18 May 2013

USAF CHEATS on C-123 Freedom of Information Act Request

Today a CD with about 500 mg of test reports and other materials was received in response
to our 1 August 2012 FOIA submitted to the USAF Surgeon General and the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, part of the Air Force Material Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The basic subject was the 2012 USAF Consultatative Letter dealing with post-Vietnam C-123 contamination and veteran exposure.
Requested those ten and a half months ago were public documents, already gathered in one place as per the orders given the AFMC earlier, so finding everything shouldn't have proved difficult.

(Click for Video on this Subject) What does seem to be difficult was letting go of the information, despite the force of law in the FOIA. Over six weeks were required for the AFMC Judge Advocate General attorneys to select what few items they'd approve for release. A single sheet of paper was all that C-123 veterans were permitted to get, and that was simply a note from one office at Wright-Pat to a JAG at Davis-Monthan asking for some copies of old records.

What did the AF keep from the public? They failed to release the following items listed in the FOIA, which itself was earlier approved without exception, other than for irrelevant personal information such as telephone numbers and names of junior personnel:

-marginal notations ==kept secret
-interim and final reports==kept secret
-emails===kept secret
-tapes or other recordings===kept secret
-correspondence==kept secret except for a single page letter===kept secret
-other official documents, many of which we first provided USAFSAM===kept secret

The FOIA response didn't even include the report itself, nor the instructions to the team, nor their work product...nothing at all. The materials were vital to help us challenge the various mistakes the AF made in concluding that our decade flying the toxic, Agent Orange-contaminated C-123 left us somehow unexposed. We veterans believe, especially considering the expert input we've received from other federal agencies confirming our dioxin exposure, that USAFSAM must have had command interference to reach any alternate position.The AF Consultative Letter is cited by the VA in their over-eager rejection of all C-123 veterans claims, and we needed this to better challenge the mistakes in it. But... KEPT SECRET for reasons that must be VERY important at WPAFB and the USAF Surgeon General!

This reeks! What in the heck is going on, with the VA responding in a similar manner stating that, although the VA had conducted a "thorough scientific review" no materials existed within VA regarding that thorough scientific review of the C-123 -- yet the VA has enough materials somewhere to permit them to deny veterans benefits! And now the AF doing much the same, releasing only older papers which generally address Agent Orange issues from the beginning of the Vietnam War until around the late 1990's. Absolutely nothing except a single page addressing the Consultative Letter and how it came to be so anti-veteran! 

Truly, this reeks! Something very unusual is going on to force otherwise responsible Air Force civilians and military personnel to disregard laws like the FOIA! 

HEY, VA and USAF: We veterans have a RIGHT, claimed here under the FOIA regardless of your preference to such hide such things (FOIA be damned, right?? Ain't no stinkin' law gonna bother you, right??) and thus to know the foundation of your schemes to turn us away from the doors of our VA hospitals as we seek Agent Orange medical care!

Anybody remember in some high school civics class long, long ago when we were fed the line about the people being sovereign, not the government? Anybody remember "support and defend the Constitution" in our oaths?

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