- Anthrax Vaccine: A Case for Accountability
- By Retired LTC John Richardson
Pentagon's illegal anthrax vaccine program was the subject of one of Hack's
last columns, titled "Soldiers
Shouldn't be Guinea Pigs". [i] As
usual, he was blunt – and right.
some retired generals have been equally blunt.
Army BG John Batiste wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the
civilian Pentagon leadership to be held accountable for Iraq War mistakes.
Marine LtGen Greg Newbold also eloquently observed in Time Magazine that
the "commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness
and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to
execute these missions--or bury the results."[iii]
applies to generals, too
some field grade and junior officers have observed that the blame extends to
the uniformed military leadership as well.[iv] Nowhere
is that more true than with force protection, where measures that would have
stopped bullets and IEDs were ignored while the Pentagon wasted hundreds of
millions on an unsafe -- and unnecessary -- anthrax vaccine.
the deaths and abuses of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib were wrong, then so are the
deaths and illnesses -- of US military servicemembers -- associated with the
once mandatory DoD anthrax vaccine program.
of are the result of a "command climate" that willfully ignores the
the mandatory anthrax vaccine program began in 1998, not one general or
admiral has objected to forcing troops to take an anthrax vaccine made by
company that DoD allowed to be sold to a non-citizen, Fuad El-Hibri, who
then gave 13% ownership to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. William
Crowe in 1998 – for nothing. [v] [vi]
after federal Judge
Emmet Sullivan declared the mandatory anthrax shot program to be
"illegal" and issued an injunction
to shut it down in 2004, not one senior officer spoke out against this illegal
experiment on the troops. [vii]
package insert acknowledges both six deaths related to anthrax vaccine and
also a wide range of autoimmune disorders.[viii] In
November 2005, Newsday
reported that FDA has now quietly admitted to 21 deaths.[ix]
range of credible media sources have reported these adverse reactions and
deaths over many years.
despite detailed investigative reports like the Newport
News Daily Press December 2005 expose', the FDA will not investigate
because it is integrally involved in covering up DoD's secret anthrax vaccine
Members' trust betrayed
published a detailed critique of the DoD anthrax vaccine program on Dec 7,
1999. After 9/11, the nation was headed to war and Americans had to trust the
government's official assertions about Iraqi WMD – and the need to protect
the joint CIA-DIA post-invasion Iraq
Survey Group (ISG) has now made clear that Saddam had no WMD and that his
biological warfare program ended in 1996.[x] A
subsequent ISG addendum report found no evidence that the non-existent WMD had
been moved to Syria or any other country.[xi] The ISG
and others have also detailed how the primary source on WMD was an Iraqi
defector, code-named "Curveball", who was never even interviewed by
US intelligence personnel.[xii] Curveball's assertions
of mobile biological weapons labs have been repeatedly discredited.[xiii]
should not be a surprise. In fact, the Government Accountability Office
published at least four reports between 1999-2002 that undercut DoD
threat assertions used to justify the mandatory anthrax vaccine program.[xvi]
analysts have confirmed that the intelligence supporting these GAO reports
was willfully ignored by the White House – and by a Pentagon intent on
forcing troops to take an unsafe anthrax vaccine.[xviii]
were no Iraqi WMD after the mid-1990's. There was no anthrax threat in Iraq or
Afghanistan. Yet a year after the Iraq War made clear there was no WMD, the
Pentagon – in violation of its own regulation
mandating a "validated threat" -- attempted to expand
the mandatory anthrax vaccine program. Why?
to the Pentagon's anthrax website and
you'll see references to the post-9/11 anthrax letters as another "threat"
justifying anthrax shots. What this DoD website does not say is that former Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former HHS
Secretary Tommy Thompson, and former White
House press secretary Ari Fleischer all publicly acknowledged that the
origin of anthrax letters was domestic, not Iraq or Al Qaeda, and was likely
tied to the government's mismanaged secret biodefense programs at Ft. Detrick
why does the Pentagon still willfully mislead troops about the threat to
convince them to "volunteer" to take anthrax vaccine before you
deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan or Korea?
the DoD, likely aided by the National Institutes of Health and other federal
health agencies, is conducting a secret experiment and it needs guinea pigs.
