The Colonel's story.

Colonel Allan E. Limberg, CVO,,(Retd)

“The White House,”

29 Threadbow Crescent,

Wheelers Hill, 3150, Australia.

Tuesday April 01,2003 (rma81aa)

Fax 07 4031 3273 8 pages + 8 pages = 16 pages

Dear Pam

7 pages attached for your information and appropriate action.

This is an initial update of my true story, A Korean War Guinea Pig, published in a special edition in June 2002 by the editor of The 38th, the newsletter of the Korea Veterans RSL Sub-branch.

May I take this opportunity, once again, to thank my local Federal Member, Mr Alan Griffen, MP, for his continuing support for so long on behalf of all those veterans and civilians.

This is not an April Fool’s joke.

Yours sincerely,

Signed Allan

You are welcome to send copies and / or extracts, to the media and anyone else who may do something positive. Note MCS is not a disease (RMA 2001)!

Colonel Allan E. Limberg, CVO,,(Retd)
“The White House,”
29 Threadbow Crescent,
Wheelers Hill, 3150, Australia
Tuesday April 01,2003 (rma81aa)
7 pages





May I invite your attention, for your appropriate action, to the attached copy of an article in Woman’s Day, 31 March 2003 titled TOXIC SCHOOL POISONS HOLLYWOOD STARS.

Note the following:

  1. High profile crusader against environmental pollution Erin Brockovich and her law partner Ed Masey are taking legal action on behalf of more than 80 cancer-stricken graduates of Beverly Hills High School, including 12 internationally renowned actors and former White House intern Monica Lewinski.
  2. She and her partner were the legal team that forced multi-billion-dollar company Pacific Gas and Electric to pay $562 million to settle a water contamination lawsuit – which resulted in Julia Roberts portrayal of her in a film which won Best Actress Oscar in 2000.
  3. Underneath the high school is an oil platform with 18 wells still operating today.
  4. Over the past 10 years around 170 graduates and staff members have developed three distinct types of cancer – Hodgkins, non-Hodgkins and thyroid.
  5. She claims that air samples taken at the school, the result of months of testing, were found to contain high levels of methane, the potent neuro-toxic n-hexane, and the known cancer agent benzene, to each of which veterans of the Korean War were regularly exposed together with more than 160 other toxic chemicals – all listed in my research papers and all deviously and deliberately ignored in the current Korean War Mortality and Health Studies and ignored by the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) when it reached it’s extraordinary determination in 2001 that MCS does NOT exist as a disease, contrary to overwhelming evidence world-wide to the contrary, and in which they stated that all other injuries, illnesses and diseases which can result from, or be due to such exposures are already included in RMA Statements of Principles which I believe is demonstrably incorrect. The RMA and the Minister continue to refuse to provide copies of such.
  6. Presumably the veterans of all subsequent wars including Vietnam, Gulf War 1, East Timor and Gulf War 2 were, or are to be, similarly regularly exposed to those 3 toxic chemicals and many others.
  7. In typical fashion, Mike Edwards, Venoco’s spokesman says – the levels of chemicals are not abnormal!!!
Because of my wife’s health and my own I do not intend to take further action but am referring it to you to do so as you think appropriate, including copies or extracts to e.g. the media, your newsletters, politicians etc

In relation to the RMA determination in 2001 that MCS is NOT a disease you may be prepared to use the following update of my true story published in a special edition in June 2002 by the editor of The 38th, the newsletter of the Korean Veterans RSL Sub-branch, in your endeavours to get acknowledgement of the disabling effects of exposures, both small and large to toxic chemicals

Major General Stevens, Chairman of the Korean Veterans Mortality Study Committee, who is also a Repatriation Commissioner, refused for 11 months to reply himself to the formal, well supported request under section 180A of the VEA 1986 for its Repatriation Commission to produce its own Statements of Principles based upon a report from independent experts headed by associate Professor Chris Winder, Head School of safety Science, University of NSW, but following pressure from several quarters referred it to the President of the Repatriation Commission, who holds the position as Secretary of DVA and reports directly to the Minister in both capacities. In his reply dated 29 September 2002 he flatly rejected the legally justified, proper request for an independent inquiry under section 180A of the Act, using statements which are all open to question, including his statement that it was based upon legal opinion

 As a result the matter was referred by MPs and other individuals, once again, to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Danna Vale, who had been avoiding replying to much earlier requests on this issue

She was asked to reply specifically to 8 requests, namely:

(1)   To ensure that the request to Major General Stevens for a determination by the Repatriation Commission under section 180A in respect of MCS and all other disabling injuries, illnesses and diseases that can be due to, or arise out of exposures, both small and large, of veterans to what are generally called toxic chemicals, be implemented.

(2)   To ensure the undertaking of a full and adequate health study for Korea War veterans and the provision of the following documents

(3)   the opinion provided to Major General Stevens in October 2001, following his request

(4)   all legal opinion on which the President of the Repatriation Commission based his earlier letter of rejection dated 29 September 2002.

