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Archive for the ‘Toxic Exposures’ Category

Mystery lung illness affecting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 27, 2012

Due to the large number of contractors contacting us about Lung problems after working in Iraq and Afghanistan we’ll be investigating and posting all information we can find on this topic.  Please forward any information you may have to dbacasualty@yahoo.com.

Channel 4 News from August 2011

US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with an apparently untreatable and incurable lung disease are being dismissed as out of shape because tests appear normal, writes Sarah Jones.

A civilian physician who has diagnosed more than 50 soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis says the life-altering disease is linked to service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr Robert Miller, of Vanderbilt University, says: “This scarring of the small airways in the lungs is common in people who have had bone marrow transplants or lung transplant rejection not people who have passed military fitness exams.

I get shortness of breath and painful burning in my lungs after running just a quarter of a mile, I can’t run any more Dr Sylvia Waters

“What we can say is that this disorder is linked to service in the Middle East. But we haven’t been able to definitively link what the cause is for the black lacy pigment. It’s something that’s inhaled that shouldn’t be there.”

Last month the New England Journal of Medicine published a study by Dr Miller and colleagues which documented the condition of soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis.

However, their analysis doesn’t reveal how common the condition is in troops or positively identify the cause of constrictive bronchiolitis in troops.

‘Black lacy pigmentation’

The diagnoses were made after lung biopsies. At least half the soldiers have left the service with a disability rating making them eligible to receive anywhere between $123 to over $3,100 per month depending on the level of their disability and number of dependents.

In certain instances the Department of Veterans Affairs recognises a link between the disorder and service. But compensation is based on pulmonary function testing (PFT) and soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis have normal PFT results despite having scarring of the airways, black lacy pigment in their lungs and severe exercise limitations.

A further complication is that deployed troops do not receive pre- and post-deployment pulmonary function tests that could help doctors know the extent of lung damage.

Dr Sylvia Waters serves in the US army and is a practicing anaesthetist. She used to run every day but after serving in Iraq she had to give up her passion.

“After a six-month tour in Mosul, Iraq I get shortness of breath and an excruciating burning in my lungs after running just a quarter of a mile. I can’t run any more.”

Army physicians tried routine tests including X-rays, pulmonary function tests and chest CT scans. They tried inhalers and steroid treatments but nothing worked and all tests results kept coming back normal.

At times, Dr Waters says she doubted herself: “I felt like I was going crazy because all these physicians kept telling me everything was coming back negative.

“It was only the fact that I was a physician and I knew other doctors that I even got diagnosed because I don’t know how else I would have done it.”

Please read the entire story here

 

Posted in Afghanistan, Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Burn Pits Claims

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 4, 2012

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Breathing dust, fumes and other and other toxic substances, exposed troops deployed overseas, and those who worked for government contractors abroad and other civilians, to a serious hazards. Some of the chemicals were very toxic carcinogens and are deadly.

At US Senate hearings it was revealed that the toxic carcinogen, Sodium Dichromate (CAS 10588-01-9), was spread across a ruined water-injection facility in Qarmat Ali, Iraq, when the soldiers were there in the spring and summer of 2003. Thousands of individuals may have been exposed.

A simple evaluation may assist in assessing your exposure and disease which includes: a history which characterized the exposure and preexisting medical conditions of each individual exposed; a physical exam that identified any findings potentially related to a chromium exposure, and medical tests including blood, urine, chest X-ray, and a breathing test (called a pulmonary function test).

An exposure to this chemical may produce:

  • Chronic health effects
  • Lung and throat cancer
  • Blisters and deep ulcers
  • Damage to the septum
  • Skin allergy
  • Asthma-like allergy
  • Kidney damage.

As a supporter for the improved health and welfare of individuals against hazardous occupational and environmental exposures, Jon L. Gelman advocates for changes in safety standards and safer use of chemicals. If you have been exposed to burn pit dust, smoke or fumes or Sodium Dichromate, contact Jon Gelman via e-mail or call +1 973-696-7900.

