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Sep-19-2010 01:11printcommentsVideo

Camp Lejeune is Amerika's Kursk

The difference is that the Kursk's sailors have all died and some Marines still have a chance.

Wreckage of The Kursk
Wreckage of the Kursk, a Russian submarine that sank and went to the bottom with many crew members still alive. Their accounts were discovered in notes written during their final days in the dark. The dark is where ignorance roams freely. Wikipedia photo

(SALEM, Ore.) - There is a certain level of audacity in America's perceived greatness.

In reality Marine and Navy brass are exactly like those political leaders in Moscow who knew the sailors aboard the submarine Kursk were dying after the vessel foundered from a merciless explosion.

Suffocating, scared, terrified, literally wondering where their next breath will come from.

These leaders take the PR road and bypass the highway of truth. It is unforgivable and I think they should receive charges and receive general court martials.

Camp Lejeune is our Kursk and people should be really steamed about it.

After being caught red handed in a lie by the Associated Press in February of this year over benzene level modifications in evaluations taken on the North Carolina base, the Marines in charge just keep flipping through their playbook.

One move showcased the Marine Corps' regard for their own like few others; it was their use of a captain to address the national media over Camp Lejeune's contamination in 2009. Most would expect something more, the generals must have been busy.

Plus, it is important to note that the Marines really work the AP and the networks. They come up with all kinds of BS and we have to remember that. They are fighting with no regard for the truth, and that shared common denominator makes all of the involved agencies very dangerous, but the Marines in particular.

The problems go way back. There are cemeteries full of infants from the Vietnam War era near the base. Camp Lejeune water has been wreaking havoc on Marines and their families for several generations. It isn't theory. We have had contact with several moms who lost children at Lejeune as Marine wives. At one point in the late 1960's the Marines began insisting that stillborn babies were cremated, not buried.

Again, appearance over reality is their interest. I think there is a special place in Hell for people who make those kinds of decisions. Marines have some degree of free will, particularly the top brass, and there are so many who could have spoken up, said something, anything...

Smedley Butler they are not. Over a 34-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye". Major General Butler was a Marine's Marine, in the sense that he cared about the right things.

He had an absolute unwavering allegiance to honesty, unlike so many of today's leaders. At the time of his death, Smedley Butler was the most highly decorated in U.S. history[1] .

When it comes to the Camp Lejeune story, the national media isn't looking the other way. One of the most honest and consistent media groups, McClatchy Newspapers, reported 13 Sept. 2010 that a Congressional probe is being launched over the benzene level fabrications.

From McClatchy:

Thirteen years ago, a federal scientific agency in Atlanta issued a sweeping report on the potential health effects of 30 years' worth of contaminated water at the big Marine base at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

It concluded that exposed adults were unlikely to get cancer from the water.

However, the report failed to consider more closely the effects of a key poison: benzene, which is a component of fuel and a chemical known to cause cancer.

The omission happened even though scientists had been warned that they were overlooking crucial data, and even though the scientists themselves had reviewed a document that mentioned the benzene contamination.

Now the 1997 report has been withdrawn, millions of tax dollars are being spent for more research and congressional investigators want to know what went wrong. Marine veterans and their families across the U.S. continue to wonder whether a slate of cancers and other illnesses can be connected to their time at Camp Lejeune.

"There was evidence that there were very high levels of benzene in the drinking water, and they did not include benzene in the assessment," said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee[2].

An article published Thursday by Barbara Barrett of McClatchy Newspapers, VA says no link yet between water, illnesses at Marine base, cites an official from Veterans Affairs telling Congress Thursday that regardless of evidence of widespread drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune:

"The agency doesn't think that the science yet exists to link exposure to the toxic water led to a host of cancers and other diseases suffered by former base residents."

You know that up and down hand motion people make when they think they are listening to something really stupid and needless? The silent sign of mental masturbation?

Whatever it is, I am doing it right now in regard to the absolute ridiculous nature of Marines saying that while the base is very contaminated, and there are generations of sick Marines with extremely consistent problems very in line with the results of chlorine based solvent and benzene contamination, that no "science" exists to back the claim.

So far only 20 Marines have been approved by the VA for conditions relating to Camp Lejeune's deadly toxic water, but that is a small sign of progress.

From the article:

A Veterans Affairs official told Congress on Thursday that despite the evidence of widespread contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune, the agency doesn't think that the science yet exists to link exposure to the toxic water led to a host of cancers and other diseases suffered by former base residents[3].

The LA Times article Marines with cancer decry Corps' silence about tainted water, examines the story of a Marine, Peter Devereaux, who checked into Camp Lejeune in 1980, unaware of all of the terrible human body eating chemicals he was being exposed to.

From the LA Times article:

As a Marine stationed at the sprawling military base along the North Carolina shore, Devereaux said, he led a healthy lifestyle. When he was diagnosed in early 2008 with a rare disease — male breast cancer — Devereaux did not connect his illness to Camp Lejeune.

