Saturday, December 20, 2014

The US Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court To Deny KBR’s Request for Review

The Solicitor General, on behalf of the US Government, submitted a brief on Dec. 18, 2014 urging Supreme Court to reject the appeal request of defendant KBR in the Burn Pit Litigation case. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held in favor of the military personnel and their families in an action against KBR, and others, for negligently operating burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the brief The US Government recommends that burn pit cases be remanded to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings. The Solicitor General wrote, “…The petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied.” 

Cases in the Burn Pit multi-district litigation, KBR Inc. et al. v. Alan Metzgar et al., include personal injury and wrongful death claims by veterans against the military contractor KBR, Inc. in the management and operation of open-air burn pits in active war zones. Read more about burn pit litigation .


Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  have been representing injured military, government contractors and civilian government employees and their families who have suffered illness or injury as a result of burn pit exposures. To contact Jon L Gelman click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Toxic Trash Contamination on US Military Bases

Today's post is share from globalresearch.ca//

America’s military is the world’s greatest polluter. Especially in war theaters. During conflicts. Long after they end. Notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. Toxic wastelands and then some. Large areas unsafe for human habitation. Military operations generate hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic waste. Dangerous carcinogens. Including depleted uranium, heavy metals, hazardous chemicals, plastics, solvents, asbestos, pesticides, petroleum fuels, fungi, and bacteria. Poisoning air, water and soil. Affecting local populations and US forces. Causing virtually every imaginable health problem. Many longterm. Debilitating. Others potentially fatal. Including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal ailments, kidney and liver diseases, respiratory, skin and other infections, asthma, immune system suppression, ulcers, birth defects, severe headaches, emotional distress, pulmonary problems, sexual dysfunction and chronic diarrhea.

Open-air burn pits as large as 10 acres bear much responsibility. Used to incinerate trash. Notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. State-of-the-art incinerators when used release heavy metals, unburned toxic chemicals and entirely new ones during incineration. Hundreds. Potentially thousands. Many unidentified. Many more toxic than original waste burned. Remaining longterm. Some producing virtual permanent contamination. Once released, traveling vast distances. Via air and water currents. Producing global contaminants.

Affecting food and...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Former VA official: Burn pits could be the new Agent Orange

Today's post ids shared from america.aljazerra.com/

Click here to see video link.
Anthony Thornton has trouble speaking, can’t read anymore and has trouble keeping up with his 3-year-old daughter. He said he doesn’t remember everybody’s name.

Thornton, 35, suffers from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Doctors had to take out parts of his brain – his temporal lobe and part of his hippocampus.

“I’ve lost a lot, and what I would like to do, I don’t really have that anymore,” said Anthony Thornton. “I don’t like being like this.”

Thornton believes he got sick from toxins he was exposed to from massive, open-air burn pits while serving his country. Burn pits operated on U.S. military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan. At the height of the wars, more than 250 bases burned their trash, releasing large plumes of black smoke into the air.

“During the daytime, it was solid black. You could smell it,” he said. “And depending on where the sun was, it was so thick, it would block some of the sun.”

Thornton was a staff sergeant and worked as a prison guard at Camp Bucca in Iraq. He said the smoke from burn pits lingered above his living quarters. He was diagnosed with asthma and bronchitis while he was in Iraq. Three years after he came home, doctors found the tumor.

Kerry Baker is a former Veterans Affairs official who has analyzed the toxins found in burn pit smoke. For three years since he left the agency, he’s been fighting to get the Department of Defense and the VA to recognize that burn pit exposure has sickened veterans.

Click here to see video link.
“Some of them are dying,” Baker said. “We have claims from widows whose [spouses] have died from various types of cancers. We have claims from young guys who just have diabetes or have lymphoma or have leukemia.”

Dr. Craig Postlewaite, the Department of Defense’s top public health official, said they’ve looked at numerous students and found no proven link to burn pits for long-term health effects.

“We know that people are sick, we’re really trying to do our best to determine if burn pits are responsible,” Postlewaite said.

The Department of Defense and, by extension, the Department of Veterans Affairs do not acknowledge that toxic exposures from burn pit smoke could have sickened servicemembers. That’s left veterans like Thornton fighting for compensation and recognition that they believe is owed to them.