(5)   the terms of reference, guidelines and the protocol for the contract made with Monash University to conduct studies, including medical questionnaires and medical examinations.

(6)   The questionnaire to be issued or already issued in the Pilot Study and the questionnaire to be issued to all Korean War veterans.

(7)   The essential accompanying detailed instructions, if any, to be issued to all those who are to complete the questionnaires, and

(8)   Copies of existing RMA Statements of Principles for all diseases which can be due to, or arise out of exposures to chemical toxins, in which the factor that as a minimum must exist state – “exposures, small or large, to chemical toxins” – if any such do exist.

In her reply dated 16 December 2002 she adroitly avoided adequately addressing each of these critical 8 requests, and supported the questionable earlier rejection by her DVA Secretary and President of her Repatriation Commission. Her reply, no doubt written by her Sir Humphrey Appleby advisers, included such implausible excuses as:

(1)   I have been advised that these legal opinions provided to Major General Stevens and the President of the Repatriation Commission from its legal advisers are covered by legal professional privilege…they cannot be provided to you at this time.

(2)   The contract with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has with Monash University to undertake the Pilot Health Study is commercial-in-confidence and it would be inappropriate to release the details of these contracted arrangements.

(3)   You have sought a copy of the questionnaire and instructions for a Health Study. When undertaking these studies it is important that questionnaires are not circulated prior to the formal distribution to study participants, to ensure that there is no interference to the research.

In October 1997, after earlier rejection of the request for a Mortality and Health Studies for Korea War veterans, the then Minister for Veterans’ Affairs finally approved the well supported, detailed submission prepared by me, but for only a Mortality Study. He stated that that study should be finalised in 3 years. At today’s date it is already 2.5 years overdue

Also in her letter dated 16 December 2002 the Minister stated that – Following the completion and evaluation of the Pilot Health Study, Terms of Reference will be developed for the full Korean Veterans’ Health Study. The Pilot Study mailed out in May 2002 was planned to be completed last year. No results have been promulgated. The results are still awaited. Her statement that a full Korean Veterans’ Health Study is to be undertaken, more than 5.5 years since the Mortality Study only was approved is at odds with all the published progress on Korea War health issues, namely that only a special Cancer Incidence Study has commenced (with data available only since 1982 when the National Register was established and the mortality rate will be compared to the National Death Register, also only established in 1982 – both 32 years after the Korea War, with the true causes of death only accepted as that shown on death certificates).!!

It will be interesting to see whether her stated FULL Health Study ( a term not previously used) will encompass all aspects of the three main issues which the Korean War studies were requested to address, of which one was all the injuries, illnesses, diseases and deaths which can arise from, or be due to, exposures (both small and large) to toxic chemicals. If so the health questionnaires and the health medical studies will have to properly include and address all of the many symptoms and all of the many injuries, illnesses and diseases which can result. As the Korean Veterans Mortality Study Committee and it’s Scientific Advisory Committee have deliberately avoided addressing any of these matters it seems most unlikely that such will be done, which could well account for the reluctance of the Minister to release copies of the questionnaires or the Terms of Reference of the contract with Monash University, who also undertook the Gulf War studies. From the many discussions with the originator of the Australian Gulf War studies it is understood that those health studies also avoided such vital issues and a detailed study of its report could prove most illuminating


In “Vetaffairs” dated March 2003 the Minister states that the Government also notes the recently released Review of Veterans’ Entitlements astonishingly concluded that life-time T&PI disability benefits are adequate when compared with community norms and A key factor in shaping the Government’s response would ensure that the current funding envelope was maintained. So it appears that after all the long delay in avoiding all these issues and all the effort in producing such a mammoth report, that all the 3,000 submissions and the few recommendations made by that committee, most or all of which involved further expenditure, will all be ignored and that unlike war widows and service pensions which are now linked to the greater of CPI or 25% of male total average weekly earnings (MTAWE) because CPI indexation does not keep pensions in line with the costs of living, the T&PI pensioners,for whom the long held principles of the Repatriation system were principally originally designed, are to remain only linked to the smaller, irrelevant CPI increases. This means that those totally and permanently incapacitated (T&PI) pensioners will continue to have their pensions fall ever further behind, and the once proud boast that Australia had the best Repatriation system in the world is surely now a hollow pretension

In that respect it is interesting to note that following World War 1, Australia, with a population then of only 5 million was prepared, with the continuing support of all political persuasions and the bulk of the general public, until recent times, to willingly bear the heavy Repatriation cost of it’s veterans of whom 330,000 served overseas with 6 of every 10 killed or disabled, as indeed they were after World War II when almost 1 million served in the defence forces, with a population then of only 7 million, but now that Australia’s population exceeds 19 million it is no longer prepared to shoulder such costs on behalf of those who are prepared to lay their lives on the line in response to their government’s requests, as clearly evidenced by the Minister’s recent and previous statements that no further funds are to be provided

