Friday, June 25, 2010

Cilla McCain: Dying In Their Sleep: The Invisible Plague Attacking U.S. Soldiers

Cilla McCain: Dying In Their Sleep: The Invisible Plague Attacking U.S. Soldiers
Head up to anyone who knows someone with PTSD taking these medications:
"When we first learned of the other West Virginia soldiers who died in their sleep," Stan says. "We thought it must be a reaction to biological warfare, we thought they must have been exposed to something in Iraq and now it is killing them."

"Indeed, if you conduct an internet search with the phrase "soldier found dead" the results are staggering. Narrow it down even further by including the phrase "unexplained" and you will begin to get a glimpse of what some would call an epidemic.

When the White's received Andrew's autopsy report, the official cause was listed as "accidental intoxication of Seroquel, Paxil, and pain medication." Andrew had not committed suicide, nor did he take his medication in a manner it was not prescribed. Death, as it turned out, is a potential side effect of Seroquel. The doctors and the pharmaceutical company knew that, however nobody told Andrew, despite the fact that he was experiencing many of Seroquel's most serious side effects.

In the 11-months Andrew was taking Seroquel, he gained 40 lbs., suffered from tremors, severe constipation and swelling of the mammary glands. Before his death, a VA doctor referred Andrew to an endocrinologist for tests to determine the cause of his symptoms, even though it is clearly stated in Seroquel's literature that all of this can be caused by using the drug.

Andrew passed away before the appointment.

Dr. Fred Baughman, a neurologist and outspoken critic on the use of anti-psychotic drugs has studied the West Virginia soldier deaths and has determined that "sudden cardiac death" is the cause. In a May 2010 press release, Dr. Baughman states:

"All were diagnosed with PTSD. All seemed "normal" when they went to bed. And, all were on Seroquel (an antipsychotic) Paxil (an antidepressant) and Klonopin (a benzodiazepine). They were not comatose and unarousable -- with pulse and respirations or pulse intact, responsive to CPR, surviving transport to a hospital, frequently surviving. These were sudden cardiac deaths."

Between the VA medical doctors and psychiatrists Andrew was going to for help, none tried to assess the effectiveness of these drugs on his PTSD symptoms. They just kept increasing the dosage as if he were a guinea pig in some twisted lab experiment. Whether sudden cardiac death, polypharmacy, or suicide, a prescription tracking system could be a major step toward preventing tragedy.

To that end, in March 2010, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia called on the Surgeons General from the Department of Defense to provide data regarding prescription drugs in the military. This vital information was never received despite repeated requests, so on June 9, 2010, Senator Webb released a public statement calling on the DOD to finally adhere to the request:

Three months ago in an Armed Services hearing, Army Surgeon General Schoomaker downplayed media reports of skyrocketing prescription drug use of those serving in the Army. I am still waiting to see existing data across services and a judgment of these findings.

Webb's statement went on to say:

A reporting requirement has been added to the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act requiring the DOD to keep health records that detail the prescription and administration of psychotropic medications.

There are many possible reasons why an avalanche of prescriptions are befalling our soldiers with no accountability even as those drugs kill. Financial gain by medical personnel of the DOD is one of the most serious allegations being examined and I will continue to follow this matter.

Let us hope the powers that be do not continue to stall and downplay the seriousness of this issue."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

- "The Courage To Leave" Afghanistan by Bob Herbert

sabrina 1's Journal - "The Courage To Leave" by Bob Herbert

Published: June 11, 2010

"There is no good news coming out of the depressing and endless war in Afghanistan. There once was merit to our incursion there, but that was long ago. Now we’re just going through the tragic motions, flailing at this and that, with no real strategy or decent end in sight.

The U.S. doesn’t win wars anymore. We just funnel the stressed and underpaid troops in and out of the combat zones, while all the while showering taxpayer billions on the contractors and giant corporations that view the horrors of war as a heaven-sent bonanza. BP, as we’ve been told repeatedly recently, is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the wartime U.S. military.

Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday but hardly anyone noticed. Far more concern is being expressed for the wildlife threatened by the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico than for the G.I.’s being blown up in the wilds of Afghanistan.

