Autoimmune Disease and Military Service: Friendly Fire?

The ProfessorThis blog originally ran on May 19, 2012. We’ve rerun it in the past to highlight the average of 22 veterans of who commit suicide every day. We at TMR feel that this country’s treatment of military personnel and veterans is unconscionable. As a country, we are cavalier at best about the needs and human rights of those charged with protecting it. I am personally committed to doing what we can to change this statistic. Someday I would like to write a book detailing exactly what we have done. If you have information you would like to share with me, leave me your email address in a comment, and I will not publish the comment. 

We’re rerunning this blog today in honor of the many veterans who have sacrificed their lives and health in service to our country, either voluntarily or involuntarily. 

(Today is National Armed Forces Day. This blog is dedicated to all the service men and women who risk their lives to protect this country.)

Having witnessed the war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed during World War II, nations of the world explicitly embraced human rights in the United Nations Charter. . . . In the aftermath of World War II, the world embraced the human rights principles of the Nuremberg Code, a set of ethical principles that forbids experimentation on human subjects without free and informed consent.  –  Mary Holland, J.D.Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children

This country has recognized since the end of World War II that human beings have an inalienable right to bodily integrity. It sounds perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it? But would it surprise you to know that at least one huge sector of United States citizens is excluded from these principles written into the International Bill of Rights? And would it further surprise you to know that this sector is the very group charged with safeguarding the liberties of this “free country” – the American military?

Members of the armed forces may be ordered to take medicines or receive vaccines against their will. Refusal comes with a price: loss of pay, incarceration, or dishonorable discharge. For a career serviceman or woman, that’s a bitter pill to swallow indeed. If a credible military threat or Presidential Executive Order exists, the military may waive informed consent, meaning the doctors in charge don’t even have to tell service people what they’re doing to them. And if something goes wrong as a result of this coerced – and uninformed – treatment, service people may not sue the federal government. All this means that our nation’s armed forces “serve” in the capacity of unknowing, uncompensated, and powerless research subjects, which amounts to torture of our own citizens.

December 1994, the United States Senate produced a report, “Is Military Research Hazardous to a Veteran’s Health?”

This report outlined the unethical use of servicemen and women as test subjects. The report revealed that the Pentagon had quietly used soldiers in clinical trials and did not record the resulting information in their medical records, preventing the soldiers from receiving appropriate follow-up care. Many were simply left to die. – Captain Richard Rovet, USAF (Ret.), Vaccine Epidemic

After the first Gulf War, many veterans (approximately one in four) came home complaining of unusual symptoms. At first they were told it was “all in their heads.” But when you’ve got enough people complaining of the same illness, who were all in the same place at the same time, pretty soon someone has to admit that it can’t all be psychosomatic. Thus, eventually, Gulf War syndrome (or illness) became a recognized condition. Figuring out where it came from, and/or getting real information from the military complex was another challenge altogether though. Symptoms of GWS include chronic fatigue, severe join pain, neurological problems, unexplained rashes and sores, etc. Many of our savvy readers will probably recognize those symptoms as indicative of autoimmune illness. Our savvy readers may also know that vaccines are often associated with the creation and/or worsening of a number of autoimmune illnesses.

The best theory I’ve seen on the subject says that injection directly into the bloodstream of adjuvants, designed to stimulate an immune response, bypasses the usual first line of defense for an infectious agent: the gut. The body recognizes the vaccine as “foreign” and develops antibodies to attack it. But the vaccine sometimes has ingredients that are common in the human body, and developing antibodies to attack those ingredients turns out to be a bad thing. The adjuvant squalene is one such ingredient. A healthy human body contains squalene in the nervous system and the brain. So, after an injection containing squalene, the subject may develop antibodies that attack the subject’s own joints. And there you have it: autoimmune disease.