It is also interesting to note that recent committee report was based, surprisingly, mainly upon a submission from the Department of Defence. As it will never have enough funds and naturally will ensure that what are available are used on the Defence force to the detriment of veterans and their families and contrary to the long held principles of the Repatriation system, as happens in the UK where veterans do not have a Minister responsible for their entitlements and welfare, it is clear what will eventuate. Our Government is already following that hazardous path, apparently deliberately, as evidenced by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs who is now titled in addition Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence – placing her in a role subservient to this Minister and the availability of funding for both departments – to the potential detriment of present and future veterans and their families

The Minister for Defence is not and should not be primarily involved in looking after the justified entitlements of disabled ex-servicemen and women, their wives and children and is most unlikely to provide funds from their always restricted budget.  In this context it is noteworthy that the recent Review committee report recommended abolishing the Veterans’ Entitlement Act which was designed to guarantee veterans special treatment including the benefit of doubt, lifetime disability pensions, medical treatment and welfare to veterans and their families and replacing it with a Compensation Act which appears to be based upon making lump sum payments, unlikely to be generous, which are quickly expended, and then apparently quietly forgetting them, contrary to the long held principles of the Repatriation system as expressed in the words of Parliament

In the extraordinary determination by the Repatriation Medical Authority in 2001 that MCS does not exist as a disease and their startling statement that all other injuries, illnesses and diseases which result from exposure to toxic chemicals are already covered in their RMA Statements of Principles (copies of which they refuse to provide), contrary to overwhelming world-wide evidence to the contrary, they based their decision on only 21 references14 of which were based upon the now highly, world-widely condemned and denigrated decision by a group of soley chemical representatives in Berlin in 1996 that MCS should be renamed idiopathic environmental intolerances to deliberately remove the word chemical to show that it is of a psychogenic and not a physical origin. The RMA listed in support of that startling decision a bibliography of merely 114 other so called peer-reviewed papers (only 17% of the bibliography held and readily available from MCS Referral & Resources in the USA who they refused to contact), which is what they fallaciously call a medical-scientific approach, ignoring the bulk which find otherwise

Following the forwarding by the National President of the Australian Chemical Trauma Alliance Inc. of all the relevant literature concerning this decision to the President of MCS Referral & Resources in the USA, which regularly produces bulletins concerning the world wide recognition of MCS as a disease, and his study of it, he replied recently to him with the following statements:

1.      The RMA failed to conduct it’s review in good faith

2.      The RMA failed to review all the relevant literature

3.      The RMA gave undue weight to the minority of papers supporting a psych basis of MCS by including in its review some papers having nothing to do with MCS (eg #18945 and 18946)

4.      The RMA mislisted as anonymous (and therefore less credible) the consensus definition of MCS (18542) which actually has 34 co-authors)

5.      The RMA did not list at all the many US government, Canadian government and UK government studies of Gulf War veterans that document MCS as the single most common complaint at 2-4 the expected prevalence compared to undeployed military controls from the same era etc,etc.

6.      But, bad as all this is, they essentially played by their rules, which were stacked from the start.

7.      Surely there are other medical organisations to approach in Australia for positive position papers on MCS based on a fairer more balanced assessment of the medical literature.

8.      If you want to bother proving just how biased the RMA bibliography is you could count the number that I list in my bibliography of psych bias vs. the number that I list as physical bias or mixed perspective…. These bibliographies are attached, each in alphabetical order. Note they included 384 which support findings of a physical/organic basis and/or that critique findings of a psychological basis for MCS (15 pages) and 165 that support findings of a psychological basis and/or that critique findings of a physical/organic basis for MCS (6 pages) and 120 that discuss evidence of both a psychiatric/psychogenic and a physical/organic basis for MCS (5 pages) – a total bibliography of 669 articles, editorials, books, book chapters and reports that discuss evidence for the basis of MCS, with the vast majority finding a physical organic basis

9.      I suggest you seek political allies (MPs) in Australia to protest the RMA’s self serving rules and procedures (and their biased application of same in this case)

10.   I urge you to obtain the list of disorders that the RMA does recognise...those that already have an SoP which the RMA letter of 30 Oct 2001 says are available). I’d be curious to know, for example, if there is one for Carbon monoxide poisoning, which is a ubiquitous toxin on battlefields and has been for over a century.

11.  It is very obvious that the RMA considers this case closed and it is not going to be swayed by any such appeals to reason or other country’s precedents.