Please see the list of known Burn Pit locations here

Posted in Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

$85 million awarded to 12 Oregon soldiers; KBR guilty of negligence, not fraud

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 2, 2012

Oregon Live  November 2, 1012

A Portland jury found defense contractor KBR Inc. was negligent, but did not commit fraud against a dozen Oregon Army National Guard soldiers who sued the company for its conduct in Iraq nine years ago. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak announced the decision about 3:35 p.m. the U.S. Courthouse in Portland. Each soldier was awarded $850,000 in non-economic damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages.

“It’s a little bit of justice,” said Guard veteran Jason Arnold, moments after the verdict was announced Friday afternoon. Arnold was one of four of the soldier-plaintiffs in the courtroom was the verdict was read.

The verdict should send an important message to those who rely on military troops, he said.

“We’re not disposable,” said another soldier, Aaron St. Clair. “People are not going to make money from our blood.”

KBR’s lead attorney, Geoffrey Harrison, said the company will appeal.

“We will appeal the jury’s incorrect verdict,” he said. “We believe the trial court should have dismissed the case before the trial.”

Harrison said the soldiers’ lawyers produced a medical expert, Dr. Arch Carson, who offered “unsupported, untested medical opinions” that each soldier had suffered invisible, cellular-level injuries as a result of their exposure to hexavalent chromium.

The verdict means the jury did not hear clear and convincing evidence that KBR intended to deceive the soldiers in the way it operated at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, near Basra, Iraq. But they did find that the company failed to meet its obligations in managing the work at the plant.

Friday’s verdict closes the first phase of a web of litigation between National Guard and British troops against KBR Inc., the defense contractor they accuse of knowingly exposing them in 2003 to a carcinogen at Qarmat Ali. KBR has denied the accusations.

In Oregon another set of Oregon soldiers are waiting in the wings for their day in court. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak and the attorneys agreed earlier to hold an initial trial with the first 12 soldiers, in order to keep the proceedings from becoming too unwieldy. A second trial, featuring all or some of the remaining 21 plaintiffs, could begin in federal court in Portland this winter.

Another lawsuit brought by Indiana soldiers against KBR is on hold in federal court in Texas, while an appeals court considers a jurisdictional issue.

The cases stem from the chaotic aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Army Corps of Engineers hired KBR Inc. to run a massive program called Restore Iraqi Oil. The program involved dozens of sites throughout Iraq — sites that neither the Army nor KBR had visited before the invasion. The project was intended to quickly restore the flow of Iraq’s oil, partly to fund the war. The Pentagon remembered the way Saddam Hussein had lit the fields on fire during the first Gulf War, and feared a repeat in 2003.

Qarmat Ali was a compound where water was pumped underground to drive oil to the surface elsewhere. For decades, Iraqis had treated the water with sodium dichromate, an anticorrosion agent that contains hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. (Sodium dichromate is banned in the United States.)

Iraq’s Southern Oil Co. took delivery of sodium dichromate, an orange-yellow crystalline powder, in bags that were stored on site. Soldiers and others testified that the material was loose and drifting around the site, and had contaminated areas even outside the chemical injection building where it was added to the water.

How contaminated was it? Accounts differ. Even one of the plaintiffs in this case said he didn’t notice any soil discoloration. One of the British soldiers whose testimony was prerecorded said it was everywhere. Another Oregon soldier said it settled heavily on the clothing of the soldiers, who unwittingly carried it back to their camps over the border in Kuwait.

Much of KBR’s defense in the first Oregon trial focused on just how unlikely it was that any soldier — who visited the plant at durations from one day to 21 days — could have been exposed to dangerously high levels of sodium dichromate. But one of the most gripping portions of the testimony was when Oregon veteran Larry Roberta described eating a chicken patty that had been coated with the orange crystals, which he said immediately burned in his esophagus, causing him to vomit.