So on the surface my first reaction is to say, “Wow. Sounds like vaccine injury to me.” And, lo and behold, Russell Blaylock claims that armed forces were given approximately 17 vaccines in a short period of time during the Gulf War. That number seems to have included seven injections of anthrax vaccine and another series of botulinum toxoid that, oddly, don’t appear in vaccination records or appear as merely “Vac A” or “Vac B.” Now, Paul Offit notwithstanding, that has to strike people as dangerous, unless of course you believe that vaccines are always safe. (If you do believe that, then I’d like to hear your explanation for the existence of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and the over two (Update: now three) billion dollars it’s paid to victims of debilitating or fatal vaccine injuries. I’m sure it would be very amusing.) And – as we know from LuvBug’s blog dated April 27, 2012 – even the federal government classifies vaccines as “unavoidably unsafe.” (You might find this story of one soldier with autoimmune disease who got the vaccines, but did not go to the Gulf, interesting.)

According to Blaylock, adjuvants stimulate the immune system. The adjuvants remain in the body a long time, and if vaccines are repeated within a short period of time, the immune system doesn’t get a chance to calm down. It ends up producing large amounts of free radicals, highly reactive particles that pretty much destroy everything in their path. That’s okay if it stays localized, but if there are too many for too long, they spill over, sometimes flooding the whole body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by high levels of free radicals throughout the body.

Garth Nicholson has discovered that a large percentage of veterans suffering from GWS are infected with mycoplasmaa known contaminant in some vaccines. Their spouses and children are often infected as well, with the spouse having symptoms of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, and the child often having autism. So not only does the service man or woman get sick, he or she stands a good chance of passing that illness on to his or her loved ones as well. Mycoplasma has been specifically linked to another autoimmune disease: approximately 85% of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) patients have systemic mycoplasma infection.


representation of the chemical structure of squalene

The official story is that the anthrax vaccine has been “cleared” of any wrongdoing. The spin machine seems to be trying to pin the cause of Gulf War Syndrome on the Sarin gas that was used or the chemical used to neutralize the Sarin gas. For various reasons neither seems plausible, but that won’t stop someone from making the claim. And what if there isn’t one cause, but instead, what Blaylock calls a “synergistic toxicity” – two or more toxins in combination having an additive effect? Maybe the anthrax vaccines don’t harm many unless they happen to come in contact with Sarin gas or botulinum toxoid. The search for one cause will inevitably miss these combination causes, and maybe that’s what the folks in charge want: obfuscation. (Update: a recent study identified a genetic difference between those who got sick and those who didn’t, predisposing those who got sick to damage from anti-nerve agent pills. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t also predisposed to damage from other pharmaceutical agents.)

Despite the obvious problems with anthrax vaccination, the military made anthrax vaccination mandatory in the late 1990s, and once again many service people got ill, with much of the illness resembling Gulf War syndrome. Captain Richard Rovet watched as flyer after flyer at Dover Air Force Base came down with autoimmune illnesses post-vaccination. They were specifically told, contrary to his own observations, that autoimmune illness was not on the rise at Dover and, though the military possessed an experimental anthrax vaccine containing squalene as an adjuvant, that none of it was sent to Dover. But that was a flat-out lie. In 2000, the FDA tested lots of anthrax vaccine at Dover and found that they contained squalene in varying dosages, just as you would expect if someone were performing a study on dose range.

The first Gulf War introduced me to a term that I had never heard before: “friendly fire.” It’s the inadvertent firing on one’s own troops while trying to engage the enemy. I always thought it was a crazy term – fire just isn’t “friendly,” no matter how you try to spin it. However, the term does make a distinction that I appreciate at the moment. Friendly fire is the inadvertent destruction of your ally. The creation of autoimmune illnesses in our armed forces is not friendly fire. What was done to these people was done deliberately, and with callous disregard for their rights as human beings. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it completely unacceptable – not to mention despicable – that those who are charged with the duty of keeping this country safe, are being used as human guinea pigs. Any understanding of human rights doctrine has to consider this situation an outrage.

~ Professor

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29 Responses to Autoimmune Disease and Military Service: Friendly Fire?

