Saturday, January 28, 2012

KBR tries to screw veterans again

AP reports that thousands gathered in downtown St. Louis today for a "welcome-home parade for Iraq War veterans." Of course, some US forces remain in Iraq and many others have been transferred to surrounding areas in the Gulf. Equally true, we should be looking for the state of Texas to follow St. Louis' lead, right?

Texas Governor Rick Perry couldn't shut up about how veterans needed a parade. He seemed to think it was a campaign issue. Now that he's dropped out of the GOP race for presidential nomination, the man Molly Ivins dubbed "Governor Goodhair" has plenty of time to plan such a parade. And that doesn't mean the welcome home that the Texas government already decided to do next November for Veterans Day. Again, Perry couldn't shut up about a parade. He's no longer running for the Republican presidential nomination, he remains governor of Texas. Unless he wants to be a national hypocrite -- on top of being a national joke (see Wade Goodwyn's report for NPR's All Things Considered -- link is text and audio), I'll assume he'll get right on planning that parade.

On the eve of the first parade, Mike Francis (Oregonian) reports that KBR argued in court Friday that they weren't responsible for the damage done to 34 members of the Oregon National Guard who were exposed to the burn pits and now suffer health issues as a result. KBR is attempting to delay the trial which is supposed to begin on June 5th.

Remember, the corporations praise and applaud the troops . . . as long as it doesn't cost them a cent more than empty praise. When it comes to paying for the damage they've done, they turn their backs on US service members as quickly as they do any other American.

And the real surprise isn't KBR's actions, it's that they're still in business today after everything they've done, that the Democratically controlled federal government continues to give them contracts after all those years of railing against KBR and using KBR to attak Dick Cheney.

BurnPits 360 is working on a number of issues facing those exposed to burn pits:

BurnPits360 is serving as a pathway of advocacy to assist veterans, their families, and civilian contractors who have been negatively affected by toxic burn pits. Contractors were assigned the task of properly disposing of any and all trash on military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations in the Middle East. Unfortunately, instead of using incinerators, the contractors disposed of the waste through toxic burn pits and now thousands of veterans have been put at serious risk.
BurnPits360 is inviting anyone that has been affected from exposure to toxic burn pits and environmental hazards to sign up on the registry. We are conducting a voluntary cohort anonymous study with Dr. Szema at Stony Brook University. The study simply requires self-reporting your information on the online registry, providing a proof of military service (DD-214), a signed legal consent form, and additional questionnaires. This study will help to provide vital information to doctors and researchers that will help properly diagnose and treat the vast array of medical complications arising from these exposures. It will provide the Department Of Defense and the Department Of Veteran Affairs with data that will allow them to develop a healthcare model for specialized healthcare specific to toxic exposures and environmental hazards.
The importance of this registry is to serve as a model for all military personnel, civilian contractors, and their families to self-report injuries and deaths from toxic exposure from burn pits and other environmental hazards. It will also assist in proving causation and the correlation between the exposure and the illness, as well as determine all areas of possible exposure. It will provide the VA with the data needed to develop legislative language for the development of a compensation and pension category specific to toxic exposures.
Most importantly, this study is completely anonymous. None of your personal information will be shared at any time. (In such cases where information would ever need to be made public, it would not be done so without the members written consent, whereas the veteran, contractor, and/or their family have the option to decline to participate at that time.)
Should you be interested in participating in the study, please contact Burn Pits 360 via email [] or by telephone [361-816-4015].

In addition, the first ever Burn Pit Symposium takes place next month.
1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deplyoment to Iraq & Afghanistan
February 13, 2012

sponsored by
Office of Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University

Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5
Anthony M. Szema, M.D., Program Chair
Stony Brook
Medical Center

This program is made possible by support from the
Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.


* Register with your credit card online at:

* Download the registration form from:
fax form to (631) 638-1211

For Information Email:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan
Monday, February 13, 2012
Health Sciences Center
Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Program Objective: Upon completion, participants should be able to recognize new-onset of lung disease after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast (Honored Guest, Congressman
Tim Bishop

9:00 - 9:30 Peter Sullivan, J.D., Father of Marine from The Sergeant Thomas Joseph
Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.

9:40 - 10:10 Overview of Exposures in Iraq, Anthony Szema, M.D., (Assistant
Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University)

10:10 - 10:40 Constrictive Bronchiolitis among Soldiers after Deployment, Matt
King, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Meharry Medical College,
Nashville, TN)

10:40 - 11:10 BREAK

11:10 - 11:40 Denver Working Group Recommendations and Spirometry Study in
Iraq/Afghanistan, Richard Meehan, M.D., (Chief of Rheumatology and
Professor of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO)

11:40 a.m. - Microbiological Analyses of Dust from Iraq and Afghanistan, Captain Mark

12:10 p.m. Lyles, D.M.D., Ph. D., (Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Endowed Chair of
Health and Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI)

12:10 - 12:20 Health Care Resource Utilization among Deployed Veterans at the White
River Junction VA, James Geiling, M.D., (Professor and Chief of Medicine,
Dartmouth Medical School, VA White River Junction, VT)

Graduate students Millicent Schmidt and Andrea Harrington (Stony Brook
University) present Posters from Lung Studies Analyzed for Spatial
Resolution of Metals at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National
Synchrotron Light Source

1:20 - 1:40 Epidemiologic Survey Instrument on Exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Joseph Abraham, Sc.D., Ph.D., (U.S. Army Public Health Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

1:40 - 2:10 Overview of the Issue Raised during Roundtable on Pulmonary Issues
and Deployment, Coleen Baird, M.D., M.P.H., (Program Manager
Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Public Health Command)

2:10 - 2: 40 Reactive Oxygen Species from Iraqi Dust, Martin Schoonen, Ph.D.
(Director Sustainability Studies and Professor of Geochemistry, Stony
Brook University)

2:40 - 2:50 BREAK

2:50 - 3:15 Dust Wind Tunnel Studies, Terrence Sobecki, Ph.D. (Chief Environmental
Studies Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research
and Engineering Laboratory, Manchester, NH)

3:15 - 3:45 Toxicologically Relevant Characteristics of Desert Dust and Other
Atmospheric Particulate Matter, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Ph.D. (Research
Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

3:44 - 4:15 In-situ Mineralogy of the Lung and Lymph Nodes, Gregory Meeker, M.S.
(Research Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The school of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brooke designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The following community sites -- plus IVAW, and the ACLU, Jane Fonda and Washington Week -- updated last night and today:

Ann's "5 men, 1 women" also went up today. David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Domestic Workers And Their Children March For Rights" (In These Times):

Early Tuesday morning busses of domestic workers and their children began arriving at the huge grassy mall in front of California's state capitol building. Dozens of Mexican, Filipina and African American moms, kids in tow, poured out onto the steps leading into the legislature's chamber. When the crowd grew to several hundred, they took up their placards, pushed their strollers out in front, and began marching around the building.
Some of the kids had clearly done things like this before. One five-year-old raised her fist in the air as the crowd chanted, calling on members of the state Assembly and Senate to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Another girl, who looked about three, knew the chant by heart: "We are the children, mighty mighty children, fighting for justice and our future." She didn't miss a beat, and as one of the organizers held the bullhorn up to her mouth she did a little militant dance to accompany it.
With balloons and even a couple of clowns, it all seemed very festive. But the happy atmosphere didn't hide a more unpleasant truth. Many of the moms there probably see less of their own children than the youngsters they care for. And in the case of those caring for the aged, sick or disabled, the conditions of that work can seem like something a century ago.
Domestic workers often don't get a break to eat, even working many more than the eight-hour workday considered normal for most workers. Others cook for the families they work for, but can't use the same implements to cook for themselves. If they have to sleep in the homes of clients, they often have to get up during the night several times to perform basic services for them, like taking them to the bathroom, or giving them medicine. And the night is considered a rest period, for which they sometimes don't get paid.
One Filipina caregiver from the East Bay explained that she sleeps in the same bed as her client. "What I'd like would be a bed where I could sleep by myself," she said.

The e-mail address for this site is