« Home | Federal Court Orders Pentagon to Stop Anthrax Immu... » | Companies On the Fence About Biodefense » | DAFB civilians face 'backdoor draft' » | Fear as money: How one company, skirting regulatio... » | Louisville Guardsman Says Anthrax Shot Made Him Il... » | Pentagon says 200,000 who started anthrax-shot reg... » | Vaccine survey shows trouble at DAFB » | Local airman crippled by Anthrax vaccine, Bonner j... » | Fearful pilots reluctant to speak out » | The perilous experiment, part one: Four survivors ... »

The Rutherford Institute (TRI) Sues Donald Rumsfeld & U.S. Military on Behalf of Air Force Sgt.

WILMINGTON, Del.—Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed suit in federal district court on behalf of the First Amendment rights of Air Force Sergeant Jason Adkins, who was sanctioned after reporting to sick call and voicing concerns that he could be suffering the ill effects of a tainted anthrax vaccine administered to select military personnel. Sgt. Adkins is a 14-year decorated airman who served on the first C-5 aircraft flown into Baghdad in the recent Iraq War and other numerous classified special operations missions. The suit, which names Adkins’ supervisors in the Air Force, as well as James Roche, the Secretary of the Air Force, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others, was filed in federal district court in Wilmington, Del., by Institute affiliate attorney Thomas S. Neuberger of the Neuberger Firm. The complaint alleges that for five years the Department of Defense has subjected select military personnel to a dangerous experimental anthrax vaccine with life-threatening and debilitating side effects. Despite the DOD’s insistence that the anthrax vaccine is safe and effective, a federal judge recently ordered the Pentagon to halt the mandatory vaccination program.

“Since his first day in the Air Force, Sgt. Adkins has been trained in one basic sacred safety principle—that flight officers with unsafe medical conditions are not to fly. Even during a flight, if crew members become ill or overly tired, they are encouraged to declare ‘safety of flight,’ at which point they are relieved of their duties, no questions asked, and always without any fear of discipline or repercussions,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Sgt. Adkins felt it was his moral duty as a Christian to speak out against this injustice, and he should be commended for his bravery. If left unaddressed, the military’s actions could very well give rise to a dangerous chilling free speech effect on our servicepeople.”

All U.S. troops deployed overseas are required by the military to take a series of six or more anthrax vaccinations. Sgt. Adkins, a C-5 aircraft flight engineer, received eight inoculations. However, testing by the Food and Drug Administration discovered squalene in six of the inoculations administered to Sgt. Adkins. Research indicates that even trace amounts of squalene can suppress the immune system, causing arthritis, neurological problems, memory loss and incapacitating migraine headaches. In keeping with flight safety protocol, on Oct. 21, 2004, Sgt. Adkins reported to the Dover Air Force Base flight surgeon with a “crippling” headache and was subsequently grounded from a scheduled flight mission. Shortly afterwards, Sgt. Adkins was given a career ending written reprimand and was accused of dereliction of duty and faking his medical condition, allegedly in retaliation for having voiced his concerns that he might be suffering effects of the experimental anthrax vaccine. Other military personnel have since echoed Sgt. Adkins’ concerns about the effects of the tainted vaccine. In addition to the litigation, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are proposing that Congress adopt legislation to modify the Feres Doctrine, a Supreme Court opinion that arose out of Feres v. United States that shields the government from personal injury claims by servicemembers.

The Rutherford Institute is an international, nonprofit civil liberties organization committed to defending constitutional and human rights.