Gulf War Illness Probe To Advance With New Study 
Gulf War Illness Probe To Advance With New Study
By PAUL LIKOUDIS
Dragon from art.com
Tom Clancy's latest novel Rainbow Six rivets readers with a fictional
account of environmentalist elites who decide that the only way they
can save the world is to radically eliminate over 95% of the human
population. Some of the world's leading scientists develop a strain
of viruses, which they call Shiva after the Indian goddess of death,
and devise an ingenious method to infect the world's population.
Part of Clancy's plot involves the development of two antibodies to
fight the new virus, one of which will be for the world's elite, to
inoculate them; the other for the sick, to make them sicker.
But there's a more riveting real-life scenario unfolding in the
United States and around the world that puts Clancy's fictional
thriller into the realm of the credible: the efforts of a small group
of reputable scientists, sick U.S. veterans, and a handful of
investigative journalists to unlock the secrets of Gulf War Illness
(GWI), sometimes referred to as Gulf War Syndrome, which has
afflicted between 100,000 and 200,000 military personnel who served
in President George Bush's Desert Storm and their families, and which
is responsible for perhaps 15,000 deaths.
The number of military personnel who have died of the mysterious
illness remains a classified secret, one of GWI's top researchers,
Dr. Garth Nicolson of the Institute for Molecular Medicine, told The
For nearly ten years, since his daughter Sharron returned from the
gulf where she served with the 101st Airborne, Nicolson and his wife,
Nancy, a molecular biophysicist, have waged a lonely, frustrating,
and often dangerous campaign to discover the causes of GWI while
working on a treatment.
Their first big break came last week (Jan. 12, '99) when they were
notified by the U.S. Army that their research had been validated and
their Institute for Molecular Medicine would be one of three centers,
with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the University of
Texas at San Antonio, involved in a $12 million Veterans'
Administration funded project to develop a treatment for the
debilitating and often fatal illness, an infection known technically
as mycoplasma fermentans.
Dr. Nicolson explains that slightly under one half of the Gulf War
veterans he has tested have shown signs of infection by mycoplasma
For the husband/wife team of researchers, the army's notice came as a
tremendous vindication after years of repeated attempts by government
agencies to ruin their careers, their credibility, and their
As both Nancy and Garth Nicolson wrote in the October, 1996 issue of
Criminal Politics, since he began researching the causes of GWI, he
has lived through a government sponsored "nightmare."
"We were attacked by high level military physicians, ostracized by
certain colleagues who spread rumors about our sanity, forced out of
academic institutions by a concerted effort that involved nonstop
administrative harassment, mail and courier theft, wiretaps, credit
card fraud, breaking a tenure contract, computer and documents theft,
attempts to block our scientific and medical presentations, sabotage
our clinical samples, and undermine our employees."
Their ordeal over the past eight years since 1991 has convinced them
that certain sections of the U.S. government, working with what might
be called the "eugenics elite" at the country's top research labs in
the fields of biochemistry and genetic engineering, are testing new
designer biologic agents on the American public, starting with
prisoners and military personnel.
Who They Are
The Doctors Garth and Nancy Nicolson are not your ordinary conspiracy
Garth Nicolson before setting up the Institute for Molecular
Medicine, a 501c3 corporation, in Huntington Beach, Calif. was the
David Bruton, Jr., Chair in Cancer Research and professor at the
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and
professor of internal medicine and professor of pathology and
laboratory medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at
He was also adjunct professor of comparative medicine at Texas A&M
University. Among the most cited scientists in the world, having
published over 480 medical and scientific papers, edited 13 books,
served on the editorial boards of 12 medical and scientific journals,
and currently serving as editor of two (Clinical & Experimental
Metastasis and the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry), he has been the
recipient of numerous research grants from the U.S. Army, the
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, the
American Cancer Society, and the National Foundation for Cancer
Research. In 1998, he received the Stephen Paget Award from the
Cancer Metastasis Research Society and the Albert Schweitzer Award in
Nancy Nicolson, a molecular biophysicist, was on the faculty at
Baylor College of Medicine's Department of Immunology and
Both scientists have been nominated for a Nobel Prize for their
groundbreaking work in nucleoprotein gene tracking.
In 1987, Nancy Nicolson believes, she was deliberately infected with
mycoplasma incognitus because she refused to participate in research
on biological weapons and germ warfare, and had, in fact, publicly
spoken in opposition to such research programs which are, in fact,
banned by international treaties of which the U.S. is a signatory.
She became deathly ill, becoming partly paralyzed; her thyroid was
affected and she contracted meningitis. But during this illness, she
found the antibiotic Doxycycline helped her regain health.
In 1991, six months after the Nicolson's daughter returned from the
gulf, Sharron came down with an illness remarkably similar to what
Nancy had just recovered from: chronic fatigue, aching joints,
diarrhea, vomiting, and fevers. The symptoms seemed similar to
mycoplasma infection, and so the Nicolsons recommended treating her
Sharron then began contacting her veteran friends, who were reporting
similar problems, and of the 73 who tried the treatment, 55 reported
an improvement in health.
