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Military Families Fight for Autism Treatment

 By Angela Warner

A few days ago I received a copy of the Complaint (lawsuit) filed in US District Court in Washington, DC, against the United States Government, the Department of Defense, Tricare Management Activity, and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. You can read the Complaint HERE. Most of the letters cited in the complaint can be found in the Documents section on Autism Salutes (scroll down on the left side).

As a parent who worked on and continually wrote about what was happening with the legislative efforts mentioned in the Complaint, I have been very aware for years that the reason the DoD set up the ECHO program the way they did was to avoid paying for the expensive therapy that benefit our children with autism. That would be ABA therapy.

Since the Complaint was filed in US District Court, TRICARE Management Activity issued a letter on June 30, 2010, to the CEO’s of all its’ contractor’s, one of which is Humana. You can read the letter HERE. The letter stated that TMA was reviewing its policy on whether or not they would provide ABA under the basic Tricare program and that they expected to have this review completed by September 20, 2010. The letter also stated the contractor’s for TMA were to hold in abeyance until the review was completed; claims filed and authorization requests, for ABA. That means NO MORE DENIAL LETTERS for claims or authorization requests are to be SENT until the review is complete. Keep in mind, the letter from TMA was issued June 30th. On July 8, 2010, a denial letter was issued by one of TMA’s healthcare contractor’s.

All I can think of after reading the Complaint is that what the DoD has gotten away with, for YEARS, is criminal. There has been a complete lack of “checks and balances”. I’ll tell you honestly, I think the DoD under estimated military spouses and members who have spoken up to bring this about. I also think they have under estimated parents of children with autism across the ranks, and when I say that I mean those in the civilian world as well. We don’t put up with perfidy, and we certainly don’t tolerate crimes against humanity, which is exactly what has been committed by the DoD, and against CHILDREN! As a good friend of mine stated in a comment post the other day, “the genie is out of the bottle”. I am of the belief that those in government who have not supported our military families who have dependents with autism, these two “gentlemen” (pictured to the left), and the CEO’s of the healthcare contractor’s for TMA, should all be brought up on UCMJ charges or the civilian equivalent of such. Should this happen, they should each be sentenced to one year in the Brig or Prison for each child they; denied a claim for, denied an authorization for, and the number of years collectively that a child was not able to access ABA under their “ECHO” program because providers were not available under the program.

Essentially, a life sentence for each of them; that’s what they’ve done to countless children, sentenced them to a life in the prison of autism. This time, there is no more smoke screen, and the letter from TMA to the contractor’s was nothing more than that. If it was anything more, then every single employer at every Tricare contracted healthcare organization would be aware of what they had been instructed to do by DoD and TMA, and yet 20 days later they still don’t have a clue. Yes indeed, "the genie is out of the bottle".

Angela Warner is a military spouse, autism advocate and runs


David Marshall

No witnesses and not in the record.

In 2011 the needed for treatment experimentation evidence is still not in a subject’s medical record with the names of all in-service witnesses lost. The U.S. Government’s then 50 year known, “experiments that were designed to harm” [6] were a dereliction of duty in direct disobedience of the Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary's 26 February 1953 order.[2] During the U. S. General Accounting Office (GAO) [5] and U.S. Senate’s [6] 1994 reported past fifty years, hundreds of thousands of the "to harm" service records were destroyed in a 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. Congress’s 1974 Privacy Act censored experiment verifying witnesses from any surviving records! The Senate’s 1994 Report notes past and present, "III. Findings and conclusions", "K. DOD and DVA have repeatedly failed to provide information and medical followup to those who participate in military research..." and "N. Participation in military research is rarely included in military medical records, making it impossible to support a veteran’s claim for service-connected disabilities from military research."

To-date the U.S. Congress has rejected the U.S. Senate 1994 Report’s, “The Feres Doctrine should not be applied for military personnel who are harmed by inappropriate human experimentation when informed consent has not been given.”[6] The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1987 STANLEY is a “to harm” DOD 1958 drug experiment "injuries that `arise out of or are in the course of activity incident to service.'".[3] FIFTY (50) TIMES cited is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1950 FERES “incident to service” death decision due to a 1947 Army barracks fire.[1] The STANLEY case is one of the U.S. Senate’s Dec. 1994 “During the last 50 years, hundreds of thousands of military personnel” were subjected to “experiments that were designed to harm”, e.g., their reported biological and chemical agents, radiation exposure, hallucinogenic and investigational drugs, experimental vaccines and behavior modification projects.[6] Underlying the U.S. Senate’s Report is the GAO Sept. 1994 U.S. House Report, “Human Experimentation Overview on Co1d War Era Programs”![5] All with withheld needed for treatment evidence!