From the comment section one of the best comments ever. It could be a winning platform for anyone running for Congress in the next election:

Phil in the mountains of Kyushu
June 12th, 2010
12:45 am
As you mention several other points today, you invite comprehensive coherence. So here I humbly offer my list to correspond with your key points today:

1) Withdraw from Iraq – and Afghanistan, Okinawa, and Germany.

2) Cut off all military aid to Israel – and Egypt.

3) End the war on drugs.

4) Start jobs program for nationwide high-speed rail, and light-rail transit in hub cities.

5) Start jobs program for retro-fitting public buildings and homes for energy efficiency.

6) Allow no public monies for any standardized testing.

7) Extend Medicare to all.

8) Cut off all Industrial Ag’s subsidies in corn, soy, rice, and cotton.

9) Allow no biz schools at any public institutions of higher ed.

10) Allow no M.F.A. programs at any public institutions of higher ed.

11) Pay no ed administrator any higher than that of lowest-paid teacher.

12) Restore Glass-Steagall

13) Tax the rich as in the Eisenhower era (up to 91%).

14) Have Supreme Court justices wear on their robes the logos of those corporations with which they’re invested.

15) End the Fulbright program’s subservience to the specialization slots of corporate academe, and have it send Americans abroad in some larger coherent strategy for connections among peoples and cultures. (Hint: one such strategy is at .)

Recommend Recommended by 1082 Readers"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

World's Most Peaceful Countries: Global Peace Index (PHOTOS)

World's Most Peaceful Countries: Global Peace Index (PHOTOS): "Prepared by the Sydney, Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, the Global Peace Index (GPI) annually ranks 149 countries based on a range of variables, including corruption, crime rates, military spending and access to primary education.

The United States fared distinctly less well, coming in at 85th on the list, which placed us below both Cuba (72nd) and China (80th).

The GPI also lists the world's most violent country as Iraq, followed by Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Pakistan.

The report also estimates that world peace would save $7 trillion annually, and argues that the money now spent on security could be re-invested to make a given country more prosperous."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Panel commissioned by Barney Frank recommends nearly $1T in defense cuts - Democratic Underground

Panel commissioned by Barney Frank recommends nearly $1T in defense cuts - Democratic Underground:

"Panel commissioned by Barney Frank recommends nearly $1T in defense cuts
By Roxana Tiron - 06/11/10 10:24 AM ET

A panel commissioned by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is recommending nearly $1 trillion in cuts to the Pentagon’s budget over the next 10 years.

The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out options the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.

Measures presented by the task force include significant reductions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which has strong support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates; delaying the procurement of a new mid-air refueling tanker which the Air Force has identified as one of its top acquisition priorities; and reducing the Navy’s fleet to 230 ships instead of the 313 eyed by the service."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flotilla Passengers Huwaida Arraf of Free Gaza Movement and Retired Army Col. Ann Wright Respond to Israeli Claims on Deadly Assault

Flotilla Passengers Huwaida Arraf of Free Gaza Movement and Retired Army Col. Ann Wright Respond to Israeli Claims on Deadly Assault

There is a protest in Gainesville against this attack on Monday June 7th 4--6pm at 34th Street NW and Williston Road. Details here

Huwaida Arraf, chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement, and retired US Col. Ann Wright were on the flotilla when it was attacked. They join us to describe the assault and their subsequent detention in Israeli prison. We also speak to Sawsan Zaher, a staff attorney at Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, who interviewed many of the activists in detention.

From the transcript:

"HUWAIDA ARRAF: Sure, I’ll tell you what I can. Thank you for having me, Amy.

I was on the Challenger ship, which is the American flag vessel, and we were one of six ships that were on the flotilla. At approximately midnight, the Israeli navy started radioing us, asking for information, which we supplied to them, as to who we are, what flag we were flying under, where we came from, where we were going. Then they started issuing threats against us, demanding that we turn around and saying that they would be willing to use all necessary force in order to enforce the blockade on Gaza. To this, we replied that the blockade is illegal, and we are unarmed civilians, we are carrying only humanitarian aid, and therefore they would not be justified in using force against us. And we urged them over and over again not to use force against us as we continue on our way to Gaza.

