Former Air Force Capt. Turned Activist Says
Pentagon's Actions Towards Depleted Uranium Use 'Beyond Treason'
Popular activist-broadcaster, Joyce Riley, hits government 'right between
the eyes' with powerful new documentary exposing cover-up of depleted
uranium illnesses, leaving Gulf War troops sick and dying.
August 24, 2005
By Greg Szymanski
There was a time in former Air Force Capt. Joyce Riley’s life when
everything was coming up roses. There was a time when the country girl from
Kansas probably felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, traveling down the
Yellow Brick Road.
And like an old song says, she had the “world on a string sitting on a
rainbow” during the late 1980s, as Capt. Riley fit perfectly into the
military scheme of things like a poster-child officer with her boots and
epilates shined to the tee every day.
Back in the good old days, Capt. Riley thought she had it all figured out.
She thought her life, the military and the world had a nice, neat little
yellow ribbon tied around it with smiles, happiness and a taste of the good
ole’ Irish whiskey to go around for everybody.
It was a simple, structured, follow orders kind of world Capt. Riley created
for herself. It was the kind of world where everything was taken at face
value without questioning much else but what was for dinner or who was going
to take the dog out for a walk.
Simply put, Capt. Riley was the type of person people like Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and others in the Pentagon enjoy having around. She was the
type that put duty, honor and country first, always trusting and never
thinking her superiors could stray from the straight and narrow.
And back in the good old days, Capt. Riley probably would have jumped head
first into the Grand Canyon if given an order. She probably would have
jumped, thinking all the way down better to die then to disobey an order.
But something strange happened to her on that long fall down into the great
abyss. Something happened while floating in thin air over the Grand Canyon
that lifted her up, gave her wings and gave her the courage to fly away from
military life and, more importantly, fly away from the “yes sir, no sir” in
your face type military thinking.
It’s the great Hindu thinkers who say that to truly understand life one must
travel full circle, disbelieving what once was believed and, in essence,
becoming one’s polar opposite. And, without knowing it or putting any
religious labels on her life’s journey, that’s exactly what happened to
Although her transformation from a military order taker and combat nurse to
“military pain in the ass” and activist didn’t happen over night, it
happened perhaps like a Kansas tornado strikes. It happened like a sudden
burst of wind quickly clearing the excess debris from her soul, leaving in
its aftermath a belief system torn to pieces but, at the same time, leaving
a body and soul left to be rebuilt brick by brick, one truthful step at a
And like most life transformations involving more than one significant
event, Capt. Riley’s is no different since her physical problems caused by
her stint in the military are every bit as important as the problems with
her changing belief system. In fact, both are so intertwined that her
physical illness after taking 10 unknown vaccines at one time in 1991,
mandated by the military prior to Gulf War I, actually led to her
present-day role as anti-government broadcaster, producer of documentaries
and activist fighting to save military lives affected by illness and
diseases from both Gulf Wars that are not even being recognized by the
“At one time in my life the military was the most noble cause I could ever
think of. I remember even writing in my journal back in 1991 how I had 10
vaccine shots in one day and how I would have taken 100 in order to serve my
country.” said Riley who now has replaced the captain in her name with
truth-seeker, as she talked openly from her home in the Midwest about her
“about face” from toeing the military line.
“George H. Bush was my hero back then and I remember getting into my flight
suit at Kelly Air Force Base, feeling extremely proud before being deployed
into Gulf War I while Bush was on TV saying: ‘This is the beginning of the
New World Order.’
“Looking back, it was so ironic. I was so enamored with Bush when he
actually sold destructive chemicals and weapons to Iraq in 1985 to 1989.
Without me knowing, he was responsible for poisoning us over there while, at
the same time, I was eating right out of his hand.”
Although Riley was never deployed to the Middle East, she remained stateside
working as a surgical nurse on one of the military’s C-130 flying hospitals
until becoming too ill to continue in December 1991.
“I had to quite flying because I was too sick and went into the reserves,”
recalls Riley, saying she was diagnosed with a debilitating type disease
with MS symptoms, causing extreme pain due to excessive nerve damage. “When
I received essentially no help from the military during the next few years,
I began searching out alternative cures and medicines since I needed to
continue working as a nurse to support myself.”
And it wasn’t until 1995 that Riley’s life drastically changed, becoming her
polar opposite on the other side of the military fence, after being shunned
by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veteran’s Administration (VA),
both organizations refusing to recognize that her illness was even remotely
caused by the vaccines taken in 1991.