Keep up the fight on behalf of all veterans and all civilians disabled from exposures to toxic chemicals. With warmest regards

Signed Allan Limburg

Article copied here from Woman’s Day page 14.”TOXIC SCHOOL POISONS HOLLYWOOD STARS”

“Tinseltowners are running scared as Erin Brockovich investigates claims a high school is causing cancer

Hollywood celebrates – both the famous and the notorious – are running scared after receiving the shocking news that their former high school in ritzy Beverley Hills has been leaking cancer-causing toxins

Internationally renowned actors Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, David Schwimmer, Tori Spelling. Carrie Fisher, Alicia Silverstone, Shaun Cassidy, Corbin Bernsen, Betty White, and Richard Dreyfuss – along with singer Lenny Kravitz, conductor Andre Previn and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky – are just a few of the famous ex-pupils who have been alarmed by the allegations being made in an upcoming lawsuit

Friends funny man David Schwimmer has confirmed that he is concerned. “He is researching it,” says a spokesperson for the actor

High-profile crusader against environmental pollution Erin Brockovich and her law partner Ed Masey will take legal action on behalf of more than 80 cancer-stricken graduates of Beverley Hills High School

The partners became celebrities in their own right in the US as the legal team that forced multi-billion-dollar utility company Pacific Gas and Electric to pay $562 million to settle a water contamination lawsuit brought by the small town of Hinckley.

Julia Roberts won the Best Actress Oscar in 2000 for her portrayal of Erin

“We got a phone call from one person with cancer, then there were two, three, four and five with similar cancers,” says Erin, who quickly launched into her now famous style of investigation

“You’ve got a public high school next to an oil refinery. You can’t see it, so no-one knows its there…. I was stunned that underneath the high school there is an oil platform they are operating today, and that has operated for many years – and there are 18 well heads under that school,” she says

At a recent dinner, Erin told some 600 alumni and parents of current students that, over the past 10 years, around 170 graduates and staff members had developed three distinct types of cancer – Hodgkins, non-Hodgkins and thyroid

She and Ed claim that air samples taken at the school, the results of months of testing, were found to contain high levels of methane, the potent neurotoxin n-hexane, and the known cancer agent benzene

The pair’s investigation was sparked by two former students, Dana Goodman and Lori Moss, who met in a doctor’s office where both were being treated for cancer

The school – which has been used in movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life and the big screen adaptation of the Beverly Hillbillies – was made famous around the world by the popularity of the Aaron Spelling produced TV show Beverley Hills 90210 created by Sex and the City’s Darren Star

Fir a decade from 1990 the series – which was not filmed on the grounds of the school - epitomised teenage angst working in designer clothes, fast cars and the classroom. It also made huge stars of Jason Priestly, Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, Luke Peri, Ian Ziering, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and Brian Austin Green

Writer Nora Ephron, who has scripted hits such as Sleepless in Seatle, When Harry Met Sally….and You’ve Got Mail, is now 61. She remembers that when she attended the star-stocked school “there were two things the people had to have – cashmere sweater sets and nose jobs.”

Laughingly she continues , “You had the sweaters on the first day of spring vacation and 5 days later you would call your girlfriends and say you had been in a car accident, your nose had hit the dashboard and you had deviated your septum, forcing the plastic surgeon to operate on you.”

Cancer is a far more serious issue, however. The concern is personal – Nora’s sister Amy has a daughter who currently attends the high school

“They should shut down the well,” she says emphatically

Director Amy Hackering, who helmed the popular teen flicks Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless, as well as John Tavolta’s Look Who’s Talking  has taken her daughter Mollie out of the school temporarily, deeming it wiser to err on the side of caution until more facts come to light and the situation becomes clearer

“I don’t blame Amy,” Ed Masey says. “What’s alarming is that the ratio of these three types of cancer at Beverly Hills is 18 times the national average. We tested air levels for five months according to EPA protocols, and they’ve elevated

“To think that you have an active oil-producing well, with 18 well heads and 25 abandoned wells, sitting on school property, and nobody is looking at it…all they are doing is collecting money from it.”

Significant oil and gas reserves were discovered under the city of Beverly Hills in the early 20th century. The glitz and glamour of the movie and television industry was a by-product which put Beverly Hills on the map

The disputed oil wells under the high school land are run by the Venoco oil company

Mike Edwards, Venoco’s spokesperson, says that the company continues to run the oil wells because, according to the Southern California Coast Air Quality Management agency, it’s been found that the levels of chemicals emitted from the site are “not abnormal”

“If there is a cancer cluster, they should look at all the possibilities,” asserts Mike, “There are many active wells within three miles [4.8 km] of the school. The La Brea Tar Pits are two miles [3.2 km] down the road.”

Students past and present – be they Hollywood hot-shots or regular residents – say that they just want the truth…and to know whether their health has been endangered by merely turning up to school, something that’s supposed to be safe

Woman’s Day March 31, 2003


A true story by Allan Limburg (gpig2)

(Published in the Korea Veterans RSL Sub-Branch newsletter The 38th, in June 3002.)

