The Institute of Medicine
Committee on Health Effects
Associated with Exposures During
The Gulf War.
December 15, 1999
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
“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
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
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:
1. Environmental Manipulation.
2. Chemical Exposure.
3. Radiation Exposure.
4. Endemic Diseases and Parasitic Exposures
5. Investigational and Multiple Use Drugs, and Vaccines