Tag Archives: Cancer

CURTAIN CALL: Report Marks End of 10-Year Online Journey

In contrast to my 2014 year-in-review piece in which I lamented the disappearance of more than 5,000 articles written and published on my site since October 2006, I’m sharing no news this year about suspected cyberattacks and other forms of online skulduggery. Instead, after writing and publishing more than 300 additional articles during the past 18 months, it’s time to say goodbye. Yes, this is the final curtain call on my 10-year career as an online purveyor of opinions, investigative reports and an occasional dose of humor.

Original caricature by David Donar.

My cartoonist friend, David Donar, drew this for my use as the “Ultimate Blogging Machine.”

Why the curtain call? Because I recently accepted a position with a Fortune 500 company and, due to time constraints, will no longer be able to continue this endeavor. I must say, however, that it’s been an interesting ride since the days when my website was known as “BMW: The Ultimate Blogging Machine” and ranked #82 among the world’s Top 100 Conservative Blogs.

As the virtual fabric of this curtain call, I’d like to challenge other journalists — including those “citizen” journalists so often looked down upon by many of my college journalism-school brethren — to pick up the torch and keep the sunlight of disinfectant shining on a handful of topics (below) that deserve continued attention:

• THE PENTAGON’S SEXUAL ASSAULT WITCH HUNT

Click on image above to read about military justice gone wrong.

Click on image above to read about military justice gone wrong.

Since the October 2011 release of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, I’ve been contacted by hundreds of individuals in search of help after they or a loved one found themselves falsely accused of crimes — usually involving members of the opposite sex — and, too often, convicted of those crimes in the military justice system. The case I’ve followed most closely since late August involves Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin and will, if I can possibly make it happen, will be the subject of my next book. It’s a big “IF” due to the career change, but I hope to make it happen nonetheless. My 49-minute Skype interview with Major Martin offers an overview of the people and allegations involved in this case prior to multiple dead bodies being discovered only a week ahead of the date on which the major’s court-martial was set to begin. It has now been pushed back to an as-yet-undetermined date in March 2016.

• INTERROGATION TECHNOLOGY

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

In April 2008, I wrote a short piece about the Pentagon’s plan to deploy portable polygraph technology to war zones, purportedly for use in interrogating terror suspects and others whose information might be valuable to our war effort. Twelve months later, I asked Pentagon officials a handful of questions about how well the portable polygraphs had worked during their first year of use. Unsatisfied with the answers I received which seemed to indicate the portable polygraph technology had failed miserably, I launched an investigation that would last more than four years and result in learning about an extremely accurate and effective interrogation technology that Department of Defense leaders had yanked from the “toolkits” of our warfighters.

Along the way, I interviewed men who had used that technology with much success. Among them, Defense Intelligence Agency contractors who interrogated members of Saddam Hussein’s “Deck of Cards” as well as al-Qaeda and Taliban terror suspects and Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs who had used that technology with much success on the battlefield. In addition, I obtained never-before-published copies of letters and reports written by men who had used that technology with much success to interrogate detainees at Guantanamo Bay during the early days of the Global War On Terror. In May 2013, I shared the results of my investigation in the form of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

• The Oklahoma City Bombing Trial in Salt Lake City

Click on the image above to read about the little-reported OKC Bombing Trial in Salt Lake City federal court.

Click on the image above to read about the little-reported Oklahoma City Bombing Trial taking place in Salt Lake City federal court.

Though many Americans don’t even realize it’s taking place, I’ve been writing about an Oklahoma City Bombing trial that’s been slogging its way through a federal court in Salt Lake City as part of a 19-year (so far) search for the truth. My most recent piece about the trial appeared under the July 1 headline, Pre-Blast Videotapes FBI Claims ‘Might Have Been Misfiled’ Remain at Center of Ongoing Oklahoma City Bombing Trial. Other recent pieces covered topics such as allegations of FBI witness tampering and the judge’s threat to slap FBI agents with contempt of court charges. In the interest of time and understanding what’s at stake, I recommend you watch this chilling one-hour video before you read my other posts about the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial.

Radiation Contamination in the St. Louis Area

Click on the image above to read about radioactive waste contamination issues in the St. Louis area.

Click on the image above to read about radioactive waste contamination issues in the St. Louis area.

In January 2012, I wrote my first report about radioactive waste issues in the St. Louis area. It had to do with a report about cancer concerns related to the Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo., the county just west and northwest of St. Louis County (Mo.). Three years later, I offered an update under the headline, New Weldon Spring Cancer Report Due Out Early 2016. Sadly, state health department officials have refused to provide answers to my latest queries. As a result, the final word remains to be written on this subject.

There are, of course, many more topics I’d like to highlight, but I’ll let you peruse them via the drop-down menu of categories located just below the “SEARCH” block in the right sidebar.

Before closing, allow me to suggest you show any appreciation you might have for my decade of work by purchasing copies of my books as Christmas gifts for the readers in your life:

• Chronicling the life story and wrongful prosecution of an elite Army Green Beret, Three Days In August received endorsements from Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs and Richard Miniter, New York Times’ best selling author and investigative reporter. For more details about the book, visit http://ThreeDaysInAugust.com.

• To read the list of high-power endorsements of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com.

