Thursday, October 23, 2008

Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008

Congress Must Act to Restore Earned Benefits to All Vietnam Veterans – Including “Blue Water” Vets!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 23, 2008
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, July 23, 2008, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) held a press conference to announce the introduction of H.R. 6562, the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008. The bill restores equity to all Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange. “We owe it to our veterans to fulfill the promises made to them as a result of their service,” said Chairman Filner (D-CA). “If, as a result of service, a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange and it has resulted in failing health, this country has a moral obligation to care for each veteran the way we promised we would. And as a country at war, we must prove that we will be there for all of our veterans, no matter when they serve. The courts have turned their backs on our veterans, but I believe this Congress will not allow our veterans to be cheated of their earned benefits.” Jeff Davis, a Navy blue water veteran, spoke at the press conference. Davis served in Vietnam in 1966 on the U.S.S. Fiske and spoke of his military experience. He called for Congress to direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide benefits to the Vietnam veterans that fought in the air and on the sea and are not currently receiving the benefits they have earned.Ron Abrams, Executive Director, National Veterans Legal Services Program, shared the history of disability benefits for blue water veterans. He said, “From 1991 to 2002, the VA granted hundreds, if not thousands of disability claims filed by Navy blue water veterans suffering from one of the many diseases that VA recognizes as related to Agent Orange exposure. These benefits were awarded based on VA rules providing that service in the waters offshore Vietnam qualified the veteran for the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange. In February 2002, VA did an about face and required veterans to have ‘actually served on land within the Republic of Vietnam… to qualify for the presumption of exposure to’ Agent Orange. As a result, all pending and new disability claims filed by Navy blue water veterans for an Agent Orange-related disease were denied unless there was proof that that the veteran actually set foot on Vietnamese soil. In addition, the VA began to sever benefits that had been granted to Navy blue water veterans prior to the 2002 change in VA rules.” Rick Weidman serves as the executive director for policy and government affairs of Vietnam Veterans of America. He spoke of the need for proper government funding for research on this issue. “The current administration is not funding any research on the consequence of Agent Orange exposure – not at the VA, not at the Department of Defense, not at the National Institutes of Health, nor at the Environmental Protection Agency. The only unforgivable sin is willful ignorance which results in indifference to suffering. What is happening now is in fact willful ignorance.” The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 would clarify the laws related to VA benefits provided to Vietnam War veterans suffering from the ravages of Agent Orange exposure. In order to try to gain a better military vantage point, Agent Orange, which we now know is a highly toxic cocktail of herbicide agents, was widely sprayed for defoliation and crop destruction purposes all over the Vietnam War Battlefield, as well as nearby nations. It was also stored on U.S. vessels and used for vegetation clearing purposes around U.S. bases, landing zones and lines of communication. Currently, VA requires Vietnam veterans to prove “foot on land” in order to qualify for the presumptions of service-connection for herbicide-exposure related illnesses afforded under current law. This issue has been the subject of much litigation and on May 8, 2008, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld VA’s overly narrow interpretation. Congress clearly did not intend to exclude these veterans from compensation based on arbitrary geographic line drawing by VA. The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 is intended to clarify the law so that every service member awarded the Vietnam Service medal, or who otherwise deployed to land, sea or air, in the Republic of Vietnam is fully covered by the comprehensive Agent Orange laws Congress passed in 1991. If enacted, this bill will make it easier for VA to process Vietnam War veterans’ claims for service-connected conditions that scientists have conclusively linked to toxic exposures during the Vietnam War and that are identified in current law. Chairman John Hall leads the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, the subcommittee with jurisdiction over these issues. He stated, “With this legislation, Congress will leave no doubt that the ‘Blue Water Navy’ and all combat veterans of Vietnam are intended to be covered and compensated; thus ensuring that these veterans will receive the disability benefits they earned and deserve for exposure to Agent Orange. This is the cost of war. We asked these brave men and women to fight for us and serve their country, and it is a grave injustice that they have had to wait this long for treatment. We must place care of our soldiers among our top priorities. This applies for all past, present, and future conflicts.”“Time is running out for these veterans,” concluded Chairman Filner. “Many are dying from their Agent Orange related diseases, uncompensated for their sacrifice. There is still a chance for America to meet its obligations to these noble veterans. I will work with my Congressional colleagues to provide the earned disability benefits and health care to the thousands of Navy blue water veterans and survivors that earned this care in battle.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

