Contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa

Jon Mitchell filed this request with the Marines - United States Marine Corps, USMC of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # DON-USMS-2015-008344
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jon Mitchell

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.

I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.

I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jon Mitchell

From: PACOM.FOIA.FCT

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request received 15 July 2015 that you sent to US Pacific Command via email. This request has been referred to MARFORBASES JAPAN. Please see the attached letter for more information.

Thank you,

CDR Don Nordstrom
FOIA Officer
USPACOM J06
1st Deck, Rm 112
Donald.nordstrom@pacom.mil
Donald.nordstrom@pacom.smil.mil
808-477-7774

From: Jon Mitchell

Dear CDR Don Nordstrom,

Many thanks for your quick response on this important issue.

As you state in your reply, "this request is in the area of responsibility under U.S. Pacific Command", therefore I am asking that your office continue to process my request,

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Mitchell

From: hqmcfoia@usmc.mil

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d280877b98)
* Tracking Number: DON-USMC-2015-008344
* Requester Name: JON MITCHELL
* Date Submitted: 08/14/2015
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records: All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.
I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

From: hqmcfoia@usmc.mil

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d280877bd3)
* Tracking Number: DON-USMC-2015-008346
* Requester Name: JON MITCHELL
* Date Submitted: 08/14/2015
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records: All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on MCAS Futenma, Okinawa.
I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.
I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

From: hqmcfoia@usmc.mil

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d2808778ed)
* Tracking Number: DON-USMC-2015-008347
* Requester Name: JON MITCHELL
* Date Submitted: 08/14/2015
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records: All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.
I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

From: PACOM.FOIA.FCT

Mr. Mitchell,

Japan does fall within the Area of Responsibility of U.S. Pacific Command, however, this headquarters does not have the records you are seeking. I did refer the case to the USMC because your request is for records or documents located on a U.S. Marine Corps base. I have contacted the Marine Corp FOIA office and they have confirmed receipt of your request and have entered into their FOIAonline system and transferring the request to Camp Butler for further action. They should be in contact with you soon regarding your request. Please continue to contact me if you are not receiving acknowledgement of or processing of your request. I will follow up with the Marine Corps FOIA office again late next week to get contact information for you. Do know that I am standing by to assist you in obtaining the information you seek but again, without having the records here, I can only assist with making sure the referral is acted upon. Thank you for your patience.

Very Respectfully,

CDR Don Nordstrom
FOIA Officer
USPACOM J06
1st Deck, Rm 112
Donald.nordstrom@pacom.mil
Donald.nordstrom@pacom.smil.mil
808-477-7774

From: PACOM.FOIA.FCT

Mr. Mitchell,

I have contacted the Marine Corps FOIA office and have requested a status on your behalf. I'll provide you with an update as soon as they reply. Thank you for your patience.

V/R,

CDR Don Nordstrom
FOIA Officer
USPACOM J06
1st Deck, Rm 112
Donald.nordstrom@pacom.mil
Donald.nordstrom@pacom.smil.mil
808-477-7774

From: PACOM.FOIA.FCT

Mr. Mitchell,

I have received correspondence from the USMC regarding your cases. They were received via their FOIAOnline and are assigned as DON-USMC-2015-008344, 008346, and 008347. The requests have been sent to their Environmental Branch and their Area Counsel's Office for records search. The information below is the Point of Contact for direct contact regarding your requests.

Sean W. Haynes
MCIPAC FOIA/PA Coordinator
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
Marine Corps Installations Pacific
DSN: 645-7918 FAX: 645-3743
sean.haynes@usmc.mil

From: foia.mcbb.fct@usmc.mil

Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request DON-USMC-2015-008347 has been
denied.
Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on:
08/14/2015
* Expedited Disposition Reason:
In making a determination to grant expedited treatment, pursuant to Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5720.42F paragraph 11f(5), we evaluate your request against the following criteria: 1) lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; 2) loss of substantial due process rights; and 3) urgently needed to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information. Please note that urgently needed means that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. See SECNAVINST 5720.42F paragraph 11f(5)(c).

