10 July 2014

VA Misled Senate on C-123 Agent Orange Exposure – Hid Behind Dow & Monsanto Money

VA deceived the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, C-123 veterans and the American public.
That's about all of us. With just a little word-smithing, what a twisted account VA provided when asked by Senator Burr (Ranking Member Senate Veterans Affairs) about C-123 Agent Orange exposures. It took VA only a few well-chosen words to complete their deception

In April 2013 Senator Burr wrote Secretary Shinseki about growing concerns over VA mistreatment of C-123 veterans' Agent Orange exposure claims, none of which were permitted to be approved. The  VA Secretary responded with a cover letter and a detailed "Fact Sheet" with assurances that all was being done correctly. The Secretary further countered Senator Burrs questions about a report submitted by "Concerned Scientists and Physicians" which detailed scientific justifications for the veterans claims with a VA-produced "Fact Sheet."

The "Fact Sheet" stressed how "several other scientists, independently and without solicitation, contacted VA to refute the aforementioned opinions." Note the words: independently, and without solicitation.

There's the news. There's the deception.

Because, despite the Secretary's description of them, the "other scientists, independently and without solicitation" were all but that. From documents released by VA in June 2014 at the Institute of Medicine, two of the "independent" scientists were sponsored by Dow and Monsanto and the other, consultants, had been under contract by VA for $300,000 per year, hardly independent nor without solicitation

The VA also reversed their descriptions of the scientists: over 20 physicians and scientists spoke out against VA's C-123 position as part of "Concerned Scientists and Physicians", which VA described to Senator Burr as "some scientists."

Then, VA also reversed the facts again, taking the three scientists (all paid for their historical opposition) who disagreed with the veterans and describing them as "several." Yes, perhaps three could be called several, but that's a stretch...a deceptive one.

I don't for a second believe General Shinseki himself created this deception last year! Of course not! But...staffers did. Staffers in VA with an agenda of preventing C-123 claims. Staffers with an agenda of insuring contractors are well-paid. VA staffers who know that they know best...preventing exposure claims! Staffers who broke faith with their boss and their veterans as well

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