Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vets feel abandoned after secret drug experiments

Here is another sad story about veterans who were used as guinea pigs in dangerous experiments and are now suffering the consequences without help from the government.

Source: CNN

A military facility in Edgewood Maryland tested potentially lethal gases, narcotics and LSD on animals and humans. Veterans who became Army guinea pigs for secret drug and chemical experiments are suing the Department of Veteran Affairs, the CIA and the Defense Department. In addition to medical benefits, the lawsuit is asking that the Defense Department and VA find all Edgewood veterans and provide them with details of the chemicals they received and their possible health effects.

The government has reached very few of the 7,000 or so Edgewood veterans, and the VA has turned down almost all Edgewood-related health claims. Court documents show that the Veterans Benefits Administration rejected 84 of 86 health claims related to chemical or biological exposure.

18-year-old Tim Josephs enlisted in the Army fresh out of high school --at the height of the Vietnam War. "I really felt a duty to my country to go and serve," he said. "Things were different back then. You believed in your government. And you just wouldn't think they would give you something that would harm you intentionally." Josephs was diagnosed in his 50s with Parkinson's disease, which he says forced him to retire early from his job as a realtor. His doctor says he suffered two small strokes, and he blames his experiences at Edgewood for the strokes and the Parkinson's.Josephs requires medications at a cost of $2,000 a month, which he was paying for out of pocket.

Wray Forrest also participating in the program at Edgewood in 1973. Forrest spent decades fighting post traumatic stress disorder, which he said the VA had linked to his time at Edgewood. Forrest, a heavy smoker most of his life, was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2009 and died in 2010. His doctor said some of Forrest's health problems could have been caused by chemicals used at Edgewood.

Bill Blazinski was drafted into the Army and also spent two months at Edgewood in 1968. In one test, he said, electrodes were attached to him and "electrical charges ran through his body, causing pain like pinpricks," according to the plaintiff's' lawsuit against the VA. Blazinski, now 64, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and ulcerative colitis in 2008. He applied for VA disability benefits, but was denied, according to the plaintiffs' lawsuit.

Drafted by the Army in 1968 at age 20, Frank Rochelle also was at Edgewood for two months. During one drug test, Rochelle said, he thought that his freckles were bugs under his skin. He used a razor to try to cut them out, injuring himself. Later, Rochelle was deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. "I have breathing problems," said Rochelle, now age 63. "I still have problems getting around, getting along with people, nervousness and sleep apnea." Rochelle's "medical problems have worsened and his health has deteriorated," and he is "no longer able to work the job that he held for over 28 years."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at CNN

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