02 March 2013

C-123 Agent Orange Exposure: Confusion? Cover-Up?

Coverup? Simple failure to act? Dereliction of duty? You decide. In any case, decisions about our C-123 veterans' exposure to Agent Orange were made that worked against our health and welfare, and no competent medical officer, legal officer or aircrew member would have made such decisions without full understanding of the impact on veterans already exposed for a decade to the scientifically-confirmed contamination by dioxin on our aircraft.

So...why did official action after official action over the decades combine only to coverup the Agent Orange impact, and nothing worked to get medical information out to the veterans to guard our health? Is this an event handled differently than would be legally possible in a civil setting - without criminal repercussions for the bad actors involved? Do government and military wonks get to cause such harm without legal response? Where are the heroes of American law to set right this evil ?

Here is the history of the vicious affair as we know it. We don't dare start calling it a coverup or we end up on the heap of dismissed and ignored nutters and conspiracy-therory advocates. So, instead let's call it, without question, a tragic affair, with only the C-123 veterans paying the bill. Another thing we know - after two years of struggle, not a single piece of advice, guidance, or information about the C-123 contamination and veterans' exposure has been offered or released by the Veterans Administration.

Are C-123 veterans (individually, not as a population, evidencing Agent Orange presumptive illness) qualified under the law for Agent Orange exposure benefits? Yes. Other than the amount of push-back exerted against C-123 veterans' claims, total effort wasted helping C-123 veterans: Zero. VA Job One: PREVENT ACCESS TO VA MEDICAL CARE.

C-123 Agent Orange History -
USAF takes actions to cover-up?
Yes or No:
•Once 1994 tests showed C-123 “heavily contaminated, USAF also decides not to inform exposed aircrews, meanwhile USAF Museum was forced to decontaminate their C-123 as “a danger to public health”
•In 1996 USAF Office of Environmental Law directed “all information be kept in official channels only” about Agent Orange contamination
•DOD Agent Orange consultant, USAF AFMC officials, general officers & Air Staff recommended in 2009 all C-123s be destroyed before exposed veterans learned of contamination & applied for veterans benefits
•In January 2000 all Air Force surplus C-123s ordered sealed, gathered into HAZMAT “quarantine” storage in specially-selected secure remote area of Davis-Monthan AFB to prevent notice by Arizona EPA & $3.4 billion fine
•USAF Surgeon General concludes in 2012, following C-123 Agent Orange study, better not to notify exposed veterans to “avoid undue distress”
•Following January 2000 sworn testimony in federal court by USAF toxicologist Dr. Ron Porter that C-123s were “a danger to public health,” USAF avoided advising exposed veterans
•USAF informed Walt Disney Films of Agent Orange contaminated C-123s bought for movies in 1999 but avoided also informing exposed veterans
•Entire C-123 Agent Orange airplane fleet ordered destroyed in 2010 as toxic waste, with Hill AFB Public Affairs taking special steps per DOD Agent Orange consultant to avoid notice by public, press, exposed veterans

•Special Note: In 2012, DOD’s Agent Orange Consultant publically libels dioxin-exposed C-123 veterans “trash-haulers, freeloaders, looking for atax-free dollar from a sympathetic congressman."   YES

Friends, imagine if this had been the 20-year track record of a chemical spill at a major US employer. Would CNN's Wolf Blitzer, shown company documents like those above focusing on deliberate steps to prevent notifying exposed employees "to avoid undue distress" consider it a cover-up? Would 60 Minutes have fun with the story? 

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