A few hours later, while it was still dark, approximately 4:00, 4:30 in the morning, we saw their naval vessels quickly approaching just around our vessels. On our ship, we had approximately seventeen people, five of them which were American citizens. We all went outside, because we had planned to try to prevent them from boarding our ship as best as we can just using our bodies. Going outside allowed me to see the beginnings of the attack on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara. We were traveling very close alongside it on its left side. And I saw Zodiacs filled with armed commandos coming up upon the ship, then heard explosions, which I take to be tear—sorry, concussion grenades or sound bombs. And then there were—opening fire. And because we didn’t have any guns or weapons on our ships, fire came from the Israeli commandos. There was also a helicopter overhead. As far as the people on the ship, I could see them at first try to use just water hoses to keep the Israeli soldiers back, but that’s all I was able to see before our ship decided to take as fast as we could.

Although we had initially agreed that we would all stay together and help each other, the captain of the Marmara told us to go on ahead and try to radio out, try to tell the world what was happening, that we were under attack. So we put our boat in full speed and tried to prevent or at least delay them boarding our ship. Unfortunately, we could not get any word out, because our satellite communications systems were jammed. So after about fifteen—ten or fifteen minutes or so, they were able to surround our boat and proceeded to board it.

We tried to put our bodies in the way. We repeated that we’re on an American flag vessel, we are unarmed civilians, don’t board. They had masks and guns, and they proceeded to violently board. They threw concussion grenades onto the boat. They used tasers on people and then, in general, just beat people down that tried to put themselves in the way. We had—we tried to prevent them from getting inside the boat. They broke the glass doors to get access to the wheelhouse. Anyone that stood in the way, they just beat them down. A young Belgian volunteer ended up with a bloody face. Just to give you an example of how they treated us, you know, they grabbed me by the hair and rammed my head into the deck and then were stepping on my head in order to cuff my hands behind my back and then put a sack over my head. And this is the kind of violent treatment that we were subjected to, as Israel says that, yeah, they were as nonviolent as possible and they were the ones under attack.

They immediately went for any kind of media recording equipment, telephones, cameras, that we had and confiscated those, and then proceeded to do their own recording, which I’m presuming is the only recording that’s coming out from their takeover of the ship.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Wright, I wanted to get your response to Vice President Biden. He was on the Charlie Rose show last night, and he was questioning what the big deal was getting this humanitarian aid directly to Gaza. This is the Vice President.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not, but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know—they’re at war with Hamas—has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in. And up to now, Charlie, what’s happened? They’ve said, “Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship, if you divert slightly north, you can unload it, and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.” So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, “I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight—3,000 rockets on my people.”

AMY GOODMAN: That was Vice President Biden last night. Colonel Ann Wright, your response?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, I think our vice president needs to take another look at this thing. The ships were open to inspection beforehand, and I’m quite sure Mossad had their little agents that were all over that place. These groups are humanitarian groups that are bringing in goods that are needed for the people of Gaza. They’ve had plenty of inspections on them.

If you talk about violence, it’s not 3,000 rockets Hamas is putting on Gaza; it’s a twenty-two-day attack that the Israelis did that killed 1,400 people, wounded 5,000, left 50,000 homeless. And here we are a year and four months later, and the Israelis will not let any sort of reconstruction materials in. And then, when reconstruction materials start coming that way, instead of waiting until—if they have a zone that they are trying to protect, let ships come into it and stop them.

But I would say that there are ways that you can stop them without killing people. There are ways you can stop even passenger ship like that ferry boat, and certainly like our little thirty-foot craft. You don’t have to use commandos with—I mean, you can use commandos with excessive force, which they do, but there are other ways to do it, if you want to kind of preserve a sense of civility, humanity, and meeting the international law, quite honestly.

And going outside a boundary, going into international waters, I mean, what they are are pirates. They are pirates. They kidnap people, and they’re stealing stuff. They’ve probably stolen over a million dollars’ worth of cameras, computers, cell phones. I mean, I’m in Istanbul. We just got here early this morning. Some luggage is here. There’s not a thing in it. Everything has been taken. The Israeli military said, "Oh, yes, we have to count this. You know, we have to take it." Well, what they’ve done, they’ve stolen it. And if we have any friends that are in Israel, I hope that they go down to the black market and see where our stuff is, because somebody is making a killing on this thing. "