  1. James R says:

    USN Hospital Corpsman 1990-92. Upon completion of bootcamp and receiving all immunizations, went on to C-school and at near completion of training, developed Type1 IDDM, complete shut down of pancreas. Discharged medically.
    In the following years, continued to develop severe Vitaligo spreading to 25% of my body, severe Plaque Psoriasis, scalp, face, ears, back, and other parts of my body, Irritable bowel, which progressed into severe Ulcerative Colitis/Proctitis, then on to develop Psoriatic Arthritis & Enthesisitis . Impact on my nervous system from these diseases led to Fibromyalgia and CFS, with related anxiety and depression.
    All of which requires so many meds to stay alive including Insulin pump & CGS system along with weekly injections of TNF blocker / biologics , prednisone, methotrexate etc with past infusions of Remicade for severe episodes. All of which lends me to being dangerously prone to bacterial, viral, fungal and yeast infections with complications..

    Treatment continual care , followups and testing Endocrinologist, Gastroenterologist, Rheumatologist, PCP, Dermatologist, Psychologist/Counseling,

    What started this internal fire of self-destruction , financial duress and negative affects on my livelihood, friends and family?

    All I can attribute it to is the massive amounts of immunizations which put my immune system in overdrive at that point in my life, and has been downhill ever since.

    Note that during discharge, there were 2 patients in the hospital with me with direct consequences the hospital attributed DIRECTLY to their vaccinations.. one with severe swelling in his body and the other with significant loss of eyesight. These servicemen were also being kicked to the curb awaiting medical discharge along with me..

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      What a horrifying list. I wish I could say that I haven’t heard such lists in the past, but it’s all too common. :-/

  2. AK says:

    I found your site while searching for answers – I have not one, but four autoimmune diseases after serving for 10 years, with 5 deployments mixed in there. I was medically retired, I consider myself lucky for that. I recently saw a memo published by the U.S. Army that was shared on facebook that stated there were strains of the Anthrax vaccine that were confirmed to cause Autoimmune issues…
    I need to try to find a way to send that to you.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Do you have the memo? I will email you… I would be VERY interested in reading it. In the meantime, you might want to read the new book Crooked by Forest Maready about the roots of and possible way to heal autoimmunity. I’ll be doing a review of it very soon.

  3. Reason Clark says:

    I need help served in Navy from 95-99 we were in the Gulf a few times over 6 months each serving overseas you get a ton of vaccines and then we were given anthrax. I received 5 of the shot shortly after second shot a third of the boat was diagnosed with gastrointestinal whatever that is. Since then I would have to take pesto or I modicum weekly through the rest of service it was just an inconvenience. Once getting out I went to college and would still get diarrhea weekly just used pesto and it wasn’t that bad. Well first year of law school I had a perforated appendix and a month later spent 6 weeks on I’VE feeding tube, with a fistula eventually it healed after graduating and taking the bar still problem with stomach pain and diarrhea the whole economy fell apart so I started the process to go back in the military this time army 30 was to old for navy officers about 10 days before going to OCS I was diagnosed with chrons said my digestive system looked like hamburger, military said they don’t take people with Chrons called the VA couldn’t even file a claim because I hadn’t been diagnosed with Chrons in the Navy. 3 years later diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis horrible pain in hips lower back but we had just had our first child and I stayed home with him and all the time Dr’s oh will make you better. After our second child two years later diagnosed with fibromyalgia, RA, depression, anxiety and in awfull pain also GERD. Wife left me in November on thanks giving 4 days later was told I needed surgery and had surgery to remove all the scar tissue in my intestines, wife then took the kids moved out and I was left homeless so live with my mom about four hours away. Friend sent me a post that they were paying out for autoimmune diseaseso finally called the VA and was told I don’t have a claim because I have been out for over 15 years. I don’t have any family history of autoimmune disease or even arthritis. Does anyone know what to do I have not been able to work since 2008, I can get custody of my kids if I can move back up there but I have no income no ability to work. I was a very healthy excellent condition in the military now I have trouble even walking some days, can’t open my hands for hours in the morning and tired all the time. Has anyone had any luck with any medical or holistic methods I’m at rock bottom will take any suggestions applied for ssd but my doctor said I will get denied at least 3 times just because of my age. I just want a chance at life and to raise my kids, they don’t want to be with their mom and she’d beend asking for another baby 10 days before leaving me. So not any advice on getting help or on the right medictation would be greatly appreciated by me and my two young son’s.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      There is help. Research autoimmune protocol diet, Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride, and The Body Ecology Diet, by Donna Gates. Somewhere in there you can find a diet that will start the healing process. You need to take down the inflammation, restore the microbiome, and restore the lining of your gut. In the meantime, Restore (Google Restore4life) is an easy supplement that can help. Probiotics may help a lot in the short term, but if you use fermented foods as discussed in Body Ecology, you can keep your gut in shape more naturally.

