21. Blood Tests Suggest Reason Behind Gulf War Syndrome
in Top 25 Censored Stories for 1998
Source: INSIGHT Title: “Sickness and Secrecy,”
Date: August 25, 1997,
Author: Paul M. Rodriguez
SSU Censored Researchers: Robin Stovall and Kecia Kaiser
SSU Faculty Evaluator: Andy Merrifield, Ph.D.
Gulf War-related illnesses are rampant among American war veterans. One suggestion as to the cause of the illnesses has surfaced with new blood tests on the most seriously ill victims. A synthetic substance, squalene, banned for use in humans, has been found in blood tests of hundreds of sick Gulf War veterans, some of whom never left U.S. soil. Complicating the issue is the U.S. Department of Defense’s “loss” of over 700,000 service-related immunization records, which might provide a clue as to why squalene is showing up in Gulf War veterans’ blood samples.
Analysis of the blood samples has shown antibody levels of the experimental adjuvant compound known as squalene. This compound, not approved for internal human use other than in highly controlled experiments, has been studied on animals and humans as a promising tool that might help boost the body immune systems against influenza, herpes simplex, and HIV. Only government agencies are involved in human experimental tests using adjuvants (including squalene) yet the government has denied that experimental HIV immunization tests were ever expanded to the general population of sick people or military personnel.
The military has rejected any claim that immunizations administered to Gulf War military personnel prior to leaving for the war contained any adjuvants, but actual immunization records for the period have either been lost or destroyed. This has led to speculation in several circles that the government used military personnel to test experimental immunizations.
Military samples of blood drawn from the vets showed positive reactions for squalene antibodies. Samples of test subjects involved in federal experimental HIV studies also show positive reactions for squalene. It should be noted the medication administered to those involved in this HIV study contained the adjuvant squalene. These test subjects have never served in the military.
A military lab researcher interviewed by Insight was quoted as saying, “We have found soldiers who are not sick that do not have the antibodies, and we found soldiers who never left the United States, but who got shots (administered by the military) who are sick—and they have squalene in their systems. We found people who served overseas in various parts of the desert that are sick who have squalene. And we found people who served in the desert but were civilians who never got the shots, who are not sick and do not have squalene.”
Many people believe that there is probably no single cause for Gulf War Syndrome. Due to the disappearance of the inoculation records, even the most elementary checks cannot occur.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR PAUL M. RODRIGUEZ: “Since publication, none of the so-called mainstream press has followed up on the original story (or subsequent reports) by Insight. This may be due to the controversial nature of the issue and/or obstruction by military and politicos who alternatively have denied, rejected, or brushed aside the story.
“The Insight stories were (and are) based on preliminary and ongoing medical tests by one of the country’s most prestigious laboratories. This laboratory, which plans soon to seek ‘peer’ reviews, has initially confirmed the highly unusual discovery of antibodies to a polymer compound called squalene in the blood of sick Gulf War soldiers who served overseas as well as in the blood of those who never left the United States. In both camps, the sick soldiers received multiple inoculations and immunizations.
“At first, Defense Department and military/veterans’ officials denied they had such a substance, even experimentally. Then slowly over many months it was learned—and officials conceded—that squalene has been, in fact, tested extensively as a promising new ‘adjuvant’ compound in experimental drugs to protect troops against malaria, herpes, and potentially even HIV. However, to this day, the government denies it ever used squalene during the Gulf War period.
“This poses several intriguing questions, not the least of which is: Why does something that’s not supposed to be there show up in sick vets? Bipartisan members of Congress and the General Accounting Office are now looking into the issue. Insight will continue to report what is found, and, of course, what is not found.”