Roberta now is confined to a wheelchair and takes oxygen from a tank in his backpack. He had a history of gastrointestinal issues, but attributes much of his poor health to his time at Qarmat Ali.

Harrison, KBR’s lawyer, said the company “believes in the judicial process and respects the efforts and time of the jurors,” but believes the process that brought the case to conclusion Friday shouldn’t have been allowed to come so far.

“KBR did safe and exceptional work in Iraq under difficult circumstances,” he said in a brief, prepared statement. “We believe the facts and law ultimately will provide vindication.”

Soldier-plaintiff Arnold said the message of the verdict is unmistakable. He said service members are being exploited “to this day.”

Now, he said, “the voice will be out. There will be a lot more scrutiny.”

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Cancer, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Iraq, KBR, Toxic Exposures, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Burn, Baby !, Burn !

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 4, 2012

Remember when rioters in Watts, Calif., began shouting “Burn, Baby! BURN!” in the turmoil of 1965? I’m sure they didn’t have the following future in mind.

That would be the various lawsuits against KBR for operating burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we should all be paying attention to this and not just for the human toll it has taken on soldiers and contractors. It also says something disturbing about the ability of the federal government to exercise proper control over its private contractors.

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  September 4, 2012

An article, “Military Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan: Considerations and Obstacles for Emerging Litigation” by Kate Donovan Kurera, in the Fall 2010 issue of the Pace Environmental Law Review provides the necessary insight.

For those who haven’t been paying attention the last four years the background goes thusly:

Burn pits have been relied on heavily as a waste disposal method at military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of United States military presence in these countries in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Little attention was paid to the pits in Iraq and Afghanistan until Joshua Eller, a computer technician deployed in Iraq, filed suit in 2008 against KBR for negligently exposing thousands of soldiers, former KBR employees, and civilians to unsafe conditions due to “faulty waste disposal systems.” Eller and a group of more than two hundred plaintiffs returning from their tours of duty, attribute chronic illnesses, disease, and even death to exposure to thick black and green toxic burn pit smoke that descended into their living quarters and interfered with military operations.

The plaintiffs assert that they witnessed batteries, plastics, biohazard materials, solvents, asbestos, chemical and medical wastes, items doused with diesel fuel, and even human remains being dumped into open burn pits. Defense Department officials say this waste stream contained items now prohibited pursuant to revised guidelines. Plaintiffs contend that KBR breached these contracts by negligently operating burn pits.

As of August 2010 there were an estimated two hundred and fifty one burns pits operating in Afghanistan and twenty two in Iraq. The most attention has focused on the burn pit operating at Joint Base Balad in Iraq, which was suspected of burning two hundred and forty tons of waste a day at peak operation

While the health impact of the pits is what the media focuses on, Kurera sees even more important legal issues: She writes:  Please read the entire article here

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Burn Pits, Cancer, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, KBR, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Suicides and Mental Trauma of Family Members

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 22, 2012

Civilian Contractors Families have no family support system, no family counseling, plus often the added stress of no medical care and/or disability payments for years on end

Is it a wonder that most DBA Casualty Families are destroyed?

“…we are still discovering, still revealing, fissures and cracks in the family support system.”

Global Research  August 22, 2012

Seven months ago, in December, 2011, Brian Arredondo, age 24, hanged himself in a shed in his mother’s backyard. Brian was the brother of US Marine Corps Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. For seven years Brian had had difficulties dealing with the death of his brother.

Brian, like so many military brothers, sisters, spouses, children and parents, fell into the depths of depression following the death of his brother.