Preface by the Editor of the 38th :  The reason for issuing this now through the Korean Sub-branch of the RSL is so that all Korean War veterans, most of whom are ignorant of the symptoms and effects of chemical injury, as are most Australian doctors, and some of you will shortly be asked to complete a questionnaire on your health, hopefully followed by a detailed questionnaire to all or most veterans and probably a medical examination, you can at least become aware of some of the insidious and far reaching health effects. As attested by Dr John Bradley the current studies only came into being in 1997 because of the determined driving force of Allan and the depth of his early and subsequent research ever since. Allan is now being assisted by our Korea Veterans’ RSL Sub-branch

If you are to be finally awarded justified disability pensions and pensions for widows from such exposures, each of you must get a proper understanding of the whole subject. Allan and Dr John Bradley only stumbled accidentally on this vital issue in 1994 when fighting a lengthy battle for acceptance as a War Widow of a Korean veteran who died in strange circumstances. The disabling effects of regular exposures to the wide range of toxic chemicals used in Korea, greater than such exposures experienced by Vietnam veterans, in accordance with written instructions, and the resultant many injuries, illnesses and diseases and deaths that such can cause was one of the 3 main issues the studies were to address. But the two Study committees have been trying desperately ever since to avoid addressing it. Unless you do some homework it is unlikely you will be given due recognition in either the questionnaires or subsequent medical examinations and will get no disability pension for such exposures as a result

Thus we believe it vital that each of you become acquainted with all the issues involved. It is hoped that a detailed study of the contents of this true, short story, the contents of which James Cotter has given written consent to Allan for publication by any means, will go a long way to redressing this sorry situation. As our distribution is limited could we suggest that on your own behalf, and on behalf of all your Korean War veteran mates, that each of you give copies to as many Korean War veterans and others as possible or get it published elsewhere as widely as possible

*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *

On 12 July 1952 19 years old James Cotter arrived in Korea where he served with two artillery regiments and both the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Royal Canadian regiment in the third year of the horrific Korean War. He was young, fit and healthy, bursting with energy, excitedly looking forward, as did his forebears, to active service

He was not to know that since the joyous end of World War II, scientists, led by Germany and the USA, had unleashed an unstoppable “Tsunami” or giant tidal wave, which would engulf the whole world with millions of toxic chemicals, most untested, on humans, fish, birds, animals and a fragile eco-system. But unlike many Tsunamis, it would not recede, but gather momentum, spreading unknowing destruction in it’s ever growing wake.

On 10 August 1952 James and his battalion as part of the 25th Canadian Brigade in the 1st Commonwealth Division, moved forward into the front line trenches on Hill 355 in the Jamestown Line where his unit sustained heavy enemy attacks on 23 and 24 October

In accordance with the written instructions in the Canadian “Handbook of Army Health 1950” he and his fellow soldiers in all innocence of the terrible effects, without taking any essential precautions, regularly soaked all their clothing in buckets containing toxic DDT and toxic solvents, applied toxic miticides to their boots and gaiters, applied toxic insecticides before and during their regular nightly patrols into no-man’s-land – separating them from the battle-hardened Chinese troops, who outnumbered them 2:1, - with some opposing trenches only a few hundred yards apart. It was trench warfare as had not existed since that in France in World War 1 with barbwire entanglements, minefields and the rolling drumbeat of exploding artillery shells

With five of his mates, James moved into a small, cramped underground bunker or “hutchi.” It had been hurriedly built using local timber to shore up the overhead cover of several feet of rocks and soil as protection from the regular, murderous enemy mortar and artillery fire which regularly rained down on them

His hutchi was small – barely 6 feet by 6 feet. It was unventilated with a blanket covering the entrance to prevent the enemy observing their lights. It was wet and mouldy, inhabited by mosquitoes, lice, ticks, fleas, mites, large rats, mice and other vermin. On both sides of his hutchi wall were built two beds, made from steel pickets and signal wire. Two slept on the floor

This is where he was to sleep, exhausted, when, if lucky, he could catch 3 or 4 hours between manning the fighting pits or on standing, listening, ambush and fighting patrols, digging and maintaining trenches and defences, and the numerous other tasks assigned to him. His sleeping bag, in accordance with the handbook, was regularly, thoroughly impregnated with DDT. A hygiene dutyman regularly entered the hutchi and sprayed or “fogged” it with toxic DDT, Dieldrin, Chlordane, Malathion and Lindane, Gammexane aerosol “bombs”, toxic solvents and other toxic chemicals, indiscriminately spraying copious amounts over everything, including exhausted soldiers in their bunks, their exposed food and their water supplies

They heated their tinned rations in their hutchis over toxic hexamine tablets, they breathed the thick, toxic fug of cigarette smoke and the toxic fumes from the smoky, kerosene lamps. In the bitterly cold winters when the mercury sometimes plunged as low as – 49 degrees C and the frozen winds from Siberia brought howling, wind chills of as low as – 99 degrees C they made improvised heaters, called “choofers” in their hutchis.

