Gulf troops exposed to nerve gas
US attack on Iraqi depot released sarin vapour, reports Christopher Bellamy
Wednesday 30 July 1997
He told MPs the Ministry of Defence was still waiting for the full computer data from the CIA study released on Thursday night, which revealed that up to 100,000 United States troops might have been exposed to vapourised sarin nerve gas. The data would be matched with the log books showing the precise positions of British units in the affected area during 10-13 March 1991.
Dr Reid appeared yesterday before the first session of the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence since the general election, to answer questions on the unexplained illnesses reported by 1,880 of the 51,000 British troops who served in the Gulf before, during and after the war.
He admitted that anxieties about the combination of vaccinations had been passed to the Ministry of Defence by the Department of Health in 1990 shortly before the fighting erupted. But the information did not reach ministers before the decision to go ahead with the vaccination programme was approved because of the failure of a civil servant to pass on the relevant documentation.
MPs also heard that Dr Reid was considering a review of the system of compensation for people suffering disability associated with military service, and that four civil servants were facing the possibility of disciplinary action over mishandling the investigation into what might have caused the illness or illnesses.
Dr Reid admitted that although he had announced a "new beginning" into the investigations into Gulf War illness, there was a "lingering distrust" of the MoD among Gulf veterans complaining of unexplained symptoms, which he hoped would be dispelled. On 14 July, Dr Reid announced his new 20- point plan and a policy of openness. Gulf veterans have since complained the MoD has still refused them access to records.
The main complaint concerned the first report written by Group Captain Bill Coker, the senior RAF doctor now recalled by Dr Reid. They had asked for the report, but it was withheld because it was "incomplete".
Yesterday, Dr Reid said that the original report had been based on examination of 284 patients. Since it was first drafted, 1,500 patients have been examined and Dr Reid said it made sense to rewrite the paper based on the the much larger sample now available. He said it would "certainly be published this year".
Dr Reid said there was still no scientific evidence of a single set of symptoms for victims of Gulf War illnesses - which include chronic fatigue and breathing difficulties - and no explanation of a cause. That, he said, made the present system of war pensions the best option available to Gulf veterans.
tvSpolier alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Auction house to give away $1m masterpiece in charity raffle - and tickets are only $100 each
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
Church versus state: Scientology faces unholy war after court ruling
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior C# ASP.NET Deve...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: QA Automation Tester FX Trading Platform(Ruby, ...
£25000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: VB.NET SQL Developer/...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA ...