"I and many American veterans support and admire you for your firm stand and courageous commitment to peace and justice." Message to Alex Izett from Ron Kovic (Vietnam veteran and author of Born the 4th of July)
release (11 July 2004)
interview with Alex Izett (8
US Press release (28 May 2004)
UK Press release (27 May 2004)
Early Day Motion
Model letter to MPs
Scottish Parliament motion
BBC News, Tuesday, 4 May, 2004
A former soldier has gone on hunger strike in an attempt to secure a public inquiry into Gulf War Syndrome.
Alexander Izett said he was ready to die to force the military to "come clean" over the issue.
The former lance corporal from Cumbernauld stopped eating last Saturday, on his 34th birthday, at his home in Germany.
Mr Izett said he developed brittle bone disease after being vaccinated in the run-up to the Gulf War in 1990 to 1991.
He took his case to the Scottish Parliament earlier this year but has become frustrated with the progress being made by MSPs.
He wrote: "This is a last desperate attempt in trying to force the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to tell the truth regarding my suffered illness of Gulf War Syndrome."
He wrote: "I'm now too ill to do anything else but make this final stand.
"I was willing to fight and die for my country. Now I am willing to die to make that country come clean and tell the truth of not only my suffering, but that of thousands of my fellow sufferers of Gulf War Syndrome."
Mr Izett said he wants a UK-wide public inquiry into Gulf War Syndrome because the Ministry of Defence continues to deny the existence of the condition.
He said sufferers should be given priority on the NHS, better pension rights and compensation payments for them and their families.
He said he received nine inoculations,
including one for the plague and another for anthrax, whilst serving with
25 Engineer Regiment, based in Osnabruck, Germany.
He said he became ill in 1993 and has since broken his ribs, knee cap and shoulder and suffered from depression and stomach ulcers, leaving him unable to work.
In a bid to get better treatment, he moved to Germany and he now lives in Bersenbrueck near Bremen on a 70% war pension of £72.50 a week, which he secured after a long legal battle with the MoD.
Mr Izett said he would take fluids for the first 14 days of his protest. He said he was being looked after by his wife, from whom he is separated.
Speaking from his home, he said: "When Tony Blair got into power he promised a full public inquiry and we are still waiting. It's all promises. I want to see action."
Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Executive about Gulf War Syndrome after hearing an emotional plea from Mr Izett in March.
Urgent financial appeal for Alex Izett
Alex Izett has asked Payday to organise an appeal for money on his behalf. As you will see from the 25 June press release, while Alex has been campaigning for an independent public inquiry, he has incurred costs that he has not been able to meet out of his £61.50/week war pension. He is unable to pay the phone bill for the last two months and now both the phone and internet access have been disconnected, facilities which have been a vital life line especially during his hunger strike.
We want to raise £1000 to pay this bill and cover expenses for the coming months. In the run up to the inquiry, it is vital that he can be back in touch with his family, friends, supporters, media and politicians to continue his battle for recognition of Gulf War Syndrome.
Your contribution is therefore much-needed and urgent. You can send a donation by transferring directly to the Payday account: Account no: 41742478 Sort code: 60-12-13 National Westminster Bank, Kilburn Branch, 74 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 4HU. Or make your cheque payable to "Payday" (marked Alex Izett on the back) to: Payday, PO Box 287, London NW6 5QU, UK.How you can support Alexander Izett
Write to your MP demanding an independent public inquiry into Gulf War Syndrome, its causes and the medical treatment of those affected by it. Use model letter or write your own. Press them to sign Early Day Motion.
If you live in Scotland, ask your MSP to sign the motion at the Scottish Parliament.
Send copies of your letters to Alexander - see address below - and to Payday which we'll publish on this website.