These usually consisted of a battered jerry can above the hutchi filled with whatever they could scrounge, such as benzene, AVGAS, dieselene or petroleum. It was connected to a rubber tube which entered the hutchi, tied with a knot to control the fuel, which dripped onto a tin of sand, where it fed the flames, making a “choof-choof” sound. From it emanated toxic, burnt and unburnt chemicals, which engulfed the small hutchi. When occupants left their underground shelter, coughing and spluttering, their faces and necks were covered with thick “choofer black” or “hutchi tan” and their sputum was black or yellow tinged

Their water supplies were usually from a 44 gallon drum, which previously had contained benzene, AVGAS, diselene or petroleum which had been recently painted, internally, with oil based paint. They normally had no lids. The water was contaminated with the indiscriminate spraying of toxic chemicals and dust and dirt from enemy shelling and often toxically over-chlorinated. It usually had oily, rainbow colours floating on the surface.

James and his fellow soldiers were lucky if they ever got a shower while in the line, which could be for up to 10 or 12 weeks at a time. They lived and slept, constantly in their toxically drenched clothing, ever alert for enemy attack. Their toilets and “pissaphones” above ground were regularly sprayed with toxic chemicals and solvents and burnt out with petroleum fuel spraying the contents onto the surrounding ground. In the stifling summers torrential rains often filled the toilets causing them to overflow into trenches and hutchis

On 29 August 1953, James, having served 382 days in Korea returned to Canada, unaware that the terrible effects of all those exposures to toxic chemicals would wreak great havoc in his life and that of his fellow veterans, and indeed, in those of the thousands of Australian, British and Canadian troops who also served there

Almost from the day he arrived home he has been unwell. Shortly after returning home all his teeth fell out. He has had eight operations – including operations for colon and lymph node cancer, gall bladder and Carpal tunnel. “The doctor who did the cancer operation told me he thought that I should have been dead 10 years ago”…”For 35 years doctors have been telling me to get psychiatric help and when I did the medication nearly killed me”….”I have been ill since I returned from Korea with multiple health problems which doctors were unable to diagnose or treat.”

For the next forty years, in constant ill health, he “visited over 32 doctors who subjected him to about 500 examinations and tests, all to no avail,” doctors, who, with no training or understanding of such matters, subjected him to useless test after useless test. In a ten year period he was forced to take over 2,000 days of sick leave

On 6 October 1953 he was found to have a low level of segmented neutrophils at 51% (60-66% being normal). This abnormal drop is linked to leukaemia, infections, arthritis, vitamin B12 deficiency and chemical exposure. On 2 June 1954 he exhibited 200 myeloblasts/mm3 that were detected on peripheral smear, with ordinary reference range of 0. The myeloblast is a primitive bone marrow cell that is found in certain leukaemias in the peripheral blood. This is seen in some cases of exposures to toxic substances like DDT, to which he had extensive exposure during his military service in Korea

On 21 June 1955 he had an elevated percentage of lymphocytes at 40% (reference range at that time was 20 to 30%), once again confirming peripheral blood abnormalities that were consistent with chemical exposures. On 12 October 1972 he had lymphocytosis of 37% (reference range at that time 25 to 30%). On 6 June 1986 he had a CBC report which showed a suppressed platelet count of 104,000 (normal range 150,000 to 4000,000)

Dr Ross, MD,CCFP,DIBEM,DABEM,FAAEM stated on 13 October 1998 that – “ I believe that these abnormalities, some of which go back to 1953, are consistent with and add weight to Mr Cotter’s claim (and in our medical opinion) that he had been injured in the course of his military service as previously outlined in our correspondence.

In 1994 (41 years after the war) he managed to borrow $10.000 and get admitted to the prestigious Environmental Health Center at Dallas in Texas, which has tested and treated over 30,000 chemically injured victims, including veterans. In a six page, detailed medical report from Dr Gerald H. Ross, addressed to Dr Kudlak, dated 12 October 1994, following scientific testing in the Environmental Health Center, Dallas, Texas, he stated:

Mr Cotter’s blood chemical analysis shows evidence of chemical contamination with five chlorinated chemical pesticides residues, these being HCP, Beta-BHC, Oxychlordane, DDE and DDT,…he has positive autoimmunity, persisting blood contamination, evidence of severe chemical sensitivity and that this is in all reasonable likelihood of his exposure during military service.” (in the Korean War)

He diagnosed James with a history of chemical exposure, chemical sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, Bowel cancer, Carpel tunnel syndrome and Toxic brain syndrome

On 8 August 1995 the Canadian Veterans Review and Appeals Board rejected his claim for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) as “Not attributable to service in the regular forces while attached to the special force in a theatre of operations (Korea).” In doing so they did not disclose the existence of the “Handbook of Army Health, 1950,” of which they were well aware, as it’s contents disputed the biased, incorrect statements made by the Pensions Medical Advisory Directorate, which the Board accepted without question in rejecting his claim. Some of that Directorate’s absurd statements were – “the medical records do not give any evidence of exposure to DDT, DDT is highly soluble in water and therefore exposure to it in the trenches would have been negligible. One would expect that if the veteran had sensitivity to DDT he would have become sick on exposure and remained sick until the chemical was excreted from his body and not in 1994 when the chemical was not available on this continent.” – all of which shows complete ignorance

After obtaining a copy of that handbook, of which existence he had been unaware, and requesting a review, the Board, on 9 January 1996, overturned the previous decision and found that “00329 Multiple Chemical Sensitivity was attributable to service in the regular forces while attached to the special force in a theatre of operations (Korea).