AGENT ORANGE ON NAVY SHIPS

AGENT ORANGE KILLED AND WILL KILL THOUSANDS OF ARE OLD VIETNAM NAVY MEN AND THEY GIVE THEM NO COMPENSATION? WHY? BECAUSE THE GOV. IS RAN BY THE INC. BOTH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND DEMOCRATES, SO WHAT NOW ROLL OVER AND LIVE BY THE DICTATERS OR VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE.
BY DAVID ROSENBURG

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Johnston Island in the central pacific

Johnston Island

Johnston Atoll, atoll, 2.8 sq mi (7.25 sq km), central Pacific, c.700 nautical mi (1,300 km) SW of Honolulu, central Pacific, an uninc. Territory of the United States. It consists of four islands and reefs. The largest island, Johnston Island, c.3,000 ft (910 m) long and c.600 ft (180 m) wide, has been significantly expanded with dredged fill.

During the two decades of the 1950s and the 1960s, the United States Air Force conducted a dozen nuclear-test launchings. Two of these missiles exploded directly over the runway on Johnston Island. Since then, the United States Government has spent four decades gathering the 60,000 cubic yards of radioactive contaminants that the aborted tests sprayed over Johnston Island.



Chemical weapons (Agent Orange and other chemicals) have been stored on Johnston Island since 1971. The weapons stored at Johnston Island include more than 400,000 rockets, projectiles, mines, mortars, and ton containers, containing both nerve and mustard agents. The chemical munitions stockpile stored at Johnston Atoll originated from four locations. The Army leased 41 acres in 1971 to store chemical weapons formerly held in Okinawa, which were transferred to the atoll from Okinawa during Operation Red Hat in 1971. In 1972, the Air Force moved Agent Orange stocks to Johnston Atoll [these stocks were destroyed in 1977]. In November 1990, chemical weapon stocks from the Federal Republic of Germany were transferred to Johnston Atoll for destruction in Operation Steel Box. In 1991, range-recovered chemical munitions were brought from the Solomon Islands. Before destruction operations began in 1990, JACADS stored approximately 6.6% of the total US stockpile.

In 1981, the Army began planning for the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS). Construction began in 1986. It is the world's first full-scale facility built to destroy chemical weapons. The design is based on technologies used for years by the Army and industry. Following completion of construction and facility characterization, JACADS began operational verification testing (OVT) in June 1990. From 1990 until 1993, the Army conducted four planned periods of Operational Verification Testing (OVT), required by Public Law 100-456. OVT was completed in March 1993, having demonstrated that the reverse assembly incineration technology was safe and that JACADS operations met all environmental parameters. The OVT process enabled the Army to gain critical insight into the factors that establish a safe and effective rate of destruction for all munitions and agent types. Only after this critical testing period did the Army proceed with full-scale disposal operations at JACADS. Transition to full-scale operations started in May 1993. The facility actually did not begin full-scale operations until August 1993.

In April 2001 the United States Army Chemical Pacific closes and the clean-up of Johnston Island began.

It is my felling that anyone transporting or working around or on these islands should have no problem filing VA claims for AO caused problems. The above info is evidence to the presence of Agent Orange.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to gain oversight of the island as a wildlife refuge. It is not normal practice for a wildlife refuge to be established over a plutonium landfill and there is still considerable concern that the contaminants absorbed by fish could carry the threat elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILED TO SUPPORT SCIENTIFIC STUDIES