These difficulties in coping with his brother’s death played out in Brian in his depression, dropping out of school, using alcohol and drugs, being in and out of drug rehab facilities, in continuing incidents with police for disorderly conduct and finally in suicide.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Deny, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, PTSD and TBI, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Burn Pit Lung Condition Added to Social Security List of Compassionate Allowances

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 12, 2012

Jon Gelmans Workers Compensation Blog  August 11, 2012

The Social Security Administration has added to its list of compassionate allowances a pulmonary condition that has been identified as arising out of exposures to burn pits fumes and dusts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The pulmonary disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, is also called obliterative bronchiolitis or bronchiolitis obliterates. Medical research has been identified the medical condition as being causally related to exposures to dust and fumes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain quickly. Compassionate Allowances is not a separate program from the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs.”

Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.
Click here to request further information

Posted in Afghanistan, Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mesothelioma, Toxic Exposures, Veterans and Civilian Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 9, 2012

Mesothelioma and Veterans,  Civilian Contractors

Guest Post By Douglas Karr    August 9, 2012

Military members are exposed to plenty of risks that the average person would never have to deal with. In addition to the traditional dangers faced by military personnel, they are also at a higher risk for exposure to harmful substances. This is why military veterans need to be conscious of their risk for developing mesothelioma. This dangerous and rare cancer is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. Most people never come into contact with asbestos. Veterans have more exposure, especially when they go abroad. A veteran needs to keep an eye out for symptoms in order to catch the problem early.

Exposure Through Overseas Deployment
Veterans are at much higher risk of mesothelioma when they are sent overseas. This is especially true in the age of urban warfare. Asbestos can most often be found in older buildings. Though most American buildings have been purged of the substance, this is not the case with many older buildings in places like Iraq. In urban warfare, these older buildings are often destroyed in firefights and air attacks. When that happens, the asbestos can make its way into the air, causing damage for any person who is forced to breathe it in.

The big danger for veterans in these areas is that they often do not know that they’ve been exposed. If you are simply walking through the streets of Iraq, you have no way of knowing what things you are breathing in. This can produce a significant risk. Those individuals who have served their country in Iraq should keep their eye out for the earliest signs of the disease. Though it is rare and most people will not develop mesothelioma, it is worth considering. Even short periods of exposure can be harmful in many instances.

The Military Functions That Bring About Asbestos Exposure
Not all military personnel are at the same level of risk. As veterans can attest, the military employs many different kinds of professionals. Not every person is out fighting on the front lines. Some people are directed with destroying buildings, while others are involved in construction. In the past, people have done milling or mining. These are jobs and functions that bring about much more risk. A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs confirms this heightened level of risk. That report indicates that any individual who has been involved in these special functions should be on the lookout for difficulties.

Understanding What Mesothelioma is All About
A veteran who is concerned about exposure should understand what to look for. It is a debilitating form of cancer that can move quickly. At its core, the cancer works on the chest and respiratory system. It can cause pain in that area and it can cause shortness of breath. People who notice intense amounts of pain or any blood in their mucus should be wary. It is important to catch this cancer at its earliest stages because it has a tendency to take hold in a hurry.

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Military Cutback We Can’t Afford: Fighting Tropical Diseases

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 21, 2012

Leishmaniasis at The Iraq Infections

“In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans”

Barbara Herwaldt, CDC, on Leishmaniasis

Contractors will be even less likely to be diagnosed and/or treated timely or effectively despite the possibility you can transmit this to your family

Peter Hotez & James Kazura at The Atlantic

In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks. Unfortunately, even programs proven to be cost effective are vulnerable to cuts. Medical research for our troops is no exception to this rule — programs such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home.

One important area of research is tropical medicine. During World War II and the Vietnam War, more than one million service members acquired tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, and typhus, and many of these diseases continued to plague our veterans after they returned home. Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats, especially from a disease transmitted by the bite of sand flies known as leishmaniasis, which can cause a disfiguring ulcer in one form, and a serious systemic condition that clinically resembles leukemia in another. In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans.

