulf vets, each with at least four neuromuscular problems, and found no such dysfunction.

An American team then looked at over 1,000 ill Gulf vets and, reporting in the journal Neurology last year, again didn't find what Haley claimed to have found. Guess what set of researchers didn't get handed $75 million from a U.S. senator without passing "Go"?

Michael Fumento (fumento[at]pobox.com) is an Army veteran who has also twice been embedded as a reporter in Iraq.

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6 Comments

Get me a grant
Some years ago, when I worked in Radiation Therapy Research, I remember my boss happily announcing, "Everybody is now on hard money, no one is dependent on us getting our next grant."

He was soon replaced by a person who was much more able to go out and rake in the grants from Uncle Sam

The $75 million grant
Dr. Haley does have a very good hypothesis* though I have been working clinically and haven't reveiwed the disconfirming articles you mentioned. It is a stunning amount of money. UT Southwestern's current 'Center Times' has an article about agreements between the local VA hospital and the medical school, where Dr. Haley is on Faculty.

* You can (re)derive the hypothesis by recalling that Atropine, an anticholinergic agent, can be used against (neuro)chemical warfare agents. Thus the warfare agents are cholinergic and the hypothesis looks at a confluence of factors promoting cholinergic excess: a likely Iraqi missile explosion (releasing an agent), wearing plastic dog collars which release bug killing insecticide (same neurotoxic mechanism), homozygous for low production of an enzyme that breaks down the insecticide/chemical warfare agent. The hypothesis further is that you have focal brainstem destruction at the height of cholinergic excess. Cf. article 10373407 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] .

Michael Fumento, a Legend in His Own Mind....
....and, a "debunker" with his cranial/anal interface PERMANENTLY embedded.

Now, I haven't quite deciphered as yet precisely WHY this particular "American Hero" has such a hatred for disabled Veterans...but, he PROUDLY displays a "hate mail" section on his self-aggrandizing website within which you will find some of his condescending ad hominems directed toward yours truly.

He appears to be in DEEP denial over any issue regarding the U.S. Government and Bio-Chemical Warfare.

Unlike my rather UNworthy foe, I do NOT get paid to cover Uncle Sam's ass. Nor have I reaped any "benefits" from having submitted over 130 pages of OFFICIAL TESTIMONY to the Senate Committee that was designated to delve into the coverup in the matter of Project 112/SHAD.

Fumento has attacked me personally and angrily stated that the 28 physical ailments listed on my VA Disability Claim [currently under review by the Board of Veterans Appeals in D.C.] are mere figments of my imagination and the result of having been sprayed with plain water...