Now the plot thickens.
That same year, Garth Nicolson began receiving reports of a "mystery
illness" spreading among the employees of the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice in Huntsville. Using gene tracking, the Nicolsons
discovered these prison employees tested positive for mycoplasma
Prisoners in Huntsville, Palestine, and Victoria, Texas, had been
given experimental flu vaccines purportedly developed by Tanox
Biosystems on Stella Link in Houston, a company with close ties to
Baylor, and the testing was part of a U.S. Army sponsored program run
by biotechnology firms.
The inmates at Huntsville then began spreading their disease to the
prison guards, who passed it on to family members and others in the
general population, who then started coming down with symptoms
similar to those of such dread diseases as Lou Gehrig's Disease, MS,
and Guillian Barre Syndrome.
As Garth Nicolson reported his discoveries, he encountered increasing
hostility from his peers, including Dr. Charles LeMaistre, a friend
of George Bush and the past president of the M.D. Anderson Cancer
Center; Dr. George Young, chief of the VA in Houston; and Dr. Robert
M. Couch, head of the Baylor Influenza Program, because his findings
implied illegal testing.
Among Tanox's investors are George Bush and his former Secretary of
State and fellow Texan James Baker III.
As opposition rose, so did their understanding of M.D. Anderson's
deep involvement in biological weapons research and testing since the
late 1970s, and that M.D. Anderson was specifically engaged in
research on mycoplasma fermentans as a biological weapon.
Garth Nicolson resigned under pressure from M.D. Anderson in August,
1996, and was ordered to remove all his research equipment and
materials from M.D. Anderson, where he had served as senior tenured
professor and department chairman for 16 years.
"The administration was trying to restrict our activities in the area
of GWI and I resigned because of my stand on academic freedom and my
right to pursue that particular line of investigation. I had
unanimous internal clinical review board approval for the research,"
he told The Wanderer, "but I suspect that then Major General Ronald
Blanck, currently surgeon general of the army, was pressuring the
M.D. Anderson administration to stop our research."
Spreading The Disease
In dozens of research reports for professional medical journals, and
in four separate, sworn testimonies before congressional committees,
the Doctors Nicolson state their belief that Gulf War Illness was
caused both by the vaccines soldiers sent to the gulf received and by
airborne chemicals released when U.S. troops destroyed tons of Saddam
Hussein's chemical weapons.
Their testimony is that soldiers were exposed to five possible
sources of exposure: vaccines, some of which were questionable and
were contaminated by microorganisms; blowback from destroyed
biological and chemical weapons; factories and bunkers which stored
the agents; approximately 60 Italian made biological weapons sprayers
that were fully deployed in southern Iraq and Kuwait; as well as
airburst SCUD missiles equipped for delivery of chemical and
Prior to deployment, the army administered vaccines, ostensibly,
against weaponsborn anthrax, to 150,000 soldiers, often eight or nine
shots at a time. Eighty-five percent of soldiers were told by their
commanders that they could not refuse the vaccines, under threat of
courtmartial, and 43% experienced immediate side effects.
Together, the vaccines and Saddam's chemical weapons produced a toxic
cocktail producing GWI, the symptoms of which include: aching joints,
chronic fatigue, memory loss, night sweats, headaches, skin rashes,
depression, muscle spasms, dizziness, nausea, vision problems, sex
problems, urination problems, hair loss, bleeding gums, vision
problems, and eye pain.
Perhaps the most frightening facet of GWI is that a large fraction of
it is a communicable disease caused by the biological weapons which
Gulf War vets have passed on to their wives, their children,
including those in utero, and even to pets.
IN HIS CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY, DR. GARTH NICOLSON STATED THAT THE
GULF WAR WAS THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THAT VACCINE RECORDS ON THE
TROOPS WERE CLASSIFIED AND REMAIN CLASSIFIED TO THIS DAY. THE
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAS ADMITTED, HOWEVER, THAT OVER 400,000
RECORDS HAVE DISAPPEARED.
Former Air Force Captain Joyce Riley, a Gulf War vet and another
major figure working to expose the causes of GWI, has concluded that
medical records of approximately 70% of all Gulf War vets are listed
ANOTHER BIZARRE TWIST TO THIS TALE IS THAT THE ARMY'S MEDICAL RECORDS
FROM THE GULF WAR WERE IN STORAGE AT THE MURRAH FEDERAL BUILDING IN
OKLAHOMA CITY WHEN IT WAS BOMBED.
What has alarmed the Nicolsons, and other researchers, is that
mycoplasmal infections are often relatively benign, but preliminary
investigations of some mycoplasma found in some Gulf War veterans
contains the HIV1 envelope gene, a component of the AIDS virus which
renders the mycoplasma invasive, enabling it to spread throughout the
body, alter DNA, and cause birth defects.