WRAIR’s leishmaniasis diagnostic laboratory is the only one of its kind in the world, so each time funding is slashed our military loses considerable expertise and capabilities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this devastating disease. For example, in the years prior to the Gulf War, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was officially decommissioned and all research was halted. Only after cases of leishmaniasis among U.S. forces exposed to sand-fly bites in the Iraqi desert were the remaining leishmaniasis experts at WRAIR quickly assembled and tasked with making up for lost time. In 2002, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was again dissolved only to be urgently activated once more with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The interruptions to the WRAIR leishmaniasis program are part of much larger budget cuts across all of WRAIR’s tropical infectious disease research programs. There is no end to the irony of such cutbacks given that they coincide with the activation in 2008 of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), charged with fighting the war on terror across the African continent. Today, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of cases of tropical diseases anywhere in the world. Many of these tropical infections, such as river blindness and African sleeping sickness, have been shown to destabilize communities and may actually promote conflict in the region.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors, Iraq, Leishmaniasis, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Physical Illness and PTSD appear to be linked

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 30, 2011

 “Mental and physical health are integrally linked,” Bromet said in a statement. “It is not always obvious which one is the driver, but, in the end, what matters is that both mental and physical health are recognized and treated with equal care and respect.”
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Kristina Fiore Medpage Today and ABC News  December 29, 2011

Among responders to the World Trade Center disaster, there appears to be a relationship between respiratory problems and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers found. In a statistical model, PTSD mediated the association between exposure at the site and respiratory symptoms among both police officers and other types of responders, Evelyn Bromet, PhD, of Stony Brook University in New York, and colleagues reported online in Psychological Medicine. The results suggest “an indirect association of exposure with respiratory symptoms through PTSD, a finding that mirrors research conducted with Vietnam veterans,” the researchers wrote.

“Mental and physical health are integrally linked,” Bromet said in a statement. “It is not always obvious which one is the driver, but, in the end, what matters is that both mental and physical health are recognized and treated with equal care and respect.”

Respiratory illness and PTSD are both signature health problems among rescue workers who responded to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, but the relationship between the two conditions isn’t clear.

So Bromet and her colleagues assessed 8,508 police officers and 12,333 other types of responders who were evaluated at the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program between July 16, 2002, and Sept. 11, 2008.

They used structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore patterns of association between exposures and other risk factors.

Overall, fewer police than other responders had probable PTSD (5.9% versus 23%) and respiratory symptoms (22.5% versus 28.4%), although pulmonary function was similar between the two groups.

They found that PTSD and respiratory symptoms were moderately correlated for both groups (r=0.28 for police and 0.27 for other responders).

Exposure was more strongly associated with respiratory symptoms (r=0.14 to 0.24), and showed less of an association with probable PTSD (r=0.07 to 0.12). Exposure was only weakly associated with lung function, they reported.

Regarding the SEM models, Bromet and colleagues found that those in which the association between exposure and respiratory problems were mediated in part by PTSD showed a “better absolute fit” in both groups of responders, leading them to conclude that the association between exposure and respiratory symptoms may be mediated through PTSD.

It may be that PTSD, which is associated with immunologic function, can increase pulmonary inflammation, resulting in respiratory abnormalities, or the cognitive processes associated with the condition can increase the perception of respiratory symptoms, they wrote.

On the other hand, chronic respiratory symptoms could serve as reminders of traumatic events and increase PTSD rates, they wrote.

Further longitudinal studies are needed to disentangle the possibilities, they said

Please read the entire article at Medpage

Posted in Burn Pits, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Insurance, Injured Contractors, PTSD and TBI, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Defense Department Inspector General says KBR and the military failed to respond quickly to health risks posed to Oregon soldiers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 28, 2011

The Oregonian   September 28, 2011

The Defense Department and contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root failed to act as quickly as they should have to protect those exposed to a carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water treatment plant in 2003, according to a report Wednesday by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.

The report was hailed as a victory for Oregon soldiers by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who was one of a group of senators who sought the IG’s evaluation, and by Oregon National Guard troops who are among those suing KBR. They accuse the contractor of knowingly exposing them to sodium dichromate, an anticorrosive compound that can cause skin and breathing problems and cancer.