I assure you that the physical effects of Chemical Nerve Agents and Biological Weapons are QUITE real. Likewise, it is no "coincidence" that I was instrumental in getting President Bush to sign Senate Bill 1156 into Law in December, 2003.

~~~~~

ASK YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO SUPPORT H.R. 4259 THE VETERANS' RIGHT TO KNOW ACT

http://www.namvets.com/Reading/local%20news/SUPPOR%20T%A0%20H.R.%204259.htm


May 5, 2006

From the early 1960s through the early 1970s, several thousand veterans were subject to potentially toxic exposures during a series of tests called SHAD, or Seaboard Hazard and Defense, part of a larger effort dubbed “112.”. After much hemming and hawing, the Department of Defense acknowledged that 134 tests were planned and that 50 were actually conducted: 19 at sea (for the most part in the South Pacific and off the coast of Hawaii) and 31 on land (in Hawaii, the Panama Canal Zone, and Alaska). Indeed, the Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges that more than 70,000 American servicemen were exposed to chemical and biological agents and simulants in a variety of tests since World War II.

These exposures may affect the health status of these veterans. The problem is, without knowing the intensity and duration of exposure, or the human dose level, veterans can only speculate about what they may have been exposed to.

To right this wrong, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-California.) and Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-Montana.) have introduced a bill, H.R. 4259, to investigate chemical and biological warfare tests carried out between 1954 and 1973. We expect that similar legislation will be introduced in the Senate. If passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, this legislation will empower a commission to look into all facets of Project 112/SHAD and other tests. The goal is to shed light on what occurred – and what information has been hidden that might help veterans whose health may have been compromised during these tests.

Vietnam Veterans of America believes that it is our obligation to ensure that those who served are treated fairly, justly, and equitably. We urge you to use the VVA legislation action center at www.vva.org -- click on “government relations” -- and e-mail your Member of Congress, asking them to sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 4259, the Veterans’ Right to Know Act.

Additional Information on Project 112 (Including Project SHAD)
http://www1.va.gov/shad/

Veterans Health Administration Directive (2004-016) - Provision of Health Care Services to Veterans Involved in Project 112/Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD) Testing (April 15, 2004)


Deployment LINK - Project 112 Test Chart (test names/dates/locations, agent/simulant used and investigation status fact sheets)
http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/current_issues/shad/shad_chart/shad_chart_8_3.shtml

DeploymentLINK - Ships Associated with SHAD Tests
http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/current_issues/shad/shad_ships/shad_ships_2.shtml

Any veteran involved in Project SHAD who believes that one or more of their disabilities may have resulted from exposure during testing may file a claim for compensation with VA. For information and assistance on applying for service-connected compensation contact the nearest VA Regional Office toll-free at (800) 827-1000. Or, apply on-line at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp. For information and assistance by e-mail contact SHADHELPLINE@vba.va.gov.) Veterans involved in Project SHAD with health-related questions or concerns can receive information and assistance by calling toll-free (800) 749-8387.

PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH ANY VETERANS YOU MAY KNOW:

http://www.freedominion.ca/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=14556

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Project+SHAD%22%2C+J.B.+STone&btnG=Google+Search

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.4259.IH:

http://vva.org/SHAD/

http://projectshad.com/

Politically correct diseases
28 ailments????? Wow! A medical prodigy. It seems, lately, every war has to have its concommitent imaginary, but media hyped, occupational "disease", ever since agent-orange syndrome in nam. Making war is a dirty and dangerous business, or didn't you realize that when you signed up? Bullets and bombs can even be occasionally lethal, resulting in a quite permanent disablilty. Mass hysteria and desire for victimhood apparently can affect even our bravest and finest. As we are grateful for your service and sacrifice, you should be grateful for our paying for your medical treatment. Fair's fair. The senator's politically venal panda grant of 75 mil should be given as a bonus to gulf war vets who get on about their lives, without whining or searching for vicimhood.

No Subject
Yes.

28.

I don't know WHERE you came up with the term "prodigy"....

But, it is PRECISELY because of impudent, ill-informed fools like YOU that this continues to happen.

Show me WHERE it states in ANY enlistment contract that the U.S. government has the "right" to use its voluntary Armed Forces as Human Test Rats....???...let alone LIE about it for decades afterward...!!!

~~~~

Let's face it. YOU are the type that would NEVER lift a finger in defense of your country...and you consider your freedom to deride those who actually DO serve in the Military some sort of "free" birthright. You're SO "sophisticated" that this sort of thing could never happen to YOU...

but, tell me Mr. Medical/Military Genius....exactly WHAT mechanism does the DOD have in place to protect YOUR sorry butt from a Bio-Chemical Weapons attack some 35 years after the fact of the existence of Project 112/SHAD...???

~~~~~

"As we are grateful for your service and sacrifice, you should be grateful for our paying for your medical treatment. Fair's fair."

Nice TRY, chump.

We aren't GETTING any...!!!

In order to "prove" a VA Disability Claim...you have to show that your illnesses are a direct result of military service.

Simple, right...???

I'm sure you and your boyfriend, Fumento, presume such.

But the TRUTH of the matter is that not even the sainted OFFICERS who ran Project SHAD can GET their records which delineate the EXPERIMENTAL innocualtions we/they were given....nor their shipboard sick bay records...

and, if anyone DOES acquire their records they are very conveniently "missing" the most crucial and telling data.

Thus, HR 4259, "The Veterans' Right to Know Act.