Another frightful scenario is the possibility that some vets, who
have been infected with the mycoplasma disease but as yet show no
symptoms, may be donating blood, and thereby infecting the larger
This is the view of Dr. Patricia Axelrod, one of the first to speak
out about Gulf War Illness. In a Dec. 12th, 1996 Montel interview,
she said: "We are dealing with bacterial warfare agents. We are
dealing with chemical warfare agents. We are dealing with radiation
poisoning. . . . The Department of Defense is covering this up."
Already, as Life magazine reported in 1995, an abnormally high
percentage of children with birth defects have been born to Gulf War
On Feb. 9th, 1994, former Michigan Sen. Don Riegle, Jr., took to the
floor of the U.S. Senate and reported:
"Records available from the supplier for the period from 1985 until
the present show that during this period, pathogenicbiologic agents
meaning poisonous and other materials were exported to Iraq pursuant
to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"Records prior to 1985 were not available, according to the supplier.
These exported materials were not attenuated or weakened and were
capable of reproduction. Thus, from at least 1985 through 1989, the
United States government approved the sale of quantities of
potentially lethal biological agents that could have been cultured or
grown in large quantities in an Iraqi biological warfare
program. . . .
"I find it especially troubling that, according to the supplier's
records, these materials were requested by and sent to Iraqi
government agencies, including the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission,
the Iraq Ministry of Higher Education, the State Company for Drug
Industries, and the Ministry of Trade. While there may be legitimate
needs for pathogens in medical research, closer scrutiny should be
AMONG THE CHEMICALS SENT TO IRAQ RIEGLE CITED WERE BACILLUS ANTHACIS,
CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM, HISTOPLASMA CAPSULATUM, AND BRUCELLA
"IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE IRAQIS WERE ORDERING," SAID DR.
NICOLSON, "THEY WERE ORDERING FAR MORE THAN WHAT THEY WOULD NEED FOR
LEGITIMATE TESTING PURPOSES AS CONTROLS FOR DIAGNOSTIC TESTING."
AMONG THE COMPANIES GRANTED EXPORT LICENSES TO SHIP THESE TOXIC
AGENTS ABROAD WAS THE AMERICAN TYPE CULTURE COLLECTION OF ROCKVILLE,
MD., AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S OWN CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL IN
ATLANTA WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SHIPPING SOME OF THE MATERIALS, ACCORDING
TO RIEGLE'S INVESTIGATION.
One of the strangest facts among the millions uncovered by
investigators such as the Nicolsons and Captain Riley is that Nobel
laureate Joshua Lederberg of Rockefeller University is on American
Type Culture Collection's board of directors.
Lederberg is not only one of the world's leading experts on
cuttingedge molecular biology and genetics, but was also named to
lead the presidential commission to investigate the Gulf War disease
by President Clinton.
Lederberg, a member of the Department of Defense Science Board and an
advocate of biological warfare, has helped steer Defense funds to
organizations working on biological warfare.
As chairman of the government's investigators into GWI, Lederberg
claimed that his researchers could not discover any cause for Gulf
Another Nobel laureate who figures in this drama is Dr. James Watson,
who won a Nobel in 1962 for physiology and medicine with two British
scientists, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilson, for his role in
unraveling the molecular structure of DNA.
In 1968, Watson became director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
of Quantitative Biology in New York, where he is a leading researcher
in the Human Genome Project.
Watson, with other doctors, was involved in the development of the
flu vaccine which was used on the inmates in Texas prisons.
Meanwhile, as the Clinton administration slowly changes its official
position that Gulf War Illness is a myth, the Department of Defense
acknowledges its past shortcomings in handling complaints related to
GWI and research on its causes; the Veterans Administration has
reported that the active duty tumor rate in the U.S. military has
increased more than 600% since 1990; there is a health crisis in the
gulf states, with an estimated 15%20% of populations "sick" at any
given time; birth defects and infant deaths are soaring.
In a September, 1996 appearance at Washington University in St.
Louis, Nobel laureate Edward O. Wilson, an environmental scientist,
spoke on the subject of downsizing the earth's population.
The mildmannered Harvard professor of entomology, reported The St.
Louis PostDispatch (Sept. 12th, 1996), explained how the earth's
population had to be brought down to "the hundreds of millions" for a
true ecological balance. . . .
"A single global policy on population is unfeasible, he said. But
efforts are under way in this and other populous nations to achieve
zero population growth and even depopulation, he said."
The March/April, 1996 edition of Foreign Affairs published an article
for its elite readership, "Why We Need a Smaller U.S. Population and
How We Can Achieve It."
The stuff of fiction? Not anymore.
"This story gets more and more tangled the deeper you dig," Dr.
Nicolson told The Wanderer.
Indeed it does, especially as GWI is exploding in the civilian
+ + +
For Gulf War vets, there is some good news, Dr. Nicolson said. "The
Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are now
allowing physicians to treat microplasma infections in Gulf War
Illness patients with antibiotics, according to our published
"This was not allowed just a few months ago."
Wisdom And Freedom produced by WORLD NEWSSTAND
Copyright ? 1999. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
page image by Terri Williams