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILED TO SUPPORT SCIENTIFIC STUDIES THAT PROVIDE TIMELY INFORMATION FOR COMPENSATION DECISIONS REGARDING MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO WERE HARMED BY EXPOSURES called “Agent Orange”.
For decades, military personnel who were injured from various exposures have been denied compensation until scientific evidence could support their claims for service-connected disabilities. Although 60,000 military subjects were involved as human subjects in testing programs involving mustard gas and lewisite over 50 years ago, the initiation of a study to review research regarding the long-term health consequences from these military experiments did not occur until 1991, and the results of the study were not published until 1993. Similarly, the use of Agent Orange and other herbicides in Vietnam has stimulated concern and controversy ever since the United States began the military herbicide program in 1961, but a comprehensive review and evaluation of available scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of herbicides and the contaminant dioxin was not conducted until it was authorized by Congress in 1991. The Department of Veterans Affairs has recently announced new rules for awarding compensation for more Agent Orange-related diseases, three decades after military personnel were exposed to the defoliant in Vietnam I wish
I could explain the lack of the VA judicators help but they are not to blame they have what is none as a board that votes on the new laws under title 38 of the military code and I think Nicholson did a great job as he did many things to help veterans, but from some people the hate is
Blocking the right way to tackle the problem, it just belongs in the “Court system in from of the appeals board if any thing is to become of the law title 38 which is really the law of the military way of justice. I know there are many that disagree with me so post a comment and tell me why because I will lesson think you editor of the “Blue Water Agent Orange” blog posted on a daily bases. Dated July 31,2007.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILED TO SUPPORT SCIENTIFIC STUDIES

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILED TO SUPPORT SCIENTIFIC STUDIES THAT PROVIDE TIMELY INFORMATION FOR COMPENSATION DECISIONS REGARDING MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO WERE HARMED BY EXPOSURES called “Agent Orange”.
For decades, military personnel who were injured from various exposures have been denied compensation until scientific evidence could support their claims for service-connected disabilities. Although 60,000 military subjects were involved as human subjects in testing programs involving mustard gas and lewisite over 50 years ago, the initiation of a study to review research regarding the long-term health consequences from these military experiments did not occur until 1991, and the results of the study were not published until 1993. Similarly, the use of Agent Orange and other herbicides in Vietnam has stimulated concern and controversy ever since the United States began the military herbicide program in 1961, but a comprehensive review and evaluation of available scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of herbicides and the contaminant dioxin was not conducted until it was authorized by Congress in 1991. The Department of Veterans Affairs has recently announced new rules for awarding compensation for more Agent Orange-related diseases, three decades after military personnel were exposed to the defoliant in Vietnam I wish
I could explain the lack of the VA judicators help but they are not to blame they have what is none as a board that votes on the new laws under title 38 of the military code and I think Nicholson did a great job as he did many things to help veterans, but from some people the hate is
Blocking the right way to tackle the problem, it just belongs in the “Court system in from of the appeals board if any thing is to become of the law title 38 which is really the law of the military way of justice. I know there are many that disagree with me so post a comment and tell me why because I will lesson think you editor of the “Blue Water Agent Orange” blog posted on a daily bases. Dated July 31,2007.

VA AGENT ORANGE CLAIMS UPDATE

VA AGENT ORANGE CLAIMS UPDATE 01: The American Legion and the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) have been working closely together over the last 15 years to make sure that the VA pays all of the benefits that Vietnam veterans and their survivors deserve as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Recently, there have been two important developments. This article provides advice about the steps you should take if you represent yourself, a veteran, or a survivor who may be affected:

1.) CLL Claims: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the latest disease the VA added to the list of diseases presumptively service connected due to Agent Orange. The VA issued the regulation adding CLL on 16 OCT 03. CLL is a malignancy (cancer) of the white blood that results from an acquired injury to the DNA of a single cell, a lymphocyte, in the bone marrow. This injury is not present at birth.
As a result of the Nehmer lawsuit [Nehmer v. U.S. Veterans Administration, 32 F. Supp. 2d 1175 (N.D. Cal. 1999)] the VA is normally required to pay benefits for an Agent Orange-related disease retroactive to the date the VA received the first claim the veteran or survivor filed based on the disease with the exception of claims that were finally denied before 25 SEP 85. VA took the position that when it was service connected CLL the Nehmer rules did not apply to CLL claims. As a result, the VA assigned an effective date no earlier than 16 OCT 03 whenever the VA granted a disability or DIC claim based on CLL even if the first CLL claim was filed before 16 OCT 03.