anthrax vaccine experiment was described in author Gary Matsumoto's 2004 book
"Vaccine-A." In a 2000 press
vaguely acknowledged – after years of Clinton-like denials -- that
squalene was in anthrax vaccine.[xx] But the Pentagon
has continued to deny and cover-up
the secret experiment – and its deadly results.
servicemembers do not realize that they can be lawfully
experimented on -- without their knowledge – simply "to
advance the development of a medical product necessary to the armed forces."[xxi]
The question is, did DoD obey the law?
few good...federal judges
the recent Pentagon spin that its FDA ally has once again dutifully declared
the anthrax vaccine to be "safe and effective," the shot program
remains voluntary. Legally, DoD could once again mandate the shots. And
clearly, the absence of a threat has nothing to do with the Pentagon's
decision to vaccinate. So, why haven't they mandated the shots?
those responsible for the anthrax vaccine program are getting scared.
Feb 9, 2006 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Pentagon's attempt to
overturn the federal district court injunction against mandatory shots. While
recognizing the FDA's latest ruling on the vaccine, the appellate court sent
the case back to Judge Emmet Sullivan. Like a boxing match, this signaled the
end of the first round.
real legal fight is still ahead.
far, the Doe v.
Rumsfeld lawsuit filed by six courageous servicemembers
has focused on regulatory issues related to the FDA's unlawful licensure of
the anthrax vaccine. However, the case may now turn to what Judge Sullivan has
called the "plaintiffs'
numerous substantive challenges" to the safety and efficacy of the
means that the evidence of DoD's on-going cover-up of anthrax vaccine deaths
and illnesses may finally be heard in a court where DoD's
will not be allowed [xxii].
If so, those responsible for the anthrax vaccine program and the criminal
cover-up of its consequences will have to testify under oath and under threat
separate federal lawsuit brought by Iraq War veteran Sgt
Jason Adkins, over being punished for exposing the cover-up of his adverse
reaction to anthrax vaccine at Dover AFB, may also expose law-breaking by Air
Force and senior DoD leaders. In September 2005, a federal
judge denied DoD's motion to dismiss the Adkins
these lawsuits move forward, the troops may learn – once again -- that one
of the greatest threats to military servicemembers is the Pentagon leadership,
both military and civilian. As the 1994 Senate
on secret DoD experimentation noted, this is nothing new. [xxiii]
with all secret or "black" military programs, those responsible do
whatever it takes to keep it secret – including concocting cover stories to
explain deaths.[xxiv] [xxv] [xxvi]
The anthrax vaccine cover stories willfully ignore clear acknowledgements by
the a U.S. Institute
of Medicine report on Gulf War Illness that genetic
risk factors, including race and ethnicity, mean some people are more
likely to become ill from anthrax vaccine than others.[xxvii]
the officially sanctioned mistruths and disinformation about the safety of the
anthrax vaccine results in denying servicemembers medical care and disability
payments to which they are entitled by federal law, the secret experiment –
and those who keep it secret -- violate the law.
or medics – who is really in charge?
Joint Chiefs initially resisted political pressure to allow the anthrax
vaccine program to proceed. But in 1996, under criticism over the Khobar
they placed their careers ahead of the well being of their troops and gave in
to political appointees and medical bureaucrats who knew nothing about war.
then the military leadership has sought to use anthrax vaccine as "an
antidote to accountability" to protect themselves against failures in
force protection, while they simultaneously neglected body armor and
steel-plating for Humvees and trucks that could have saved thousands of deaths
and serious injuries in Iraq.
was nothing less than dereliction of duty, as there is no magic shot to
immunize generals' careers.
the military leadership was silent while both active and retired senior
officers linked to the anthrax vaccine program accepted non-federal income
from private sector entities that benefit from the vaccination program. Would
this be tolerated if an operational officer took money from a manufacturer of
tanks, ships, or aircraft?
contrast to the generals and the Major
(Dr.) Burns clones who do their bidding, in 2001 one brave military
physician, Air Force Captain
John Buck, refused the vaccine, was court-martialed,
convicted, fined $21,000 -- and was then given an honorable
discharge because the Pentagon leadership knew his objections to the vaccine
one general or admiral will finally have the guts to acknowledge what is now
obvious: that the anthrax vaccine experiment, justified by willful mistruths
about the threat, was morally and ethically wrong; that the on-going cover-up
of the deaths and illnesses associated with the anthrax vaccine is criminal
and should be prosecuted under the UCMJ; and,
that the military leaderships' years of silence and
unwillingness to protect the warriors from the Pentagon's medical bureaucrats
has been cowardly.