Because KBR “did not fully comply with occupational safety and health standards required” under its contract with the Army, the Inspector General found, “a greater number of Service members and DoD civilian employees were exposed to sodium dichromate, and for longer periods, increasing the potential for chronic health effects.”

The report found that “nearly 1,000 Army soldiers and civilian employees were exposed to the compound in the five months it took from the initial site visit until the military command required personal protective equipment.

Please read more here

Posted in Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Iraq, KBR, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 26, 2011

Today  Injured War Zone Contractors and Scott Bloch filed a

Class Action Lawsuit

against the

Defense Base Act Insurance Companies

and some Employers.

Scott Bloch files complaint for $2 billion against major government contractors like

KBR, Blackwater/Xe, DynCorp, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting

and the global insurance carriers

AIG, CNA, ACE, Zurich,

on behalf of thousands of former employees,

for

unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of

injured employees and their families  

Brink Vs. CNA et al

The Defense Base Act Compensation blog and it’s contributors invite you to

Join our Class Action here

The truth will be exposed

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2011)

Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public.  The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums.

“It is a grave injustice,” Bloch said, “to those who rode alongside American soldiers, including Iraqi and Afghani Nationals, to be case aside without the benefits of the law.  We are supposedly trying to bring them the rule of law.  We are supposedly trying to encourage them in democractic institutions.  We are the ones asking them to believe in justice and individual rights.  This is a travesty to all Americans and those around the world who look to America for an example of humanitarian aid and proper treatment of workers.”

This is a lawsuit for damages in the amount of $2 billion to remedy the injuries and destruction caused to the lives, finances and mental and physical well being of thousands of American families and others whose loved ones were injured while serving America under contracts with the United States.  It seeks an additional unspecified amount to punish the companies who made massive profits while causing this harm to people unlawfully and maliciously and working a fraud on the American public who paid them.
“This abusive and illegal scheme by the defendants has been allowed to go on for too long.  We are talking about loss of life, suicide, loss of homes, marriages, families split up, “ Bloch said, “and the culprits are the large government contractors who should have treated their employees better, and the mega-insurance companies who were paid a hefty sum to make sure the employees were taken care of with uninterrupted benefits in the event of injuries in these war zones.”
This complaint is filed due to actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with others, and individually, to defeat the right of American citizens and foreign nationals to receive their lawful benefits and compensation under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”),  as it adopts the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).
The lawsuit explains that those sued engaged under the RICO statute in an enterprise of fraudulent and or criminal acts to further their scheme to defeat the rights of individuals who have been injured or suffered occupational diseases, and death, while on foreign soil in support of defense activities under the DBA.   These acts were perpetrated repeatedly through bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, using telephones, faxes, and United States mail .
“These are heroes, decorated by America’s Armed Services,” said Bloch.  “Some of the foreign contractors were decorated special forces soldiers from their countries who assisted the United States in combating threats.  The sheer disregard for human dignity and law is reprehensible and deserves punishment.  These families and many others who have been harmed need treatment, need compensation, need redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by these huge companies and insurance carriers for the last 10 years.  They have earned $100 billion per year on the backs of these people, with the blood of these plaintiffs and those whom they represent.”
The was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and other counties.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Dyncorp, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, State Department, Suicide, Toxic Exposures, USAID, Veterans, Wackenut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower, Xe, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Toxic Tour

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 31, 2011

Theresa Campbell Daily Commercial  August 31, 2011

Jill Wilkins’ husband never mentioned the thick, black smoke that smoldered from toxic burn pits in Iraq.

It wasn’t until Kevin was dying from a brain tumor when a doctor questioned the Air Force Reserve nurse about his military service.

“Kevin, when you were over there were you exposed to anything?”

“Oh, yeah, all kinds of stuff,” he replied.