In a signed statement by Dr John Molot, MD,CCFP reported that:

James Cotter first saw me in February 1997 with multiple somatic complaints including fatigue, tension headache, myalgia in his neck, back and limbs; arthralgia in his knees; palpitations, cough, shortness of breath, heartburn, oral and intestinal flatulence, abdominal cramps, anal itching, nausea, urgency to defecate, poorly formed stools abdominal bloating, generalised pruritis, itchy ears, tinnitus, earaches, ear congestion, itchy eyes, nose and throat, sore throat, post nasal drip, decreased sense of smell, anxiety, depression, decreased attention span, poor concentration, poor memory, lightheadedness, and  distractability.

He sleeps 10-15 hours per night with fragmentation and poor restoration. He naps minutes to 1 hour daily. He has frequent nightmares. He has significant Cacosmia (adverse reactions to chemical odours) with aggravation of symptoms on exposure to odours of perfume, fresh paint, gasoline products, detergents, fabric softeners, bleach, chlorinated swimming pools, floor wax, moth balls, fresh asphalt, varnish and shellac.

He has seen many physicians and has been diagnosed with chronic neurotoxicity or chronic neurotoxic encephalopathy with prior exposure to DDT, and possibly mustard gas. Neuropsychological testing gives a diagnostic impression of 1. PTSD (Korean War). 2. Toxic Brain Syndrome. SPECT brain scan performed September 1996 was abnormal and consistent with chemical neurotoxicity. A full audiological evaluation by Dr Lamotte reported bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, moderate to severe, most likely related to chemical neurotoxicity exposures and the degree of Cacosmia correlates directly with a degree of central nervous change and disability.” Dr Molot diagnosed James Cotter’s disease as Chronic Chemical Neurotoxicity (type 2 – World Health Organisation Classification)

After fruitless examinations by more than 32 doctors and more than 500 useless examinations and tests, years of undiagnosed and untreated ill health, and more than 40 years of fighting by a very disabled and sick veteran and examinations at Dallas paid for by him ($10,000) James Cotter has, finally, as a result of his exposures to toxic chemicals in the Korean War been diagnosed by 3 Canadian and 2 American doctors with the disease of MCS and had the diseases of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Osteoarthritis Right knee, Osteoarthritis Left knee, Major Depression with Panic Attacks, Toxic Encephalopathy and

Peripheral Neuropathy accepted by the Canadian Veterans Review and Appeals Board Canada, dated 13

March 1996, Decision no 4621215

Even more significantly he has had 7 diseases recently accepted as “a direct consequence of his war accepted disease of MCS” by the Canadian Veterans Review and Appeals Board Canada, dated 5 January 1999, Decision no 6356696. They include Toxic Encephalopathy, Peripheral Neuropathy, Hearing Loss, Loss of Teeth, Optic Neuropathy, Osteoarthritis Cervical Spine and Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine

Epilogue 1:

Contrary to what spokesmen state “on behalf of the Australian government” and the recent poorly prepared, very biased decision by the RMA, which does not accept MCS as a disease, nor treat those diagnosed with it, based wrongly, principally, on now highly discredited “workshops” held in Berlin in 1996, attended only by commercial chemical companies with the express aim of denigrating MCS, James Cotter is receiving not only considerable appropriate treatment for those diseases including chemical injury and MCS with all costs borne by the Veterans Affairs Canada, including “everything that enhances his quality of life

In sharp, dramatic contrast in Australia, in the reports of the Vietnam Veterans’ Mortality and Health Studies, exposures to toxic chemicals in that war were written out in a half a page for reasons which are incorrect. It seems clear that in those studies the study committees were deliberately stacked and the Protocols followed were inappropriate

A similar situation appears to be clearly happening in the current Korean Veterans’ Mortality Study (Health studies are not yet approved) for the same reasons. The two committees established in February 1998 are desperately trying to ignore the whole subject of exposures to toxic chemicals in accordance with the Australian “Handbook of Army Health. 1950” and other written instructions issued in Korea, including the aerial spraying of our forward combat units in accordance with a secret instruction issued by General Ridgway, Commander 8th Army

It is clear that when, and if, this issue is ever dispassionately, properly and scientifically examined in Australia and Korean War veterans and their doctors are adequately informed of the issues and symptoms involved the figures for those veterans being diagnosed with chemical injury and MCS from exposures to toxic chemicals will rise dramatically

