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Gulf War Vets Home Page

23 October 2005

Declassified.. the secret MoD papers that reveal Govt. WAS aware Gulf War jabs could poison our troops
By Grant Hodgson  Grant.Hodgson@Mgn.Co.Uk
THE Government KNEW it could be poisoning thousands of British troops with controversial vaccinations in the first Gulf War.

Bombshell Ministry of Defence documents show once and for all that military bosses were aware of the dangers of giving servicemen and women multiple jabs for diseases like anthrax.

This cocktail of vaccinations has been blamed for thousands of cases of Gulf War Syndrome.

The documents - obtained by the Sunday Mirror under the Freedom of Information Act - also reveal that the MoD experimented on troops to find out how to make the anthrax vaccine work faster.

Last night veterans demanded an inquiry. Shaun Rusling, vice-chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: "These documents show thousands of British troops were experimented on like medical guinea-pigs."

One recently declassified document comes from the MoD's medical directorate. The February 1991 letter reveals commanders were worried about the effects of the vaccinations.

Referring to concern about the combination of jabs for anthrax, the plague and whooping cough, it says: "There are worries that the third Anthrax/Pertussis together with the second Plague vaccinations will have a more severe pattern of side effects together with a larger number of side-effects."

The next line, which campaigners believe lists side-effects, has been blacked out. Another letter, dated August 1990, says the inoculations "would also provide a unique opportunity to obtain human data on the efficiency of the Whooping Cough/ Anthrax combination".

Mr. Rusling, 46, who forced the MoD to accept he had Gulf War Syndrome in 2003 after a 10-year battle, said: "I am now calling for a full public inquiry." The Sunday Mirror has long campaigned for Gulf War Syndrome to be recognised as a real illness - and for veterans to get compensation.

Campaigners claim the syndrome has hit up to 9,000 veterans. It has also been linked to 250 suicides of former servicemen.

But the Government has never admitted that the illness even exists.

Solicitor Mark McGhee, who has handled cases for veterans, said: "I have no doubt these papers would support any legal claim that veterans may want to take against the MoD for compensation." Gulf veteran Derek Hall, 54, who has suffered from temporary blindness, kidney damage and arthritis, said: "Our lives have been torn to shreds by what they did to us."

The documents were released by the MoD after pressure by Gulf veteran Tony Flint, 52, from Tottenham, North London, who has suffered from chronic fatigue and joint problems since a series of jabs before he served in Iraq.

He said: "I asked the MoD for any documents which discussed the administering of drugs to troops. I was shocked at the casual way troops seemed to be regarded as nothing more than guinea-pigs."

An MoD spokesman said: "We do not believe a public inquiry could usefully contribute to answering the basic question of why some Gulf War veterans have become ill. Only scientific research, we believe, is likely to be able to do that and that is why we have spent more than 8million on research into this issue. We do not recognise Gulf War Syndrome as a medical condition."

-YOU can contact the NGVFA on 01482 833812.