Victor Silvester’s Testimony to the IOM

The Institute of Medicine

Committee on Health Effects

Associated with Exposures During

The Gulf War.

Public Meeting

December 15, 1999

Testimony of

Victor Silvester

President

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Association.

Page 2. Silvester.

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, Fellow Veterans, Ladies and

Gentlemen. My name is Victor Silvester, President of the Operation

Desert Shield / Desert Storm Association, which was formed in

November 1990, responding to the directives of our young men and

women who were about to enter into harms way in the defense of

Freedom and Human Rights. I would like to take a moment to express

our appreciation for this opportunity to express our views to this

committee, and we thank you for that opportunity.

Joining me today, is Georgina Brown, Co-Chair of the Operation Desert

Shield / Desert Storm Association, and wife of a Gulf War veteran

undergoing the Gulf War Demonstration Treatment Project serving

veterans in Kentucky and Ohio, and we are fortunate today to also

have the Co-principal investigator, Doctor Irvine G. MCQuarrie in our

audience today; Angie Lee Finchley, Owner and Director of Intertrac

Research, a professional Internet research program who has not only

been retained for a number of years, on a commercial basis by our

organization, but who has also donated many, many hours of research

to our program, and to the Gulf War veteran community overall. Also

joining me today is Debbie Moodie, the ODSSA North East Regional

Coordinator, and an RN, and one of our program’s primary

veteran/medical coordinators. Both of these young Ladies will be

available for consultation and comment at the completion of my

testimony, and I of course, will utilize their expertise if so needed

during my presentation.

It is our understanding that the purpose of this project and this

meeting, is to conduct a review of the scientific and medical

literature regarding health effects associated with the exposures

that are similar to those experienced in the Gulf War.

Any review of scientific and medical literature into this broad-based

issue must begin with the first involvement of U.S. military forces

and its utilization and concerns of weapons of mass destruction, the

Civil War and the issuance of General Order 100, by the U.S. War

Department on April 24, 1863. (Overhead ).

This official action, I must point out (in our opinion), is the

foundation of the Department of Defense Strategic, the Military

Medical Community, and Department of Veterans Affairs, scientific

base of official information and parameters pertaining to toxic

exposures of military personnel. It belay’s the Department of

Defense, the Military Medical Community, and the Department of

Veteran Affairs, documented claims of limited knowledge on the

overall subject, and confirms over 130 years of U.S. military

involvement, both tactical and medical, in these issues.

This distinguished body is gathered here today as part of the ongoing

review of the Scientific and Medical literature associated with

exposures similar to those experienced in the Gulf War. Ladies and

Gentlemen, Members of the Committee, these exposures happen everyday

in varying degrees, throughout the world, there is nothing new about

the majority of them. There is nothing new about the degree of

intentional ignorance of potential toxic exposures that the military

leadership of this nation has displayed on behalf of tactical

advantage, and mission accomplishment, during a time of conflict.

They have no concern in regards to health effects, long-term or

otherwise, they have only the concern of winning that particular battle.

Modern Era utilization of toxic materials for the purpose of warfare,

for information purposes, can be dated back to the venue of World War

I, and the year of 1914. The Medical and Scientific Community

hands-on experiences with these materials also date back to this

time-frame. This committee knows it, the medical community knows it,

the veterans of Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm and their

families know it, and slowly but surely, the American people are

beginning to know it as well. The modern age of communication allowed

the winds of war to flow deep into the heart of the home-front, the

marvels of visual images also brought the realities of the falsehoods

and fabrications of this noble conflict. The asset’s of

communication were available to the Servants of War and their

families, as well as to the Master’s of War and their propaganda machines.

Technology that once belonged only to the secrecy of the Pentagon,

and to the control of it military and medical masters, was now

common-place in the working environment of the common man, and to the

families of those who now served in harm’s way. Propaganda and

its politics was now seen through the eyes of available technology,

prior and current hands-on working knowledge, not through the rose

colored glasses of ignorance.

So what did we observe during the drive for victory, a drive by the

best trained, highest educated, best equipped, and the highest level

of physically fit, service members in the history of the United

States Armed Forces. Did we see our loved ones suffering from being

unable to shower for days on end, no, we saw the projected efficiency

of the military machine as the masters of war wanted us to. Did we

hear the story’s and see the pictures sent home from the field?

Yes we did. Did we hear the story’s of our loved ones going for

days without hot food? Yes we did. Did the masters of war project

that same image to those on the home-front? No.. they did not. Did

the details of activities relayed to us from our loved ones, within

hours and day’s of the action, by the modern marvels of

communication, correspond with the information that the masters of

war projected in the “Official Reports” to the American

People? No they did not.

So now, as we approach the Tenth Anniversary of the Persian Gulf

conflict, where do we stand? We stand with the issue that the

credibility of the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran

Affairs, and anything involved with their activities, is accepted

with reluctance and suspicion. This is a major issue that the

scientific and medical communities dealing with this issue face on a

daily basis, and is an issue that this honorable body will face in

the near future.

Where did we stand Nine Years ago? We stood in the confusion of Fear.

We stood in the tears of frustration, frustration of facing family

members we no longer knew, Teddy Bears who had gone to serve their

country, who were now Grizzly Bears who were demanding the impossible

from their families. However, a wiseman, who had fought the

frustrations of Agent Orange, gave a word of wisdom to those who

would listen.

“Document all you can of these complaints because the scientific

and medical worlds, along with the DoD and VA, will decide you fate,

and they only work with statistics.”

Taking that glimmer of wisdom to heart, we began to document each

call, the extent of those calls are available to those who wish to

find them, in the documented testimony of the Oversight Committee

Hearings, Chaired by the Honorable Lane Evans and Joseph Kennedy in

June, 1993.

Eight Years ago, as a result of that documentation, based on the

calls that we were receiving, the symptomology, the medical research

materials available to us through medical school and college

libraries, along with the fast developing Internet environment, the

leadership of the Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm Association

and its family of researchers, determined a mordality with five areas

of concern.

Five areas of concern that we would fight not to allow any portion

of, to receive any level of lesser concern or focus on. We did not

wish a veteran to suffer because nobody bothered to check a symptom,

not bothering to check because they were focused on a single

causation, as had been known to happen within the history of the

veteran community, and their treatment.

Those Five areas of concern, areas that were determined in October

1991, and still stand true as areas of concern today, were and are:

(Overhead )

1. Environmental Manipulation.

2. Chemical Exposure.

3. Radiation Exposure.

4. Endemic Diseases and Parasitic Exposures

5. Investigational and Multiple Use Drugs, and Vaccines