The Nehmer lawsuit is a class action brought by National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) on behalf of Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and their survivors. NVLSP appealed the VA's decision concerning CLL, and on 1 DEC 05, the federal court that oversees the Nehmer lawsuit agreed with NVLSP that the Nehmer rules do apply to CLL claims. The court's December 1st ruling requires the VA to pay disability and DIC benefits retroactive to the date of claim to all veterans or survivors who filed a CLL claim before 16 OCT 05. The VA recently appealed the December 1st decision to the court of appeals. If you know of a Vietnam veteran or survivor who filed a CLL claim before 16 OCT 03, you should contact NVLSP attorney Rick Spataro at (202) 265-8305, ext. # 149 or rick_spataro@nvlsp.org. NVLSP is currently trying to get the court to require the VA to pay the retroactive benefits owed under the December 1st order as soon as possible, even though the VA has appealed the decision. Rick is collecting a list of all CLL claimants who deserve an earlier effective date under the December 1st order to present to the court.

2.) Blue Water Disability/DIC claims: From 1991 to 2002, the VA took the position that Navy veterans who were awarded the Vietnam Service Medal as a result of service in the waters offshore Vietnam (blue water vets) were entitled to the same presumption of exposure to Agent Orange as veterans who set foot on land in Vietnam. As a result, many Navy veterans who served offshore and their survivors were granted disability or DIC benefits based on an Agent Orange-related disease. However, in FEB 02 the VA amended VA Manual M21-1 to limit the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to only those veterans who actually set foot on the land mass of Vietnam. As a result of the policy change the VA has been denying claims filed by blue water vets for Agent Orange related diseases since FEB 02. In addition, the VA has taken action to sever awards of service connection in some of the cases that were granted prior to February 2002.

NVLSP has appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims many of the BVA decisions denying benefits to blue water veterans. NVLSP has argued in these cases that the VA's change of position in 2002 violates the Agent Orange Act of 1991. On 10 JAN 06, a panel of the Court heard argument in one of NVLSP's appeals and a decision on the legality of the VA's set-foot-on-land requirement is expected some time this year. In any case in which you are representing yourself or another blue water Navy veteran/survivor on a claim based on an Agent Orange-related disease, you should keep the claim alive by filing a timely Notice of Disagreement (NOD) after the VA denial, and a timely substantive appeal after the Statement of the Case (SOC). If the BVA denies the claim, contact NVLSP attorney Rick Spataro so that a timely appeal can be filed with the Veterans Court. This is a prudent move because if NVLSP wins its appeal, the VA will be required to follow the Veteran Court's decision on the pending claim. On the other hand, if the VA's denial of the claim becomes final, there is no guarantee that the VA will consider the prior final denial to be a clear and unmistakable error even if NVLSP were to win its appeal.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I was asked to post this poem so I did thank you

Don't Think
(translated by Er. A. Kremer)

Don't think the world is a tavern, createdto blast one's way forward by punching and clawingright up to the bar stools, and gorge there and guzzlewhile those in the rear look with eyes that grow glassy,half-swooning, and gulp their saliva and draw intheir stomachs that twist with the cramps of the hungry.O don't think the world is a tavern.Don't think the world is a Market, createdfor strong folk to trade with the weak and exhausted,to purchase the virtue of girls who are needy,to bargain the milk from the breasts of poor women,from workmen their marrow, from children the pale smile- the guest that appears on their faces so seldom.O don't think the world is a Market.Don't think the world is a jungle, createdfor wolves and for foxes, for theft and for swindle,the heavens- a drape, so that God will not notice,a fog - so that none can behold what your hands are,a wind - so that every wild outcry is smothered,an earth - that will soak up the blood of the slaughtered.O don't think the world is a jungle.The world is no tavern, no Market, no jungle!Here everything's weighed, all is carefully measured!Not one drop of blood, not one tear unrecorded;no spark that's snuffed out in an eye is glossed over. From teardrops come rivers; from rivers come oceans;from oceans - a tempest; from sparks - a great thunder.O don't think there's no Court of Justice! . . .




Meyn Nisht!