• For pure entertainment value, I recommend you read about FBI Special Agent Joseph L. Wilson and his effort to solve the mystery behind the deaths of thousands of Americans during the Fourth of July weekend. The biggest challenge of his law enforcement career, the investigation becomes personal after Wilson realizes he shares one thing in common with those who died: The National Bet.

To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Thanks for everything and Merry Christmas to you and yours! It’s been a great ride!

FYI: Because I might write a few more pieces before the end of the year, I’ll leave this as a “Featured Post” until then. And, oh yes, I will keep posting occasional thoughts on my Facebook page.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

GROUNDHOG DAY: Missouri Health Department Official Tight-Lipped About Cancer Report Due for 2016 Release

“Bob, I am unable to speculate on any potential further updates at this time. As you may be aware, all information released for the department is available here. Thanks, Ryan.” When I read those words from Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, in an email message Tuesday afternoon, I felt like I was in the middle of a serious remake of “Groundhog Day.”

Click on image above to visit page Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, suggested I visit in lieu of providing me with answers.

Click on image above to visit page Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, suggested I visit in lieu of providing me with answers.

I call it a “serious remake” of the 1993 Bill Murray film, but not because it has something to do with the public health dangers associated with the long-term storage of radioactive waste at a place known as the Weldon Spring Site, located in a once-rural area about 30 miles west of St. Louis. Instead, his message reminds me of “Groundhog Day” because it’s so similar to the correspondence I had received from Hobart’s predecessor two spokespersons removed, Jacqueline Lapine.

When I tried, during a nine-month period in 2011, to find out from Lapine when the long-overdue five-year update to the 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report would be released by officials at the state agency responsible for keeping citizens in the Show-Me State informed about monitoring efforts at Weldon Spring, she gave me nothing useful.

It wasn’t until shortly after 5 p.m. Dec. 29, 2011, that I finally received a copy of the 2011 report, known officially as the Analysis of Leukemia Incidence and Mortality Data for St. Charles County, Weldon Spring and Surrounding Areas December 2011 (Update to April 2005 Report) and unofficially as the “Weldon Spring Update” or “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.” It came as an attachment to an email message from Gena Terlizzi, the woman who replaced Lapine who, presumably, moved on to new challenges.

To fully understand the issues at Weldon Spring, read this article before continuing.

Read about my "Uphill Battle for Answers" at http://bobmccarty.com/?p=1949.

The investigation that led to my first article about Weldon Springs in January 2012 (see screenshot above) began with state health department officials being very tight-lipped about the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Report. Read about it at http://bobmccarty.com/?p=1949.

Now, back to Hobart’s message highlighted at the top of this piece. It wasn’t our first exchange.

Our online conversation dates back to the morning of Oct. 21 and an email message I sent to Hobart:

Dear Ryan:

Five years ago, I communicated with your predecessors, Jaqueline Lapine and Gena Terlizzi, regarding the Weldon Spring Site where radioactive waste is stored in St. Charles County, Mo.

Because I had read in your agency’s 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report that the authors recommended “the Cancer Inquiry Program should continue to monitor the cancer incidence and mortality rates in Weldon Spring and its surrounding areas,” I asked for — and eventually obtained — a copy of the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.

Today, I’m repeating the process in hopes of obtaining an update about your agency’s forthcoming release of a 2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

With several national news media outlets, including CBS Evening News and the The Los Angeles Times, reporting recently about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste in the St. Louis County neighborhoods along Coldwater Creek colliding with an underground fire at the nearby Westlake Landfill, it’s imperative that your agency be transparent when it comes to testing and monitoring at the Weldon Spring Site.

At your earliest opportunity, I would like you to provide answers to the following questions:

1. When do officials at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services expect to release another five-year follow-up report (a.k.a., “2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report”)? and

2. Who, within the agency, is in charge of producing the five-year follow-up report?

Please let me know ASAP if you have questions or anticipate any delay beyond 48 hours in responding to my questions. Thanks in advance for your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

After five days passed without an answer, I left a phone message with Hobart Monday morning and followed up by sending another email message: “Are you ignoring me on purpose? I’ve emailed — twice now — and I left a phone message three hours ago.”

“Sorry for the delay,” he replied two hours later. “I will be back in touch as soon as I have responsive information to share.”

Almost 24 hours later, I responded: “Ryan, As a long-time veteran of public affairs work, I must say that six days is an unacceptably-slow response time and that delaying the release of bad information — if that is, indeed, the reason for your delay — never works out well for the organization behind the delay.”

Two more days passed, and I received a mid-Tuesday afternoon message from Hobart: “Bob, I am unable to speculate on any potential further updates at this time. As you may be aware, all information released for the department is available here: http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/cancerinquiry/reports.php#weldon. Thanks, Ryan.”

I responded two hours later: “Well, that’s a lame answer, because I’m not asking you to speculate. I’m asking you to tell me whether the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will be releasing an update on the 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report and the 2011 Weldon Spring Update. If public funds are being spent on preparing such a report, it is your agency’s obligation to inform the public as to how that money is being spent and when they might expect to see any official update.”

I ended my message by asking Hobart a question and sounding something like a game show host: “Is this your final answer, because it is about to go national. I’ll give you one more chance — 24 hours, to come clean — before the gloves come off.”

At 9:24 a.m. today, I asked Hobart one last time if he was going to provide me with genuine answers. He didn’t reply, so the gloves are off.

Stay tuned for more developments.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.