Those words stunned the Eustis wife and mother of two. Jill also learned through research that burn pits were being used in place of incinerators in Iraq and Afghanistan, where garbage, lithium batteries, tires, water bottles, human waste, metal, aluminum, hydraulic fluids, medical supplies and old medicines were doused with jet fuel and would burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Kevin had walked through the smoke daily, without a mask, while working at a clinic at Balad Air Base in Iraq during the summer of 2006. A second tour followed in 2007 in Qatar.

“I’m sure that even as he was exposed to it, in the back of his mind he wasn’t thinking that it could do something to him,” Jill said.

The U.S. government recently acknowledged the harmful effects of burn pits. In a report released last year by the United States Government Accountability Office, “burn pits help base commanders manage waste, but also produces smoke and harmful emissions that military and other health professionals believe may result in acute and chronic health effects to those exposed.”

The burn pit at Balad reportedly burned 250 tons of waste a day, exposing about 25,000 U.S, military personnel and thousands of contractors to the toxins.

It was shut down in 2009, however as of last year, 22 other burn pits were still in operation

Please read the entire story here

Posted in Burn Pits, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 21, 2011

What this article fails to point out is that Acinetobacter baumannii infections were extremely rare in the US prior to the invasion of Iraq.  The Iraq Infections website mapped the spread of this Superbug from the military medical system to community hospitals across our country beginning in 2004. Acinetobacter baumannii spread from Landstuhl and the three main military hospital centers, to the VA hospitals, to the community hospitals.

Severely injured Civilian Contractors were repatriated via the military medical evacuation system then delivered to unsuspecting community hospitals in the US, the UK, Australia, and the many third world countries the TCN’s come from.

The quiet civilian epidemic was allowed to propagate due to the DoD and CDC‘s concerted effort to cover up this disaster that the Military had created themselves.  The DoD promoted such notions as the insurgents were putting Acinetobacter on bombs and the Main Stream Media (here and here) parroted the propaganda.   The CDC claimed they were not “authorized” to talk about it.

The military knew all along that Acinetobacter baumannii was a hospital acquired organism yet promoted the lie that it came from the soil in Iraq.  The original strains of Ab infecting soldiers and contractors were matched to the European (Landstuhl) strains which were already fast becoming a problem there.

See some of the Casualties of Acinetobacter baumanii

Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic

(Notice even this reporter cannot escape the notion that the sand in Iraq was responsible)

A thick layer of dust covers the blazing hot combat fields of Afghanistan and Iraq, getting under soldiers’ helmets, chalking up their fatigues and covering exposed skin. When enemy fire hits, troops often sustain severe burns and open wounds with shredded surrounding skin. Medical aid is generally faster than in any other U.S. wars, thanks to technology and a transport chain designed for high speed. When medics come, there’s an efficient process of lifting wounded troops onto open transport vehicles, prodding them with devices to assess vitals, wrapping their wounds and giving them fluids and blood. But during all that activity, the dust, the many hands and bandages, open wounds and needle punctures give other enemies — microscopic superbugs — an opportunity to attack from the inside.

For troops wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most prolific superbugs has been an almost exclusively hospital-bred strain of bacteria known as “Iraqibacter,” a mutated version of the common acinetobacter baumannii. While military hospitals have waged a somewhat successful internal battle against the bacteria, for civilian hospitals in the U.S. and around the world, these bugs are a formidable foe.

“The data we were seeing shocked us into action,” (is five years the normal reaction time?) said Colonel Dr. Duane Hospenthal, Infectious Diseases Consultant for the U.S. Army Surgeon General. In fall 2008, the military expanded its infection monitoring and control system, also known as GEIS (Global Emerging Infectious Surveillance), to include acinetobacter and other multidrug-resistant organisms. This overhaul followed a spate of high-profile stories in Wired magazine and on the PBS program “Nova” about the prevalence of acinetobacter at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Please read the entire story here

Posted in Acinetobacter, Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Defense, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DU – You Don’t Have To Inhale Or Ingest It For It To Make You Sick

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 26, 2011

A must read for all war zone workers and veterans

Concentrated “Depleted” Uranium Munitions Emit: Alpha + Beta + Gamma rays + Neutrons + X-rays, Can Wreak Havoc in the Human Body While Waiting to be Used in Battle!