Convicted rapists and murderers are given protection from human experiments by the U.S. Constitution’s 1791 Bill of Rights, Amendment Eight. In 1992 the U.S. Senate signed and ratified the United Nation, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).[4] Its 1994 Index, “... Article 7 - Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”notes that, “Written policy and practice prohibit the use of” [prison] “inmates for medical.....experiments.”![4] Nineteen (19) times cited are the U.S. Constitution plus its Eighth Amendment’s no cruel and unusual punishment.[4]

The "Veterans Right to Know Act" to establish the Veterans' Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress.[7] A veteran's right to get the “designed to harm” [6] needed for treatment, and experiment identifying, evidence never became law. This is consistent with the 1957, “....The intelligence community believed that it was necessary "to conceal these activities from the American public in general," because public knowledge of the "unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions in political and diplomatic circles and would be detrimental to the accomplishment of its mission." Id., at 394 (quoting CIA Inspector General's Survey of the Technical Services Division, p. 217 (1957)).”; See [Footnote 4] of Section IV, 1987 STANLEY.[3]

It is now a from 1944, 67 years of U.S. Congressional talk and no correction. Do not the U.S. Senate’s stated DOD “EXPERIMENTS THAT WERE DESIGNED TO HARM” [6] continue? Overlooked by many in Congress is their Oath of Office to defend the U.S. Constitution, our national “Pledge of Allegiance” “with liberty and justice for all" and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ignored own, carved in stone over its entrance, “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW”! As in the GAO and U.S. Senate’s reported past, these “incident to service” activities are conducted under the ongoing secrecy cover of our ‘national interests’, e.g., WWII, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Shouldn’t U.S. Service Personnel and Veterans get back those Constitutional Rights that they die for and convicted rapists and murderers keep? Please hold your members in the U.S. Congress accountable!


[1] 1950 - Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, 146 (1950).

[2] 1953 - DOD Secretary's 26 February 1953 NO non-consensual, human experiment’s Memo pages 343-345. George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, "The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code; Human Rights in Human Experimentation” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

[3] 1987 - U.S. SUPREME COURT, JUNE 25, 1987, U.S. V. STANLEY , 107 S. CT.. 3054 (VOLUME 483 U.S., SECTION 669, PAGES 699 TO 710).

[4] 1994 - U.S. State Dept., "U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7 - Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” See “Index of “1994 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights"

[5] 1994 - [PDF] T-NSIAD-94-266 GAO September 28, 1994 “Human Experimentation Overview on Co1d War Era Programs”

[6] 1994 - December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 "Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans' Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century." Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 103rd Congress 2nd Session.

[7] 2005 & 2006 - "Veterans Right to Know Act" to establish the Veterans' Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress. H. R. 4259.


Ang, I live for the day when my son will sit on a jury to pass judgment on these people who have for decades perpetrated these crimes against humanity. I stay strong and fierce so that I can live long enough to witness the sentence being handed down and justice served. Punish them!


I'm not a military family but every other autistic child in my son's school is military. Why is that?

Amy Dawson

I have high hopes for this lawsuit! The future of military families affected by autism, and the rest of us as well, really does hang in the balance. All of us should pay close attention to this lawsuit because it is a harbinger of the future for health care coverage of medically necessary care for children who have autism. You can read more about autism and the fight for insurance coverage at


Ohhh Angela,
The way you write in this article scares me!


Because we all have been too sweet, for far to long.


Seems to me they're running scared... and the nice letter didn't stop those of us who already had a denial letter from submitting it to the lawyer!

John Stone

Why would anyone fight for their country anymore: their country doesn't fight for them.

Eisenhower spoke politely about 'the military-industrial complex'. Didn't he really mean racket? Patriotism has become a sick joke.

Maurine Meleck

And they certainly underestimated the number of children that would be affected by autism.
Maybe some years serving in Iraq would be appropriate for them too.
I hope changes come very soon. There is no standard on coverage for ABA at Fort Gordon. Some get it; others don't Thanks, Angela.


The use of human guinea pigs for nuclear tests, the failure to investigate illnesses caused by agent orange, the unnecessary use of biowarfare vaccines and failure to investigate adverse reactions, are all examples of the abuse that results from the absence of accountability. There have been failed attempts in Congress to overturn Feres doctrine, which prevents servicemen from taking legal action against the DoD even for medical malpractice, and prevents the DoD and its leadership from any consequences for their actions.

Servicemen's families can however file in court, and it is good to see this action going through - as you say, when children are the victims that is barbarism on a par with the worst of human history. This may bring real change, I don't think the letter of denial referred to is a big deal, it doesn't sound any more sinister than normal government incompetence.

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