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Advertise on the Tentacle

August 19, 2010

Gawd, Here They Come Again

Norman M. Covert

(Editor’s Note: The writer is a Preacher’s Kid (PK), who has lived three blocks from Fort Detrick the past 33 years; his dear sister died in June from a gliobastoma multiform (GMB) brain tumor; he was present when Fort Detrick discovered the ground contamination at Area B; and was downwind when a backhoe punctured a container at the trench, filling the site with noxious fumes.)


Long-time Frederick residents are weary of the cast of usual suspects whose allegations of Fort Detrick atrocities have been hailed in the media and dashed by competent authority.


Randy White, man-from-out-of-town and darling of The Daily Blather, has decreed Fort Detrick guilty of murder by “Agent Orange.”


The local shoot-ready-aim journalism has ignored the checkered past of this disgraced former pastor. Randy White bears a shady background as purveyor of big-time, show-time, “Glow-rious” religion. The Rev. Mr. White makes Sinclair Lewis’ flamboyant Elmer Gantry pale by comparison.


He is one year removed from his pulpit at the Tampa, FL, mega-congregation “Without Walls Church, Int.” He is preaching from his newest bully pulpit in the name of his daughter Kristen, who died in 2008 from an aggressive brain tumor.


The history of misplaced media darts and accusations against Fort Detrick is a matter of record. If The Daily Blather would look in its archives, it will solve the mystery helicopter story reported last week. Its sidebar source said the Army secretly carried dangerous biological materials by chopper to be burned at Area B.


A U. S. Army Flying Crane helicopter toted non-functioning and decontaminated cooling towers from the old Pilot Plant to the landfill. Helicopters at Fort Detrick have borne passengers, not biological spray devices.


Research will reveal the farmer whose cattle died from contaminated feed; the gas station on Baughman’s Lane which was guilty of spilling fuel into the aquifer from leaking tanks; or the sad Dr. Frank W. Olson epic, which just never seems to go away and much more.


There also was Mrs. Lena Dinterman, who made Army Brass squirm, publicly parading disabled husband Buddy, a former laboratory technician. She reached agreement with the Army on a lump sum award and begrudgingly accepted that her husband’s infirmity was from a recurrence of polio symptoms, not exposure to a biological aerosol.


Fort Detrick has detailed records for all “at risk” employees. Family members may obtain copies by simple written request. Many former employees have shared these records with their medical providers.


The Army conducted two population reviews of “at risk employees” and found the general health of these now retired and aging laboratory personnel mirrored national health norms. Many of them never catch a common cold.


Likewise, the Seventh-day Adventist Church conducted a health survey of all White Coat human volunteer subjects (1955-1971). The results show no unusual long-term health problems mirroring public health norms nationwide. Results of the 2008 survey are yet to be released.


The recipes for 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T weed control agents tested in the green house by the Crops Division (1944-1971) were similar to the formulas for today’s commercial versions like “Roundup™.”


Agent Orange was never used at Fort Detrick. Its elements were, however. The thousands of Vietnam War veterans suffering effects from Agent Orange exposure were victims of the E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. mass production process that contaminated the original formula and created the toxic element Dioxin.


Dioxin, an apparently ubiquitous compound, may be detected in at least trace amounts in general soil testing. It was not present in mixtures tested at Fort Detrick.  Records are extant at the National Technical Information Agency repository in Alexandria, VA.


The Rev. Mr. White has made the Army squirm, as did Lena Dinterman; but his allegations are beyond the realm. He bandies words and shouts “Agent Orange” to local believers as he would seek an “Amen” at the camp meeting. His disruption of the civilian Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) at Winchester Hall was a disgrace. The committee was established to represent the voice of the community, not Fort Detrick.


The Army, so far, isn’t doing well in getting the facts before the public. To its credit, The Daily Blather reporter downloaded excerpts from my book, “Cutting Edge, a History of Fort Detrick, MD,” in which Agent Orange and Dioxin are discussed.


The Rev. Mr. White has raised millions of dollars for himself and his church since 1990 when he started the congregation in a store front in South Tampa. His ex-wife Paula returned to head up the church when he was sent off to purgatory last year.


The St. Petersburg (FL) Times reported that The Rev. Mr. White was forced to resign in July 2009 because of internal scandals, including the on-going federal investigation of his church’s finances. The article records his resignation in detail, including his wife’s 2007 divorce and the death of Kristen Renee to a malignant brain tumor.


What we have is self-anointed Bishop Randy White, going from defrocked status to a new means of income and IRS approved pseudo-ministry, taking full advantage of his daughter’s tragic death.


Originally the Kristen Renee Foundation was designed to help with brain cancer research and feed hungry masses. It raised huge sums of money and now Daddy Randy has taken the foundation in a new direction, which may bring more federal scrutiny.


The foundation is a smooth- running public relations foray raising big money, using Kristen’s memory to bilk donors. We may never learn what percentage The Rev. Mr. White receives from the take. The foundation will not share its cancer survey information with the Army, saying it has provided it to other government agencies. What a sham!


If the foundation believed its claims and surveys, it would sue the U. S. Army and let the chips fall where they may. National and local media coverage has encouraged more donors to sign up for The Rev. Mr. White and his newest medicine show.


The foundation brays that this young mother of two lived briefly in Frederick. She died of a cancer not related to any Agent Orange profile. When the facts refuted his initial claims, The Rev. Mr. White switched gears, saying toxic residuals rose from the ground and floated airborne across Shookstown Road.


Ms. Renee’s townhouse, built long after remediation began, had city water at the tap.


Records since 1991 indicate no trichlorethene (TCE) nor perchloroethene (PCE) has been detected on the west side of Shookstown Road. It flowed southeast between the streams feeding Carroll Creek and was never carried by the stream across Montevue Lane.


Cancer cluster studies were completed through the leadership of former Frederick County Health Officer Dr. James Bowes, who found nothing of significance. Even with better reporting and the less than scientific surveys of the foundation, results of new studies may reveal nothing out of the ordinary.


Among the charlatans of history, The Rev. Mr. White may be all spiffed up at a booth at the Great Frederick Fair next month. You will be encouraged to drink the “Kool-aid” he offers, but be assured he’ll be out of town before you digest it.


Now we know the source of money for the full-page ads, which obviously influenced the spectacular front page coverage. Publisher Myron Randle should be ashamed.


“Follow the money,” Deep Throat said.


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