~~~~

"It seems, lately, every war has to have its concommitent imaginary, but media hyped, occupational "disease", ever since agent-orange syndrome in nam. Making war is a dirty and dangerous business, or didn't you realize that when you signed up?"

The FACT is that I VOLUNTEERED for the Navy Nuclear Power program. And I passed the screening process with flying colors...INCLUDING the obligatory FBI background check PRIOR to attending Boot Camp. All reactor operators are required to become Electronic Technicians first.

I got sidetracked to the USS Granville S. Hall, YAG-40, after ET school as I already had finished in my class and had a Top Secret clearance. Although I had been evaluated to be perfectly fit in every category and lacked only a pressure test to serve on a nuclear sub as I had VOLUNTEERED to do....

Within 10 months of leaving Project SHAD, I was given an Honorable Discharge for "physical disabilities"...???

And, the VA still contends I must "prove" that those disabilities are "service connected".

I owe YOU nothing in the way of further explanation or documentation in my own PERSONAL medical history. I PURPOSELY refuse to wallow in those details for your benefit nor do I find your snotty derision appropriate.

~~~~~

"Bullets and bombs can even be occasionally lethal, resulting in a quite permanent disablilty."

No SH*T, Sherlock...???

Since you are SO well-informed regarding the physical aspects of warfare...

Let's see YOU produce the truthful answers to the following questions:

1. Produce the name & contact info for ONE person who volunteered for Project 112/SHAD.

2. Tell us all how MANY Service Connected VA Disability Claims have been granted to Project SHAD or 112 Veterans, at what percentages, for which illnesses, from which VARO's, and how many are stalled in the system, unresolved.

3. Produce ONE shred of evidence that shows how and WHEN the interior crew's spaces were EVER effectively decontaminated on the Granville Hall [main Lab Ship] or the USS George Eastman, YAG-39 [target vessel]. Feel free to research the ten years PRIOR to Project SHAD, wherein the two ships in question were refitted to gather RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT in dozens of above-ground nuclear blasts in the Marshall Islands, etc.

4. EXTRA CREDIT:

Explain WHY the Smithsonian Institution is NOT coming forward with the COPIOUS data gathered during their "Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program", which was done to delineated how pelagic migratory birds could be used as "avian vectors" to spread biological weapons...in light of the "bird flu" situation....???

[HINT: The project was concurrent, if not physically congruent, to Project SHAD and the "bird men" were at times transported on the two ships listed above.]

~~~~~

"Mass hysteria and desire for victimhood apparently can affect even our bravest and finest."

YOU have not even the status necessary to lick the soles of the lowest ranking SHAD/112 Veteran's boots...let alone to condescendingly apply the highly derogatory label of "victimhood".

There is no "mass hysteria"....only a comfortable and exceedingly foolhardy implicit defense of the certifiable WAR CRIMES perpetrated by none other than the Criminally Insane Robert McNamara and JFK who dreamt up and authorized the wanton misuse of over 10,000 Americans' lives.

That, you insouciant moron, was to the tune of $4 BILLION 1962 Dollars...!!!! Never mind the incalculable costs borne by the families and descendants of the faithful and brave men of which I speak.

~~~~

YOU no doubt have a glib response to all this which will underline your SPHINCTERHOOD.....!!!!

Don't Confuse Your Ranting With "Research"...!!!
Yes.

28.

I don't know WHERE you came up with the term "prodigy"....

But, it is PRECISELY because of impudent, ill-informed fools like YOU that this continues to happen.

Show me WHERE it states in ANY enlistment contract that the U.S. government has the "right" to use its voluntary Armed Forces as Human Test Rats....???...let alone LIE about it for decades afterward...!!!