But six months after he'd had his left breast and 22 cancerous lymph nodes removed, he received a letter from the Department of the Navy informing him that in the 1980s, "unregulated chemicals were discovered" in the drinking water at the camp's Hadnot Point water distribution system[4].

Jerry Ensminger and his daughter Janey
Courtesy: Ensminger family

Peter Devereaux, Mike Partain, Jim Fontella... the list of names is long; all men who suffer breast cancer and who spent time at Camp Lejeune.

Then there is Jerry Ensminger; one of thousands of former Marines, Marine family members and civilian base employees who were exposed to contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Jerry lost his daughter Janey in 1985 when she was 9-years old. Once he drew a connection between her death and the contamination on the Marine Corps base, his efforts have been relentless.

The chemical agents that caused the problems at Camp Lejeune are TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCE (perchloroethylene).

Many say we should not write overly emotional articles but good luck, if you knew half of what I did you too would be unable to contain your more vicious more angry side.

Why the anger and venom? Because I was an El Toro Marine.

We have the same exact problem as the Marines of Lejeune; we're sick from chlorine solvent contamination, rotting from the inside out as advocate Nicole Wright said Tuesday in Irvine when the El Toro matter was brought up in front of the Irvine City Council.

Why the Kursk?

The Sinking Of The Kursk

No other story needs to be told. Mother Russia had a chance to save her men, but the decision makers chose to let them die, just like the Marine Corps and the Dept. of the Navy. Hell, the Navy doesn't like Marines in the first place. It was easier, less costly, and dead men tell no tales. That is why.

Another reason, is that these agencies have been guilty of so much for so long, that they literally feel like they can't tell the truth. If every serviceman and woman and civilian injured by Camp Lejeune's water received adequate compensation, it would be an astronomical amount. But they should have thought about this before. The problems and possible answers should have been laid on the table, at least provided for consideration by those who are impacted. Camp Lejeune Marines actually have received a letter from the government advising them of their possible health risks by having served there.

But of course the "science" is in question. The Marine Corps is a living breathing contradiction.

Russia lied repeatedly to the public about the Kursk. At first nothing was said at all. Sound familiar?

Two full days passed before the news was released. Military leaders said they had contact with the Kursk and that everyone was alive.

The fabrications were on a level with the US Navy and government's attempts to lie their way out of a deadly attack on an Iranian passenger airliner, Iran Air Flight 655, on 3 July 1988.

Russian families, the loved ones of 118 men, felt rejected and said Putin was insensitive to their tragedy.

According to Wikipedia:

"K-141 Kursk was an Oscar-II class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine of the Russian Navy, lost with all hands when it sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000. Kursk, full name Атомная подводная лодка «Курск», which translated, means the nuclear powered submarine "Курск" [АПЛ "Курск"] in Russian, was a Project 949A Антей (Antey, Antaeus but was also known by its NATO reporting name of Oscar II)[5].

Ego, Globe, Anchor & Red Star

It always comes down to the same things; money and ego. The Russian Northern Fleet had sat mostly idle for years in the 1990's due to a lack of funding. It is speculated that years of inattention led to the explosion the Kursk suffered at sea, eventually claiming all the lives of those aboard.

If Russia had acted more quickly, they could have possibly saved many, though in reality it would have had to take place unrealistically fast. Still, eight days? That was the final reality. The U.S. and Norway both offered assistance, but Russia turned it away. The stories of the men aboard this vessel suffering are horrendous and very real.

Camp Lejeune Marines suffer every day. Their country could help them, but that is a costly idea. So we learn the top leaders of the U.S. military group with the highest level of pride and effectiveness, are also the most dishonest and unkind toward their own. That is a sad paradox.

A friend of, Jim Fontella was
based at Camp Lejeune in 1966 and 1967. He was
diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.

Camp Lejeune is responsible for almost 70 documented cases of male breast cancer. We have written about this at length and I challenge anyone reading this to find another single location responsible for so many of these unique cases. Some survive, some do not. It isn't like gasping for breath at sea, but it comes down to the same essential thing.

The U.S. government could help Marines, they could investigate the real story with an honest approach. Hopefully this will take place via Congress. The corrupt conduct among these non-elected military leaders who know very well what they are doing, is astonishing. The fact that the VA sings the same tune of irresponsibility and denial is no shock, I wish it was.

Do we really exist at the same level as the financially broken former Soviets?

Captain Lieutenant Dmitriy Kolesnikov would likely think so.

This officer was among the initial survivors of the explosion aboard the Kursk, He and 23 sailors made their way to the sub's Compartment 9, at the very stern, after blasts destroyed the front of the submarine.

When recovery finally took place, teams learned the details of the experience from Lt. Kolesnikov by reading notes he had written. He and the 23 sailors waited out their last hours in the dark. The Marine Corps would like us to do the same, it will not happen if we have anything to say about it though.