taking the anthrax vaccine isn't patriotic, or a sign of loyalty to the chain
of command. It is simply aiding and abetting a crime by a Pentagon leadership,
during both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, that has had no respect for
either the law -- or for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who serve
responsible must now be held accountable.
there is full accountability, if you are asked to "volunteer" for
the anthrax vaccine, follow former First Lady Nancy Reagan's advice about
illegal drugs: "Just Say No."
Richardson is a retired USAF Reserve lieutenant colonel, a 1991 Gulf War
veteran, and served as a policy analyst on the Joint Staff (J-5) from
Hack's Target, "Soldiers
Shouldn't be Guinea Pigs", Apr 11, 2005.
Case for Accountability," Washington Post, Apr 21,
Iraq Was a Mistake," Time
Magazine, Apr 17, 2006.
Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld", New York Times, April 23,
The Clinton Administration quickly granted Mr. El-Hibri US citizenship in
response to the controversy over the mandatory anthrax vaccine program that
was played out in at least a dozen Congressional hearings in 1999-2000.
BioPort Got a Shot in the Arm", Insight Magazine, Sep 20, 1999.
Judge Emmet Sullivan decisions:
injunction, Oct 27, 2004.
injunction, Dec 22, 2003.
package insert (2002).
Shot in the Dark?," Newsday, Nov 20, 2005.
Discounts Iraq Arms Threat, Inspector Says Hussein Lacked Means",
Washington Post, Oct 6, 2004.
Finds No Evidence Syria Hid Iraqi Arms",
U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball'," Los Angeles Times, Nov 20,
to Blair over 'mobile labs' - Saddam's trucks were for balloons, not germs,"
Guardian (UK) June 8, 2003
Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War - Administration Pushed Notion of
Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary," Washington Post,
Apr 12, 2006.
Trailers Said to Make Hydrogen, Not Biological Arms," New York
Times, Aug 9, 2003.
GAO reports addressing biological warfare and bioterrorism threat (1999-2002):
Readiness: Safety and Efficacy of the Anthrax Vaccine",
GAO, "Observations on
the Threat of Chemical and Biological Terrorism", GAO/T-NSIAD-00-50, (October
Vaccine: GAO's Survey of Guard and Reserve Pilots and Aircrew",
GAO-02-445 (October 23, 2002).
Security Threats: Information on Domestic U.S. Anthrax Attacks",
GAO-0-323T (Dec. 10, 2002)
Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs", US Government
White Paper, Feb 13, 1998
Spy Speaks Out", CBS News, Apr 21, 2006.
Finds Anthrax Contamination at U.S. Institute", Global Security News,
Apr 19, 2006.
press briefing, Oct 3, 2000.
U.S. Code 980(b)): "The Secretary of Defense may waive the
prohibition in this section with respect to a specific research project to
advance the development of a medical product necessary to the armed forces if
the research project may directly benefit the subject and is carried out in
accordance with all other applicable laws."
Secretary of Defense William Winkenwerder and Col John Grabenstein, DoD
press briefing, Dec 23, 2003.
See also: "Report
on Search for Human Radiation Experiment Records 1944 – 1994",
Department of Defense (June 1997) and "Human
Radiation Experiments: The Department of Energy Roadmap to the Story and
Records", Department of Energy (1995).
Reservist's Death Was Tragic, Unavoidable", DoD American Forces
Press Service, Nov 19, 2003
Update on Southwest Asia Pneumonia Review", DoD press briefing, Sep
seeks emergency authority to resume anthrax vaccinations,"
GovExec.com, Dec 15, 2004.
Sox, et.al., Gulf
War and Health: Volume 1. Depleted Uranium, Pyridostigmine Bromide, Sarin,
Vaccines, Institute of Medicine (IOM) (2000) at
Chapter 7 (Vaccines),
Chiefs Back Anthrax Inoculations," Washington Post, Oct 2, 1996.