From all my detailed, strongly supported research, world-wide, there is a very clear thread running the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and subsequent conflicts of regular exposures to a wide range of toxic chemicals, including insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, rodenticides, miticides, radon gas, radiation, possibly mustard gas, toxic pharmaceuticals and petro chemicals and consequent early, untimely deaths and of veterans, still living in confusion, pain and bewilderment, with a wide range of illnesses and diseases not understood nor treated by their doctors

Quite unlike the USA, Canada and recently the UK, in particular, the Australian government, DVA and the RMA seem vehemently determined not to face up to the terrible disabilities that have, by government direction, been inflicted on their servicemen and their families

In the case of the Gulf war following years of heated, incorrect denials from the US DOD, doctors, scientists, Congressmen, their VA department, and others, and as a result of sustained public pressure:

two unpublished reports by VA (USA) that of 80,000 US veterans of the Gulf War, 28% (22,400) have CFS, 18% (14,400) have FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome), and that 12% (9,600) have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.” In a letter to me from the US Executive Director of MCS Referral and Resources he states that 36% (28,800) have now been diagnosed with MCS. The causes of such symptoms of the Gulf War Syndrome included exposures to toxic insectides, pesticides, solvents, toxic pharmaceuticals and petro-chemicals, to all of which Australian Korean War veterans were exposed. He also recently stated that of the recent 561 peer-reviewed journals, papers etc, 2/3 rds now accept MCS as a clinical disease, not of psychosomatic or psychiatric origin

As a result, on 4 August 1999, in the US House of Representatives, a Bill accepting compensation for illnesses arising from exposures to toxic chemicals, which recognises MCS, CFS, and Fibromyalgia and other related illnesses and diseases, the “Persian Gulf War Syndrome Compensation Act of 1999” was enacted

In the words of Lieutenant Colonel Colin Brown, Korean veteran and author of “Stalemate in Korea”:

When soldiers are committed to battle, they place their faith in their commanders and beyond them their politicians, to give them all possible support.

“If the Federal authorities continue to deny a sympathetic understanding and acceptance of the serious repercussions caused by the intense use of such chemical agents, they are guilty of a breach of faith with those who were so unwittingly exposed. They are now suffering severe disorders far beyond the average of the population not so subjected, whose average standard of health was lower than that of the volunteers at the time of their entry into Korea.

“What is needed is a better understanding and acceptance of the problems relating to toxic chemicals by those most qualified in this field and their views should be put convincingly to the authorities.

“It is disgraceful that it took the Canadian DVA forty five years to accept a seriously disabled serviceman’s plea for a pension for the condition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. It is a sad reflection on our Australian system that we are even further behind and even more intransigent than the Canadians.

 Epilogue 2:

In more recent times the members of the two Australian Korean War veterans study committees and the Canadian DVA and some doctors have attempted to denigrate the decisions made concerning James Cotter on the basis that they were only made for a very sick veteran to keep him quiet and were incorrect

All the recent many attempts by a Canadian – Dr Cook, and others, (apparently by direction and possibly with the connivance of the Australian DVA) to denigrate and overturn the acceptance in 1996 of his Korean War caused MCS and the other 7 illnesses that arose from, or were due to his Korean War caused MCS and to denigrate the need for a wide range of essential treatments for MCS have all come to naught

This follows a recent 3.5 months of detailed study of his case and their 4.5 hour examination of him by the Toronto Sunnybrook Environmental Health Clinic, as detailed in the report dated 30 May 2001, in which they list all his accepted illnesses or diseases, including MCS, and list all the many essential treatments required including that for MCS, all of which were supported in a letter dated 17 September 2001 from Canhealth Medical Clinic to Dr Cook

In September 2001 in a poorly prepared, very one sided and biased decision our RMA determined that they do not propose to make a Statement of Principles (SoP) for MCS as it is not a disease, and an extraordinary statement that all other illnesses or diseases that can result from, or be due to, exposures to toxic chemicals are already adequately covered in existing SoP’s statements which is bound to be shown as demonstrably incorrect. As a direct result on behalf of all veterans of at least all wars since 1945, Major General Stevens, Repatriation Commissioner and Chairman of the study committee, was formally requested on 4 October 2001, under the legal contents of section 180A which came into legal effect with the RMA’s determination, to establish a small team of experts to report to the Repatriation Commission on the production of its own Statements of Principles for each and every injury, illness and disease which can be due to, or arise out of, such exposures, including one for MCS, as our veterans and others are legally now entitled to such and precedence already exists where such was done for 4 leukaemias (only for Vietnam veterans). That request was formally supported by several Korean veteran organisations and others which are involved in the health of our veterans disabled from, or who have died from, such exposures. More than 7 months later, despite regular hasteners, he is refusing to do so

A photo copy of the cover of the SPECIAL EDITION of  “THE 38th” is depicted stating that the next meeting would be held on “10th July 2002, KEW R.S.L. 11.30 AM START”

The address for the “KOREAN VETERANS’ R.S.L Sub-Branch is given as

14 Stratford Ave
East Bentleigh 3165


Dated 27/5/2003.

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