You requested expedited review, as specified by the FOIA, because you believe that there is an “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” You also believe there is “widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.” Your request as written does not meet the above review threshold to grant expedited processing, specifically, that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. Therefore, your request for expedited treatment is denied. Your request is being addressed under customary FOIA processes.
* Request Long Description:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records: All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.
I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

From: foia.mcbb.fct@usmc.mil

Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request DON-USMC-2015-008346 has been
denied.
Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on:
08/14/2015
* Expedited Disposition Reason:
In making a determination to grant expedited treatment, pursuant to Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5720.42F paragraph 11f(5), we evaluate your request against the following criteria: 1) lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; 2) loss of substantial due process rights; and 3) urgently needed to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information. Please note that urgently needed means that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. See SECNAVINST 5720.42F paragraph 11f(5)(c).

You requested expedited review, as specified by the FOIA, because you believe that there is an “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” You also believe there is “widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.” Your request as written does not meet the above review threshold to grant expedited processing, specifically, that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. Therefore, your request for expedited treatment is denied. Your request is being addressed under customary FOIA processes.
* Request Long Description:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records: All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on MCAS Futenma, Okinawa.
I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.
I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

From: foia.mcbb.fct@usmc.mil

Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request DON-USMC-2015-008344 has been
denied.
Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on:
08/14/2015
* Expedited Disposition Reason:
In making a determination to grant expedited treatment, pursuant to Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5720.42F paragraph 11f(5), we evaluate your request against the following criteria: 1) lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; 2) loss of substantial due process rights; and 3) urgently needed to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information. Please note that urgently needed means that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. See SECNAVINST 5720.42F paragraph 11f(5)(c).

You requested expedited review, as specified by the FOIA, because you believe that there is an “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” You also believe there is “widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.” Your request as written does not meet the above review threshold to grant expedited processing, specifically, that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. Therefore, your request for expedited treatment is denied. Your request is being addressed under customary FOIA processes.
* Request Long Description:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records: All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
I am making this request as a representative of the media. I have written extensively about the US military presence on Okinawa - these articles have been published by The Japan Times and Asia-Pacific Journal. In addition, this research has been published in Asahi Shimbun, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. These articles have been the focus of intense public debate.
I refer to the above articles in support that my request receive expedited processing. There is “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” 5 U.S.C. § 552. I believe there is widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity affecting public confidence.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on July 15, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #DON-USMC-2015-008344 .

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: foia.mcbb.fct@usmc.mil

DON-USMC-2015-008347 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full grant.
Given the nature of this request, some records are only being released to you as the requester. If you have an account in FOIAonline, you may access those records by logging into FOIAonline. Otherwise, those responsive records will be sent via the method agreed upon with the FOIA processor. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/home?objectId=090004d2808778ed)

From: foia.mcbb.fct@usmc.mil

DON-USMC-2015-008346 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full grant.
Given the nature of this request, some records are only being released to you as the requester. If you have an account in FOIAonline, you may access those records by logging into FOIAonline. Otherwise, those responsive records will be sent via the method agreed upon with the FOIA processor. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/home?objectId=090004d280877bd3)

From: foia.mcbb.fct@usmc.mil

DON-USMC-2015-008344 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full grant.
Given the nature of this request, some records are only being released to you as the requester. If you have an account in FOIAonline, you may access those records by logging into FOIAonline. Otherwise, those responsive records will be sent via the method agreed upon with the FOIA processor. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/home?objectId=090004d280877b98)

From: MuckRock

Judge Advocate General
ATTN: FOIA Appeal
1322 Patterson Avenue SE, Suite 3000
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5066

Dear Administrator,

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.

On June 15 2015, I made a FOIA request to your agency for:

All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.

On September 21 2015, your agency provided me with a single document titled “Radioactive Materials Identification and Immediate Response” (June 11 2012).