~~~~

Let's face it. YOU are the type that would NEVER lift a finger in defense of your country...and you consider your freedom to deride those who actually DO serve in the Military some sort of "free" birthright. You're SO "sophisticated" that this sort of thing could never happen to YOU...

but, tell me Mr. Medical/Military Genius....exactly WHAT mechanism does the DOD have in place to protect YOUR sorry butt from a Bio-Chemical Weapons attack some 35 years after the fact of the existence of Project 112/SHAD...???

~~~~~

"As we are grateful for your service and sacrifice, you should be grateful for our paying for your medical treatment. Fair's fair."

Nice TRY, chump.

We aren't GETTING any...!!!

In order to "prove" a VA Disability Claim...you have to show that your illnesses are a direct result of military service.

Simple, right...???

I'm sure you and your boyfriend, Fumento, presume such.

But the TRUTH of the matter is that not even the sainted OFFICERS who ran Project SHAD can GET their records which delineate the EXPERIMENTAL innocualtions we/they were given....nor their shipboard sick bay records...

and, if anyone DOES acquire their records they are very conveniently "missing" the most crucial and telling data.

Thus, HR 4259, "The Veterans' Right to Know Act.

~~~~

"It seems, lately, every war has to have its concommitent imaginary, but media hyped, occupational "disease", ever since agent-orange syndrome in nam. Making war is a dirty and dangerous business, or didn't you realize that when you signed up?"

The FACT is that I VOLUNTEERED for the Navy Nuclear Power program. And I passed the screening process with flying colors...INCLUDING the obligatory FBI background check PRIOR to attending Boot Camp. All reactor operators are required to become Electronic Technicians first.

I got sidetracked to the USS Granville S. Hall, YAG-40, after ET school as I already had finished in my class and had a Top Secret clearance. Although I had been evaluated to be perfectly fit in every category and lacked only a pressure test to serve on a nuclear sub as I had VOLUNTEERED to do....

Within 10 months of leaving Project SHAD, I was given an Honorable Discharge for "physical disabilities"...???

And, the VA still contends I must "prove" that those disabilities are "service connected".

I owe YOU nothing in the way of further explanation or documentation in my own PERSONAL medical history. I PURPOSELY refuse to wallow in those details for your benefit nor do I find your snotty derision appropriate.

~~~~~

"Bullets and bombs can even be occasionally lethal, resulting in a quite permanent disablilty."

No SH*T, Sherlock...???

Since you are SO well-informed regarding the physical aspects of warfare...

Let's see YOU produce the truthful answers to the following questions:

1. Produce the name & contact info for ONE person who volunteered for Project 112/SHAD.

2. Tell us all how MANY Service Connected VA Disability Claims have been granted to Project SHAD or 112 Veterans, at what percentages, for which illnesses, from which VARO's, and how many are stalled in the system, unresolved.

3. Produce ONE shred of evidence that shows how and WHEN the interior crew's spaces were EVER effectively decontaminated on the Granville Hall [main Lab Ship] or the USS George Eastman, YAG-39 [target vessel]. Feel free to research the ten years PRIOR to Project SHAD, wherein the two ships in question were refitted to gather RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT in dozens of above-ground nuclear blasts in the Marshall Islands, etc.

4. EXTRA CREDIT:

Explain WHY the Smithsonian Institution is NOT coming forward with the COPIOUS data gathered during their "Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program", which was done to delineated how pelagic migratory birds could be used as "avian vectors" to spread biological weapons...in light of the "bird flu" situation....???

[HINT: The project was concurrent, if not physically congruent, to Project SHAD and the "bird men" were at times transported on the two ships listed above.]

~~~~~

"Mass hysteria and desire for victimhood apparently can affect even our bravest and finest."

YOU have not even the status necessary to lick the soles of the lowest ranking SHAD/112 Veteran's boots...let alone to condescendingly apply the highly derogatory label of "victimhood".

There is no "mass hysteria"....only a comfortable and exceedingly foolhardy implicit defense of the certifiable WAR CRIMES perpetrated by none other than the Criminally Insane Robert McNamara and JFK who dreamt up and authorized the wanton misuse of over 10,000 Americans' lives.

That, you insouciant moron, was to the tune of $4 BILLION 1962 Dollars...!!!! Never mind the incalculable costs borne by the families and descendants of the faithful and brave men of which I speak.

~~~~

YOU no doubt have a glib response to all this which will underline your SPHINCTERHOOD.....!!!!

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