      Good luck. I’m praying for you and your boys.

    • Deanna Tullison says:

      What about Reservists they gave us vaccines also?

    • Sailor Jen says:

      Your story has so many parallels to mine…I did two deployment to the Gulf and was started on my Anthrax course during my first in 2003. I took all 6 shots. I remember having flu like body aches, but other then that, just very bad injection site swelling and pain. In 2012 I had my second daughter and was given a botched epidural…four weeks later my life would never be the same. The fatigue and joint pain set and has never left but gotten worse and wide spread. I was medically retired at 16 years with Akylosing Spondilitis, Fibromyagia, Migraines, Arthritis, Depression, Anxiety. Right before my medical board process began and came down with chronic diarrhea. I had two colonoscopies within two weeks but the Navy doctor I was seeing was convinced it was just from the psych drugs I had recently started taking. I changed meds to try and see if that was the problem…no dice. They basically were doing nothing for me but I was waking up in the middle of the night having soiled my bed and self knowing something more serious was going on. Fast forward 18 months and I’ve been medically retired for the above mentioned disorders. My chronic diarrhea is still hanging around and so I get a referral through tricare to see a specialist but have to wait 6 months to get a new patient appointment. When I finally get in they’re hesitant to do another scope, they’d like to try and get the pathology from the Navy because in their eyes things are easily misdiagnosed. Before I can get back in to see them I’m hospitalized with abdominal pain and details I’ll spare you…I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease after another scope, CT and MRI/MRE and 9 days in. They always want to make the family connection. There is NONE on either side of my family. I made a huge deal about that vaccine when the announcement was made that we had to get it…and it makes me sad that even back then I didn’t even know the half of it. Now I’m filling my body with more poison on a daily basis just to try and be “normal” so that I can take care of my three little girls who need me to be the best I can be. I saw a new rheumatologist recently (I just moved from Virginia to Arizona) and he could not believe the Navy didn’t put two and two together two and a half years ago when my symptoms first started…he looked at my records and the tell tale signs are written all over it (he didn’t have the most recent hospitalization and diagnosis) and was NOT surprised with the CD diagnosis. His exact words were, “What took them so long?” I know there is no way for me to prove that this is all related to me getting these vaccines, but I know if my heart of hearts that it is and at least that makes me feel better that I can’t pass it on to my kids…or at least that’s what I tell myself since I didn’t inherit it.

  4. Chris Private says:

    I was given lots of vaccines in the US Navy from 1983 to 1987. I have developed many autoimmune related disorders in the last 20 years (IC, IBS, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis etc.) along with a heafty case of adult ADD. Is it possible that the vaccines I was given prior to 1990 could have caused these problems, and if so is there a way to get the VA to help pay for any of my treatments?

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Absolutely, those conditions could have been caused by vaccines, especially prior to the removal of Thimerosal. (Google Verstraeten Generation Zero for an eye-opening glimpse into what the effect of early exposure to Thimerosal may be on ADHD rates.) Unfortunately, there is no “official” recognition of that yet, however. So, trying to get the VA to pay would probably be fruitless, unless you have medical benefits due to being a veteran.

