Grassroots specialist on Gulf War illness speaks Feb. 13
February 1998

The Civic Media Center will host a presentation by Joyce Riley (RN, BSN), founder and spokesperson of the American Gulf War Veterans Association. The program is on Friday, the 13th of February at 7 p.m., at 1021 W. University Ave.. Riley is a frequent guest on talk radio programs regarding Gulf War Illness and is a strong critic of both the lack of medical treatment of symptomatic Gulf War veterans and of the Pentagon and Department of Defense withholding and/or deceit regarding the truth of the situation regarding chemical and biological weapons in the Gulf conflict.

Ms. Riley served in the Gulf War as a captain in the USAF reserve and flew C-130 missions in support of the war. Her passionate concern for Gulf War vets and her strong medical knowledge make her a leading critic of US Government policies regarding Gulf War Illness.

According to the mission statement of the American Gulf War Veterans Association, the AGWVA "was established with one goal in mind: To obtain treatment for those service members and their families who experience symptoms collectively known as the 'Gulf War Illness.' However, there is more to this issue than meets the eye. As this investigation into causation has now progressed into the arena of possible exposure to chemical and/or biological agents, radiation poisoning due to the use of depleted uranium and most disturbingly, the use of our fighting men and women as "Guinea Pigs" in medical experimentation, the AGWVA has now added a second goal: To obtain justice and compensation for all those affected by these illnesses. Our troops returned home after serving their country with an illness that appears to be spreading into the general population, treatment is being denied and to date there are no safeguards of our blood supply. Those responsible have passed the burden of proof onto those that are suffering and least able to fight the enormous bureaucracy of governmental agencies that are more concerned with avoiding admission. America wants to know why."

AGWVA goes on to say: "For over three years the AGWVA has been searching for the truth and the documentation that we have compiled is voluminous. The Pentagon, Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Congressional Investigation into Gulf War Illness, the Presidential Advisory Committee and the Government Accounting Office have collectively spent over $100,000,000 'researching' the Gulf War Illness. Little if any of that funding has been used for the real treatment of the 700,000 troops that served in the conflict, over 100,000 have signed on with the Persian Gulf [War illness] registry. Ninety percent of those that contact the AGWVA report they are offered Prozac or some other psychotropic drug by Department of Defense facilities. The numbers alone demonstrate that the gulfwar illness has spread into epidemic proportions ...

"The mainstream media has also turned its back on the veterans and have shirked their responsibility to the American people to be the watchdog of government. With the exception of talk radio, local television coverage and hometown newspapers, the networks and news services have done nothing more than parrot 'official reports' offered to them by the very agencies that require investigation. Evidence from senate reports, congressional hearings, government documents and testimony from eyewitnesses have been ignored and gone unreported. ...

"Evidence ... points to causative agents creating the myriad of 'mysterious maladies' being experienced by America's servicemen and women. The recent Senator Riegle, Democrat from Michigan, went to the floor of the U.S. Senate February 9, 1994 and openly testified to the use of biologicals and chemicals and that he was aware of the communicability of the disease. "Their families, spouses and children are now sick." His concern extended to the public health risk of this communicable disease. Why did CNN news not air this information, why does network news (ABC, NBC and CBS) not inform you that thousands of our servicemen have died of horrible diseases for which we have never seen and for which the Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, all our combined government scientists cannot diagnose nor treat. ...

"The children of our veterans are now being born with horrendous disfiguring birth defects thus inspiring the formation of a 'Gulf War Baby Registry.' The problems will not go away. They are increasing on a daily basis. The military denies the increase in birth defects. Their investigation is deeply flawed...

"Riegle ... stated the following: 'To my mind, there is no more serious crime than an official military cover up of facts that could prevent more effective diagnosis and treatment of sick US veterans...It is an astonishing example of the lengths the Defense Department is going to deny reality. ... We have received the laboratory findings from a gas mask, its case, and filter, taken from the Gulf War Battlefield that reveals the presence of fragments of biological materials that cause illnesses similar to Gulf War Syndrome. These are horrendous statistics that show the true scale of this problem and the heartlessness and irresponsibility of a military bureaucracy that gives every sign of wanting to protect itself more than the health and well being of our servicemen and women who actually go and fight our wars.'"

For more information, contact AGWVA, 3506 Highway 6 South, #117, Sugarland, TX 77478-4401. 281-438-1699. Website:

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