“I was furious after I called the DOD and the VA and they wouldn’t lift a
finger,” said Riley, adding that it was difficult to get answers because the
military never labeled or even told troops what vaccines were being
administered. “And I found out to my surprise that if you were in the
Reserves or the National Guard, you couldn’t even use the VA hospitals. That
was a huge shock. I felt deceived.”
With virtually nobody addressing the vaccine problem in the military, Riley
set out to find a reason and a causal relationship between her illness and
the vaccines. By a quirk of fate and a stroke of Irish luck, she met Dr.
Garth Nicholson affiliated with a Houston cancer treatment center, who had
been researching Riley’s vaccine-related problems.
“Since a large number of Gulf War I vets were returning with the same
symptoms I had, he asked if I would submit to a test he developed,” said
Riley. “Sure enough, I tested positive like more than 50 percent of
returning Gulf War troops, which showed proof positive the vaccines were
most likely causing the illness since I never went to the Middle East.”
Armed with medical evidence, Riley decided to take her campaign to the
public air waves in Houston, buying air time on a popular Houston AM station
in an attempt to reach out and locate other Gulf War veterans with the same
As finances permitted, Riley continued purchasing Saturday air-time, calling
her show ‘Nurse Talk Radio,” as she tried to aggressively expose Gulf War I
illnesses while also turning against the military she once loved and revered
by exposing its failure to care for the ailing troops.
But like a gust of wind from a Kansas tornado, she said after researching
and reading a declassified Senate Report numbered 103.97 from the Veterans
affairs Committee, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, forcing her
to mount an even more aggressive public attack against the military, an
attack that is still going on today.
“It changed my life,” said Riley, referring to the Senate report. “I had to
go public and I have never stopped since the report was beyond belief and
appalling. It said, now get this, that during the past 50 years, hundreds of
thousands of military personnel have been medically and scientifically
experimented upon without their fundamental knowledge or consent. Can you
believe that! It’s simply disgusting and unacceptable.
“And when I finally realized the higher-ups in the military could care less
if the troops lived or died, my loyalty to the military and all it stood for
was completely over. I was now on a campaign and mission to get at the truth
and help as many people end their suffering caused by a lack of caring,
concern and cooperation by the Pentagon. I realized there was a cover-up and
I was the only person in 1996 to come forward.”
Riley not only came forward on Houston radio, compiling documentation from
many others suffering from the same vaccine-related illness, but she also
testified in 1996 before the Presidential Advisory Commission on Gulf War
Although amounting to mostly political rhetoric, Riley used the public
notoriety to form a private grass roots group called the American Gulf War
Veterans Association, a group seeking to unite afflicted veterans in order
to get redress both medically and financially from the government.
Slowly becoming a driving force behind the Gulf War medical care truth
movement, Riley began appearing on numerous radio and television stations as
she tried to drive her message home. And it was in the media frenzy of 1996
that another quirk of fate led to another life change, this time a personal
change leading her to the altar as she married Dave Von Kleist, an
enterprising Connecticut musician, disk jockey and anti-establishment radio
talk show host.
“I remember Dave called and wanted me on his show, but he was pretty tough,”
recalls Riley, as the pair now how have joined interests and skills,
combining since 2001 on a daily morning talk radio show on Genesis Radio
called “The Power Hour.”
“So, Dave tells me if what I said was true, to come to Connecticut and prove
it. I remember arriving with my documentation and besides appearing on the
radio show, being asked to speak before a group of 300 people, including VA
people and Congressmen. My information was well-received, but you have to
remember back then nobody really knew anything about Gulf War illnesses so
it was quite a shock.
And the union between Riley and Von Kleist then moved from the altar to
producing their first anti-military video called “Gulf War Illness: Fact or
Fiction,” a highly successful documentary still in distribution today and
originally sent free to all military personnel geared at getting needed
medical help for afflicted veterans.
Riley recalls a cool reception and butting heads with Pentagon officials
immediately after the controversial video came out, as she received an arm
twisting phone call from Capt. Chalker Brown of the Pentagon.
“He called and asked me to stop sending the video to the military bases,
saying that I was really one of them,” said Riley. “I remember telling him
if being one of you means allowing troops to die, then I no longer wanted to
be a part of the military.
“I also later was banned from speaking at local American Legion Halls by the
National American Legion Commander. Back then we used to travel around in
our RV, trying to get the message out and particularly trying to help the
many vets who were threatening to commit suicide as a result of being
ignored by the military.”