Here it is clear that your agency has failed to fulfill its obligation in searching diligently for all the documents requested. There have been a number of well-publicised environmental incidents at Camp Schwab - for example the on-base disposal of PCBs and the discovery of asbestos within its buildings.

See, for instance this newspaper article (in Japanese) related to asbestos - http://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/prentry-233883.html - and this article (in English) outlining suspected pollution by dioxin and PCBs within the base: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/10/18/issues/agent-orange-revelations-raise-futenma-stakes/#.VlBXUoRLddk

Please note that my initial request asked for all records related to “chemical, biological and radiological contamination” at Camp Schwab - which includes environmental surveys conducted within the installation. If your office has no such records then this suggests that no surveys have ever been conducted at the base.

If materials responsive to my request exist as a subset of a larger dataset, provision of that information would be appreciated. Given the U.S. military’s thorough cataloging of such incidents, it is improbable that no records containing information related to contamination exist.

I trust that upon re-consideration, you will re-investigate my request. However, if you deny this appeal, I intend to initiate a lawsuit to compel disclosure.

As I have made this request in the capacity of a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your expediting the consideration of my appeal in every way possible. In any case, I will expect to receive your decision within 20 business days, as required by the statute.

Thank you for your assistance,

Jon Mitchell

From: Jon Mitchell

To Whom It May Concern:

An appeal has been sent to the following address:

Judge Advocate General
ATTN: FOIA Appeal
1322 Patterson Avenue SE, Suite 3000
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5066

If appeals should be sent to another address, provision of appeal directions would be greatly appreciated. It will be assumed that the letter sent today will satisfy the necessary response within the requested timeframe.

Thank you.

From: Jon Mitchell

Judge Advocate General
ATTN: FOIA Appeal
1322 Patterson Avenue SE, Suite 3000
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5066

Dear Administrator,

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.

On June 15 2015, I made a FOIA request to your agency for:

All files, records, reports, memos, talking papers, "game plans" and summary papers regarding chemical, biological and radiological contamination on Camp Schwab, Okinawa.

On September 21 2015, your agency provided me with a single document titled “Radioactive Materials Identification and Immediate Response” (June 11 2012).

Here it is clear that your agency has failed to fulfill its obligation in searching diligently for all the documents requested. There have been a number of well-publicised environmental incidents at Camp Schwab - for example the on-base disposal of PCBs and the discovery of asbestos within its buildings.

See, for instance this newspaper article (in Japanese) related to asbestos - http://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/prentry-233883.html - and this article (in English) outlining suspected pollution by dioxin and PCBs within the base: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/10/18/issues/agent-orange-revelations-raise-futenma-stakes/#.VlBXUoRLddk

Please note that my initial request asked for all records related to “chemical, biological and radiological contamination” at Camp Schwab - which includes environmental surveys conducted within the installation. If your office has no such records then this suggests that no surveys have ever been conducted at the base.

If materials responsive to my request exist as a subset of a larger dataset, provision of that information would be appreciated. Given the U.S. military’s thorough cataloging of such incidents, it is improbable that no records containing information related to contamination exist.

I trust that upon re-consideration, you will re-investigate my request. However, if you deny this appeal, I intend to initiate a lawsuit to compel disclosure.

As I have made this request in the capacity of a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your expediting the consideration of my appeal in every way possible. In any case, I will expect to receive your decision within 20 business days, as required by the statute.

Thank you for your assistance,

Jon Mitchell

From: Marines - United States Marine Corps, USMC

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Marines - United States Marine Corps, USMC

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Jon Mitchell

Dear Sir/Madam,

Would you be able to send me an update with the estimated completion date for this appeal?

Many thanks,

Mitchell

From: Marines - United States Marine Corps, USMC

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Marines - United States Marine Corps, USMC

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Marines - United States Marine Corps, USMC

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

No materials regarding this request have yet been received. Please confirm the address to which they were sent. For this particular request, the appropriate address would be

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 19729
P.O. Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205

If confusion remains, renewed provision of the materials, including the associated cover letter, would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your help.

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