  5. Vickie Hunter says:

    I was deployed in 2007-2008 and received the cocktail of immunizations including, Smallpox, Anthrax, Influenza, Hep B and Typhoid. I had symptoms a few days after but as soldiers are required I did not complain. When I got back to the United States I immediately gained a ton of weight for no apparent reason. I attributed it to different climates. I started working out 3 times a day and barely eating. A couple years later it became too much. I was and had been experiencing numbness and pain everywhere. All the doctors assumed it was because I was so active. My heart rate got extremely low and my hair started falling out. I started seeing things that weren’t there. Finally after my own research, I told my doctor to test my thyroid. My TSH was extremely high. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I am the only person in my family to have this condition. I have Ulnar Neuropathy. I have started having partial seizures. I have visual disturbances (I see people where there are none) I am now overweight but still have a resting heart rate of about 53. I had to give up my full time military job because I couldn’t do it anymore. My doctors keep making excuses for what is wrong with me. My life is slowly deteriorating and it all started after deployment.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Wish I could say this was the first time I’d heard such a story. Vickie, you might want to read “A Mind of Your Own” by Dr. Kelly Brogan, a psychiatrist who changed her whole word view as a result of dealing with her own Hashimoto’s diagnosis. Kelly Hashimoto’s is in remission and has been for years. Good luck to you!

  6. Audrey says:

    Professor, is RA included as part of the autoimmune disorders? No one in my family has it but me and I also took those Anthrax Shots.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Yes, DEFINITELY! Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the best-known autoimmune disorders!

      • D Heyden says:

        Thank you professor for your reasearch! I was an extremely healthy 50 year old female retiree who has recently been diagnosed with RA. I have tremendous pain in my muscles and joints. In 2008 I did a series of anthrax shots and was wondering if there was any correlation with RA and long term Anthrax vaccination. While I realize this could be age catching up to me, no one in my large family have anything like this, and I am the youngest. I struggle to know how to deal with this when I’ve been so strong my entire life…

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        RA is exactly the sort of autoimmune disease that I’m talking about here. I’m so sorry that you appear to be one of the anthrax vaccine’s victims. I really want to address this topic in greater depth in the future, maybe even a book. You should read the book Vaccine Epidemic, the chapter on autoimmunity in the military is enlightening and horrifying.

  7. Lucy says:

    Thank you, thank you, Professor and TMR, for your deeply intelligent writings on this and many other epidemics of malpractice. I also am very grateful for your fine articles about methods , like homeopathy, for potentially healing these messes . Blessings on you for your excellent writing and research.

  8. Emily says:

    As an AF spouse I’m running into more and more military moms with autistic children. And as these moms continue to birth babies after each deployment, they continue to vaccinate along with the rest of the herd much to the detriment of their children.

  9. Bernhard says:

    A thing I want to understand. The obsession of US citizens with their brave soldiers – in protecting? the country. Protecting the country you call this? Just have a look at this list:

    The USA have constantly been at war the world over the last 200! years (and the list doesn’t even include all the “secret” attempts to overthrow foreign governments).

    I agree with you, if you consider those vaccinations (soldiers as guinea pigs – well even the last is a crime against life) as “unethical” action. Just I wouldn’t call it unethical, lets put the right words into place – its criminal.
    What I really want to understand is: how on earth it is possible for US citizens, to have all this compassion for their soldiers ( and please consider: the wars they fight never, never have been on US soil) but completely lack similar feelings for the bombed, invaded, torn to pieces, you name it, innumerable victims of the actions of their brave soldiers.

    Nevertheless, Love and Peace for Pacha Mama.

    • Professor says:

      Bernhard, I have compassion for everyone. You don’t know me, but people who do know that I’m the one frequently pointing out the “forgotten” statistics of military engagements — you know, the people who got killed by the “unfriendly” fire. This blog, however, was specifically about our treatment of our own troops. Despite the fact that I think we have wasted many billions of dollars, and many, many lives, in incredibly stupid wars, that does not negate the compassion I feel for the people who sign up for the military intending to defend their country.