From Multiple Horses’ Mouths: More, Much More on Ignored and Suppressed US Government and Military Data that Show the Threat of Harmful Effects of “Consolidated Quantities” of Concentrated “Depleted” Uranium (DU) Munitions

by Elaine A Hunter at Veterans Today

I am quaking in my genes knowing the mayhem men manufacture

Heads up people concerned about the harmful effects of concentrated “depleted” uranium munitions, this is very important. This article is not an easy read. If you or anyone you know and love has been around “consolidated quantities” of concentrated “depleted” uranium (DU) munitions please read it anyway. They are a threat to the health of workers, military and civilian, national and international while they are in fabrication, transit or just sitting around waiting to be used in battle. The concentrated DU in munitions is not inert; it does not suddenly become radioactive only when it is fired in battle.

When I plugged in to what is broadcast on the internet, I was mystified that all the concern was about DU inhaled, ingested or embedded as fragments. Those aspects ARE important, without a doubt, and the most obvious. Yet unless the rest of the story is made known, the rest of the causes of illnesses and deaths of those exposed to concentrated DU will continue to be ignored. The rest of the story is this: it is not necessary for the munitions to be used in combat for them to make a person sick, even sick unto death.

From what I knew from first-hand experiences with uranium as a physics lab assistant, I knew from the get-go (2003 for me) that this would be a hard sell to the anti-DU activists who have been at it for years and anybody else affected by this radioactive quagmire. Yet I knew in my heart and mind that the beta radiation, gamma rays, x-rays and neutrons factors were essential to get the rest of the story. Thus I searched and waited, searched and waited for conclusive evidence from a source far more authoritative than myself. Research is to search and search and search and search again, sometimes for years.

Killer it is….    Please read the entire story at Veterans Today

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Iraq veteran is cancer ‘timebomb’

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 21, 2011

Published on Thursday 21 July 2011 10:30 at Chad UK

AN Iraq War veteran from Skegby has spoken of his fear he may develop cancer as a result of the deadly chemicals he was exposed to while serving in Basra.

Cpl Jon Caunt (35) undertook five tours of Iraq between 2003 and 2007 when he and other members of the RAF Regiment were exposed to a distinctive orange powder at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant.

British troops, who were working alongside US forces and staff from private contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), did not know the orange powder was in fact Sodium Dichromate, which contains a cancer-causing compound.

It is banned in many countries and had been used to stop pipes rusting.

The soldiers were responsible for restoring the plant so Iraqi people could resume oil production in a bid to rebuild their economy after the war – but they had no protection from the chemical and would often sleep on the ground surrounded by it.

Cpl Caunt said: “You have got to understand that we were breathing it in, we were firing in it and it was blown up by the wind – this stuff was everywhere.”

It was only when he was later contacted by Sgt Andy Tosh and underwent a medical examination in April this year that he became aware of the serious threat the exposure had to his health.

He said: “Until I went for the medical, I did not realise how serious it was. When I got the results back, I did not want to look at them.”

Cpl Caunt’s medical revealed he already had the symptoms of several diseases, including respiratory, stomach and skin diseases.

“I have had skin complaints for a while, but I just dismissed it and never really thought anything of it until this came up,” he said.

“I am still fit because I am still serving but I lose my breath a lot more than I used to. There are quite a few of the RAF Regiment lads who are ill and it’s down to the exposure.”

Cpl Caunt fears he could be a ‘cancer time bomb’.

“It could be next year or it could be in 10 years – let’s hope it never happens,” he said. “But it’s a worry I have got to live with I’m afraid

Please read the entire article at Chad UK

Posted in Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, KBR, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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