As Riley continued to defy Pentagon brass and especially trying to help
suicidal veterans, she said not long after the intimidating telephone
conversation from Capt. Chalker, she noticed when buying a used RV her
credit report and rating was illegally tampered with and her identity
“I found out my identity had been stolen, $100,000 was charged against my
name, 14 credit cards had been maxed-out using my name and even a federal
bankruptcy had been charged against me,” recalls Riley, saying she spent one
year of her life, as well as spending thousands of dollars in legal expenses
trying to clear her name, but never ever being able to absolutely prove the
government was behind the illegal activity.
“I of course have my suspicions, but I have never been able to prove the
Pentagon was behind it. When I went to the local federal courthouse where
the bankruptcy was filed, they even went to the trouble of constructing a
large file, all of it bogus but verifying the bankruptcy. My credit report
also had five aliases attached so, as you can see, it was the work of
somebody wanting to completely destroy my identity, good name and
Furious over possible government retaliation and stonewalling, Riley became
even more determined to make the military accountable as her talk radio
show, structured to empower people with knowledge, continued to bring
numerous people out of the woodwork with Gulf War related illnesses.
With her activism spilling over to the recent Iraqi invasion, she recently
has taken up the cause of stopping the illegal use of depleted uranium in
the battle field and pointing out its debilitating effects on troops and
civilians exposed to high levels of radiation.
Again upset by the Pentagon’s failure to recognize the problem or treat the
afflicted troops exposed to radiation, Riley set out to make another video,
this time alerting Americans about what amounts to a nuclear war going on
Iraq since the invasion as well as the Pentagon’s failure to clean-up the
nuclear waste or admit responsibility in taking care of the troops and
civilians poisoned by radiation.
“I met with William Lewis and I said If I had one thing to do in my life, it
would be this video project,” said Riley about what turned out to be the
video released last month called “Beyond Treason,” a documentary that
thoroughly analyzes the depleted uranium problem and the government’s lack
of concern about hundreds of thousands of sick and dying troops and
“I thought to myself if I had one shot to tell the world something, this
depleted uranium story was it. We wanted to let the world know what was
really going on and how the Pentagon really doesn’t care if the troops live
“These kids are coming back from Iraq sick and dying and the military won’t
accept responsibility. I wanted everybody to know since the Pentagon has not
acknowledged the illness, the VA hospitals cannot treat any of the soldiers
for what amounts to something they say doesn’t exist.
“I remember telling Dave that after the new video was released that the
suicide calls would start coming in to the show just like after the first
video. Sure enough they did and it just breaks my heart as I recently talked
to a 23-year-old girl who returned from Iraq who is sick with symptoms of
radiation. She also said that out of the 105 who returned in her unit, 93
have reported similar radiation symptoms.
Riley said another major reason behind the video is to alert every family
who may have children considering entering the military, saying she wanted
them to make an informed decision before sending them.
Riley again is giving away free copies of the video to all vets and enlisted
men, having sent out 10,000 so far, adding she intends to distribute
millions as she tries to reach every school and church in the country that
“The invasion of Iraq amounts to nothing less than a nuclear war and
hundreds of thousands of people are either going to get sick or die while
the government and the Pentagon sits idly by doing nothing,” said Riley.
Riley and Lewis, who wrote and produced the video, were assisted by numerous
military and scientific experts, who provided detailed research and proof
behind the enormity of the depleted uranium problem.
People like radiation experts Leuren Moret, Marion Fulk and Maj. Doug Rokke,
along with Dennis Kyne, Bob Jones and Mark Zeller, have all provided
documentation for the explosive video, which directly points the finger at
the Pentagon’s nuclear killing fields.
“It has been determined that the equivalent of more than 400,000 Nagasaki
bombs has been released in the Middle East since 1991,” said Moret, citing a
report and subsequent speech at a 2000 depleted uranium conference given by
Professor Yagasaki, a physicist and well-respected nuclear radiation expert.
And in the 89 minute video, exploring a massive government cover up, Riley
and Lewis point out the unexplained illnesses in civilians and military
personal may be the cause of depleted uranium or perhaps a combination of
overlapping causes, including chemical and biological exposure and the use
of experimental vaccines.
The writers of Beyond Treason, added:
“The ailing Gulf War heroes from all 27 coalition countries slowly die from
of “unknown causes,” they wait for answers from their respective
governments, but no satisfying or even credible answers have come forth from
the military establishment. Records that span over a decade point to
negligence and even culpability on the part of the U.S. Department of
Defense and their ‘disposable army” mentality.
“The VA has determined that 250,000 troops are now permanently disabled,
15,000 troops are dead and over 425,000 are ill and slowly dying from what
the Department of Defense still calls a mystery disease. How many more will
have to die before action is taken?”
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