    • D Heyden says:

      Having been deployed to Iraq you have no friggin idea of the great things we did over there because the media is one sided. So are you saying your opinion of our military is based on information on Wikipedia? Really? Have you also done any research on other countries or do you feel obligated to just focus on America? I pray for you and those likeminded people who’s opinions come from what you read vs real life experience.

  10. Professor, sorry I forgot to give you the link to what I wrote back in 2008. I slept in this morning (YAY for me) and I’m not awake yet 🙂
    Like I said, if you want info on why the rate has not been updated for military, just let me know cuz I have the skinny on that.

  11. Professor if you’re planning on writing about the higher incidence of autism amongst military families, please visit my site. I wrote about the numbers back in 2008 and while the civilian community was at 1 in 150, we were at 1 in 88, and I know that number was inaccurate. The rate then was probably more like 1 in 67. In 2008! Feel free to email me if you’d like to talk about this. And I can also let you know why the number has not been updated since then. Talk about moving the goalpost… Thank you for recgonizing our service members.
    Ang – AF spouse and mom to four – two recovering/recovered from autism, and two recovered from tethered spinal cord.

    • Professor says:

      Angela, I would like very much to talk with you. I found an extended article about those 1 in 88 numbers in 2008, which I found intriguing because 1 in 88 is the CDC’s number NOW for 8-year-olds in 2008. So, I want to know as much as possible about what the rates were and are. Do you know if anyone has a freedom-of-information request in for the latest numbers?

  12. I was an X-ray student at Walter Reed in 95 when they had a bunch of Gulf War vets there for testing… These soldiers stayed in the same building that I did and we’d talk often. I remember one guy telling me they couldn’t find any trace of his records there at Walter Reed (he was leaving and he wanted a copy). I told him that was crazy b/c I remember taking some films of him. I sat down at the computer and attempted to pull up his records. They were gone. My eyes were opened at the age of 19. Sadly, not opened enough. But I learned to not trust my government that day.
    We later learned that the records were all pulled and filed where they should have been… but filed in a manner that made them impossible to find (I think it was by clinic visit date –not by name, etc)
    My autistic child was born while I was still in the Army. I had been hyper vaccinated and by nature of service and the way things are run, you can bet all our kids got ALL the latest vaccines on time and sometimes early (like in the case of my son, adjusted for his birth at 37.5 weeks, he was technically 3.5 weeks old when he got his 2 month shots).
    I would also look for excuses to get out of work early for a day and often that meant volunteering for weird shit, like research at WRAIR –foolish idiot, moi, would let them inject me with shit. We never got the results of the study sent to us like they said we would. I have no idea what I got.
    I loved my time in the Army. I would go back if I could. But there has got to be a better way.

  13. Take a look at this clinical trial being done by the DOD and Dr. Shoffner (mitochondrial disease specialist in Atlanta):

    and this study (summarized in USAToday: reported:
    “Dr. Golomb has noted that veterans with Gulf War-related illness experience the same kinds of symptoms as people with mitochondrial disorders, which arise when mitochondria do not function properly.”

    • Professor says:

      My heart sank when I read your comment. Mitochondrial stuff, too, huh? My next one on the military is going to be a doozy!

  14. Blaze says:

    I live in a military town and have met plenty of over-vaccinated, ill Autism Daddies. Say a soldier goes on three back to back tours…before each tour that person can get 11 vaccines or more. 33 vaccines in 3 years sounds irrational to me. And don’t forget the military kids that get double and triple vaccinated because their records haven’t caught up with them at each new base. There’s even a man in this area that contracted Transverse Myelitis from his military vaccines, a FACT that the government has admitted in his case. He runs a support group at
    Thank you for researching this very dire situation, Prof. xo

    • Professor says:

      Blaze, I didn’t know you were a military town. I hear (have NO corroboration on this) that military people can get out of the double and triple vaxes by doing the titer testing (of course, we all know those are not necessarily accurate or useful, but you do what you can). If you meet people, you might want to mention that. I’m gonna pick your brain at AO!

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