As a result of the lobbying efforts of advocacy groups like, Burn Pits 360, the VA started an online registry for people who feel they are sick from burn pits.

After opening in June, 25,000 people have signed up so far.

But Baker says the registry doesn’t go far enough and that DOD and the VA need to recognize the illness people are suffering due to burn pit smoke.

“I think it absolutely could be this generation’s Agent Orange,” Baker said.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Did 'Burn Pits' leave Iraq War Vets with life-altering illnesses?

Did 'Burn Pits' leave Iraq War Vets with life-altering illnesses?
December 1, 2014
Susan Burke, a lawyer who is representing some of the troops, explains.....

Click here to view the entire report.

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Related articles

TV Report to Focus on Burn Pits: Veteran's Illnesses and Fight for Compensation

Today's post is shared from multichannel.com/

Al Jazeera America will debut the three-part story Burn Pits tonight, where veterans discuss their illnesses and their fight for government compensation from the practice in Iraq and Afghanistan, the network announced today.   

Consider This will air the first report at 10 p.m. tonight (Dec. 1), while parts two and three will debut Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. on America Tonight.   Sheila MacVicar delves into the crisis of burn pits, where thousands of troops have been affected with life-altering illnesses, such as cancer and respiratory disease.    

The show presents stories from veterans and their families as they strive for compensation from the DOD and VA. MacVicar also brings viewers to the doctor at the forefront of the diagnosis, as he finds out about the continuation of burn pits, which was made unlawful in 2009.   

The practice is used  at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to burn trash, including metals, cars, electronics and human waste, which is in turn releases toxins into the air. 

 Along with victims, a former VA official and whistleblower is interviewed, where he says the DOD is not taking responsibility for the link between veterans' illnesses and burn pits.   

- See more at: http://www.multichannel.com/news/networks/al-jazeera-america-air-burn-pits/385952#sthash.qX9UHt1a.dpuf

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Veterans claim contractor in charge of burn pits is responsible for lung illnesses



Today's post is shared from pbs.org/

Sgt. Robert B. Brown watches over the civilian Fire Fighters at the burn pit at camp Fallujah, Iraq as smoke and flames rise into the night sky behind him on May 25th, 2007. Official USMC photograph by Cpl. Samuel D. Corum
Sgt. Robert B. Brown watches over the civilian Fire Fighters at the burn pit at camp Fallujah, Iraq as smoke and flames rise into the night sky behind him on May 25th, 2007. Official USMC photograph by Cpl. Samuel D. Corum

Susan Burke

TRANSCRIPT

GWEN IFILL: Brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder are two well-known signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But there is another injury, lung disease, that afflicts tens of thousands of veterans. Many blame a single defense contractor and have filed a class action lawsuit, a case that has now made its way to the Supreme Court.
NewsHour producer Dan Sagalyn has been covering this, and Hari Sreenivasan has the story.
MAN: We have a burn pit down here.
HARI SREENIVASAN: This shaky video of smoke from burning garbage was shot by an American soldier in Iraq in 2008. Throughout most of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military used so-called burn pits to dispose of virtually all waste.
MAN: That is what we leave next to. Luckily, the wind is not blowing our way today.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All kinds of things went up in smoke, from batteries, paint, solvents and tires, to newspapers, plastic water bottles, styrofoam, electronic equipment, and shipping materials such as plastic wrap. Even whole vehicles were burned.
At large bases, 30 to 40 of tons garbage were burned every day. At the gigantic logistical hubs, three to five times that amount was burned. Sometimes, jet fuel was even used to ignite the trash....
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Click here to watch the video


Friday, November 14, 2014

The PBS NewsHour will broadcast its story about the Burn Pit Litigation case on Monday, November 17.


The PBS NewsHour will broadcast its story about the Burn Pit Litigation case on Monday, November 17. 

The PBS NewsHour is broadcast on PBS between 6pm and 7pm EST on about one third of the network, and then rebroadcast between 7pm and 8pm EST, and then again on the west coast between 6pm and 7pm Pacific time.

Here is the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWD4IQw2Ga4&feature=youtu.be

If you miss the broadcast you’ll be able to watch the story athttp://www.pbs.org/newshour/

There will also be a slide show and excerpts of some of the interviews.