Note written by Dmitriy Kolesnikov

Captain Lieutenant Dmitriy Kolesnikov

This whole question of the "science" behind the Camp Lejeune water debacle has been discussed heavily on these pages. The government comprised a group of "friendly" scientists to dismiss existing research that was very, very solid in June 2009. It seems they forget that so much documentation of their bad moves is in existence and easily viewed.

Saving face and wasting lives is the theme of this article. It does not make a difference where you are or what country you live in, though there are definitely countries, many in fact, that take real legitimate care of their veterans. The United States just doesn't happen to be one of them.

Referenced links:

[1] One of History's Toughest Marines, Smedley Butler, was Anti-War (VIDEO) - Tim King

[2] Congress to probe Camp Lejeune water contamination by BARBARA BARRETT - McClatchy Newspapers

[3] VA says no link yet between water, illnesses at Marine base by Barbara Barrett - McClatchy Newspapers

[4] Wikipedia page on Russian submarine K-141 Kursk

[5] Marines with cancer decry Corps' silence about tainted water - By Kim Geiger, Tribune Washington Bureau LA Times

This is a resource article. The links below should be all or close to all, of our stories to date regarding the water problems at Camp Lejeune. If you are looking for an article to circulate or blog, this is a good one as a good deal of time when into generating the stories available via the links below:


Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Rooster52 October 19, 2010 6:16 pm (Pacific time)

I am a product of the contaminated water at the Swamp Lejeune. It's a shame the military leadership in the USMC has defaulted its integrity to cover its six o'clock. Thank God there are still a few good men and women in the USMC!

Linda Ranes September 20, 2010 6:55 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for an excellent article. For me the fight will never end. Our servicemen/women and their families deserve better.

Maloubird September 20, 2010 11:09 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for expressing the frustration that all the victims of CL find themselves feeling.Semeper Fi!Mary Blakely

usmc_wlh1975 September 20, 2010 4:52 am (Pacific time)

There is much to be said for the comparisons made between the Kursk and MCB Camp Lejeune. It is a good straight line comparison and it fits. I would take exception on Lejeune being so special in the annals of US military history though, since there are over 170 contaminated bases in the US with the distinguished NPL designation. El Toro comes to mind pretty quick, as does the various radiation experiment exposures and all of the other underhanded and despicable projects which left Americans dead and dying without even acknowledgment of their sacrifices (until years later at any rate). Good article. Keep them coming.

David Bedworth September 20, 2010 3:29 am (Pacific time)

A great article! After listening to the hearing on 16th September it is apparent that the truth stated in this article is now out in the open. Thank you Tim for such honesty

Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change September 20, 2010 1:35 am (Pacific time)

Thank you Tim King, Bob O’Dowd and Salem News for keeping this issue in the lime light. Everyday more and more of our veterans and their family members are being diagnosed with various forms of cancer and leukemia in children, breast cancers and more. We need to band together and fight like hell with the DoD and the VA to force them to admit poisoning those who served and worked on bases nationwide. I have a challenge for everyone who reads the articles on TCE/PCE and other chemical exposures, to please send me an E-Mail and request a copy of the petition to push a member of Congress to sign the TCE/PCE Reduction Act, put to the floor, vote and pass so that our veterans and families can receive benefits and medical care!

Darrell September 19, 2010 9:15 pm (Pacific time)

I was a 3516 mechanic at El Toro 1969. We were using TCE on a daily basis, without proper safety protection. I went to the infirmary on several occasions because of stomach problems and throat problems. I believe my illnesses today could be the start of my problems.

Editor: Great to hear from you Darrell, please feel free to drop me an email:

Chuck Palazzo September 19, 2010 8:13 pm (Pacific time)

I would call us "dead men and women walking". Agent Orange, El Toro, and of Course Lejeune. Its been generations - going on 4 by my count. Once our generation is gone, the genes that have been affected will continue the destruction. Audacity indeed, Bob. Arrogance. Hoping we will all die off so as not to pay any benefits - but we refuse to go away without a fight! Thanks much Bob. -Chuck

Bob O'Dowd September 19, 2010 6:32 pm (Pacific time)

Excellent reporting. I'm forwarding this story to every Marine veteran I know. All of us were proud to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and call ourselves Marines. The Corps' leadership denies any connection between Lejeune contaminated well water and the diseases of men and women who served there. Their excuse is almost a mantra: "There no scientific evidence to support the contaminated water caused a particular disease." In fact, there's lots of evidence that exposure to organic solvents is linked to cancer and other deadly diseases, according to the Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry (ATSDR). Providing health care is the least the Corps can do for the thousands who served at Lejeune and are now ill for diseases that ATSDR links to organic solvent exposure. The continual denial of any connection to the contaminated well water and disease at Lejeune is incomprehensible.

Jimmy September 19, 2010 3:58 pm (Pacific time)

Hey kids, any ideas why the USS Memphis steamed away from the location of the Kursk's "accident" to Haakonsvern Norway to undergo repairs, just wondering...

Editor: Not sure Jimmy, will check it out, thanks!

Dea Hayes September 19, 2010 11:34 am (Pacific time)

As one of those effected-Excellant article... much appreciated.

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