IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

July 2, 2003

No. 03-19

Contact:
Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000 Ext.146


 
VVA Calls for Independent Investigator
To Probe Secret Bio-Chem Tests

 

(Washington, D.C.) – “The move by the Pentagon, announced on Monday, to conclude its investigation into secret tests of chemical and biological weapons in the 1960s is a violation of public trust -- and the public’s right to know what really happened,” VVA President Thomas H. Corey said.   

Corey called for Congress to establish and empower an independent office to investigate not only the alleged exposures perpetrated on unwitting sailors and soldiers, but other toxic issues as well.  These include the diseases and undiagnosed symptoms that constitute Gulf War illnesses. 

“For the Pentagon to end its investigation based on an arbitrary end date will cause hardship for those veterans and their families who still have many unanswered questions as to what toxic agents they may have been exposed to while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Many veterans have yet to be notified of their exposures in these tests and have yet to been seen by VA clinicians,” Corey said. 

Project 112 was a secret program that exposed sailors and soldiers, without their knowledge or consent, to a variety of toxic chemical and biological agents.  These tests included two agents that simulate the infectious profile of anthrax and bacillus globigii, which has been associated with a number of opportunistic infections, VA officials acknowledge. 

Vietnam Veterans of America joins with those members of Congress who have asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to refrain from closing the investigation into Project 112.  The Defense Department investigation confirms that classified medical records exist. Veterans will need to obtain these medical records so they may qualify for healthcare and compensation when due. Currently the Department of Defense intends to close the investigation without releasing the relevant classified medical records.  

VVA believes it is Congress that should determine what the evidence dictates, whether or not the investigation into Project 112 should be continued or terminated. On a regular basis, we receive new information from SHAD veterans that raises new questions. VVA believes that further examination of the issue is not only appropriate, but necessary. VVA, through our Project 112/SHAD Task Force, will do all that we can to assist with any special investigation.

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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