|Anyone out there have any no-sh!t first-hand knowledge one way or the other about medical issues like anthrax vaccine or Gulf War Syndrome?
Ex-DAFB commander says troops used as guinea pigs
Military denies that illness of pilots, crew caused by squalene
By LEE WILLIAMS and HIRAN RATNAYAKE
The News Journal
A former Dover Air Force Base commander says military officials used his troops as guinea pigs in illegal medical experiments under the government's controversial anthrax vaccination program.
After some of his troops in their 20s and 30s began developing arthritis, neurological problems, memory loss and incapacitating migraine headaches, Col. Felix Grieder took a drastic step. In 1999, he halted the vaccination program in Dover, a move he said ended his military career. The decorated Air Force colonel has spent the past five years trying to discover the truth about the vaccine program in Dover, where he commanded 4,000 troops.
"In my opinion, there was illegal medical experimentation going on," says Grieder, who lives in Texas.
Grieder has interviewed scores of his former pilots and crew who say they have had life-altering reactions to the vaccine.
"They would have no reason to lie. I believed them," he recalls. "I wanted to talk to them face to face."
Dover is now ground zero in the controversy because troops there were
injected with anthrax vaccine containing squalene, a fat-like substance that occurs naturally in the body. Squalene boosts a vaccine's effect, but some scientists say injecting even trace amounts of it into the body can cause serious illness.
Government officials have acknowledged that the Department of Defense
secretly tested squalene on human beings in Thailand. Grieder believes they did the same in Dover.
In a March 1999 report, the General Accounting Office accused the Defense Department of a "pattern of deception" and said the military confirmed human tests involving squalene only after investigators found out about them.
The Department of Defense says vaccine sent to Dover was accidentally
contaminated with squalene. Grieder and other officers believe, however, that it was intentionally introduced to test pilots and crew in Dover.
The Defense Department made anthrax inoculations mandatory for all active-duty military personnel in 1998. The immunization order, which remains in effect today, calls for six shots over an 18-month period. Defense officials deny that military personnel were illegally used as guinea pigs to test a vaccine containing squalene.
But a News Journal investigation raises significant questions about the military's denials and the safety of the vaccine:
â€¢ Of the first 50 batches of vaccine distributed worldwide for the mandatory inoculations, only five contained squalene - and those were all shipped to Dover. After denying for more than a year that there was squalene in the vaccinations given at Dover, the Air Force admitted in 2000 that it had been wrong.
â€¢ The five batches of vaccine sent to Dover contained increasing concentrations of squalene, Food and Drug Administration tests show. Some scientists say the pattern of squalene concentration could indicate that the military was measuring the troops' response to different dosages. Professor Dave Smith, a microbiologist at the University of Delaware, is one: "I'm certainly not saying they did or didn't do it. But you have to ask yourself, if you have five data points like that, what are the odds of that happening?"
â€¢ The Defense Department has rejected the evidence that the vaccine ever contained squalene. It has steadfastly contended that FDA technicians introduced squalene into the vaccine test via a "dirty fingerprint." The FDA has refused to explain its laboratory procedures for the tests. The military has never retested its stockpile of vaccine for squalene, claiming that, even if the amounts of squalene detected by the FDA were accurate, the concentrations were too low to affect human health. The department continues to require the vaccination for all military personnel - active duty, reserve and National Guard.
â€¢ Tulane University professor Robert Garry testified before Congress that even trace amounts of squalene injected into the human body suppress the immune system. In an interview with The News Journal, he said the body's response can cause some young and middle-age people to get illnesses normally associated with aging.
â€¢ Tulane University professor Pamela Asa and Baylor College of Medicine professor Dorothy Lewis have concluded that squalene's possible links to serious human illnesses should be studied further. The military has dismissed Asa's studies as inconclusive, although it has conducted no follow-up research on the health effects of squalene.
Troops' consent required
Military and international law expressly forbid experiments on troops without their informed consent. Fede