a network of men
the Global Women's Strike
Box 287 London NW6 5QU England. Tel
020 7209 4751 Fax 020 7209
PO Box 11795, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101, USA.
Tel (215) 848 1120
Fax (215) 848 1130
email@example.com Web www.refusingtokill.net
submission to the Public Inquiry into Gulf War Illnesses
We write as an
organization which supported Mr Alexander Izett during his 40-day hunger
strike to press for an independent public inquiry into Gulf war
illnesses. Our website www.refusingtokill.net
also reflects campaigns by war veterans and their families for the truth
about and compensation for veterans’ illnesses, disabilities and death
caused by war and occupation.
welcome this Public Inquiry, which is a response to years of this
This is a unique
moment, our chance to make the case for justice.
want, therefore, to raise our deep concerns about limitations of the
Inquiry which have emerged so far, and to make our recommendations for
The timetable and logistics
of the Inquiry
When it was
established, the Inquiry did not:
publicise itself widely enough – some veterans told us
that they heard about it only by chance;
give veterans and their
carers enough time to prepare testimonies;
venues in the UK – many
potential witnesses could not travel to London because of disability and
wheelchair accessible venue, the absence of which is disrespectful of
many the Inquiry claims to serve.
giving evidence to the Inquiry said they would favour an ex-gratia
payment to “close the matter”, and Major Gen. Craig in his evidence
cast doubts on the “claims and allegations” of many veterans.
They imply that there is no need for the Inquiry.
On the contrary, the need is great and we are concerned that the
Inquiry should be as far-reaching as possible in order to be most
The Inquiry must:
allow more time to hear from veterans.
Of more than 6,000 who suffer from Gulf war illnesses, just 32
were invited to testify;
give greater prominence to partners and other carers of
veterans, whose contribution in terms of work and campaigning has been
largely hidden – only three testified;
seek contributions from Iraqi women and men. If
they are not heard, not only will the causes of hundreds of thousands of
deaths, disabilities and illnesses remain hidden, but also even veterans
and their families will not be able to discover by comparison the full
extent of what happened to them.
connect with the Parliamentary Inquiry now opening in Italy about
the death of 28 Kossovo veterans, exchanging information about the
effects on civilians and soldiers of depleted uranium weapons and
vaccines, used by the Allies both in the Balkans and in Iraq.
take evidence from Avigolfe, a French association of civilians and soldiers (www.ilfrance.com/avigolfe)
which has recently publicized that depleted uranium (uranium isotope
U-238) used in the first Gulf war also contains enriched uranium
(uranium isotope U-236), which is used in H-bombs and is extremely
radioactive and toxic. The
link between DU and U-236 raises the fundamental issue of military
introduction by stealth of what amounts to nuclear bombing of civilian
We urge the Inquiry
to acknowledge that:
Gulf War illnesses can be related to vaccines, DU/U-236 exposure,
fall-out from chemical and bacteriological weapons the Allies destroyed,
use of pesticides, fumes from burning oil-wells or a combination of any
of the above;
in most cases soldiers were simply ordered to take vaccines and
NAPS (Nerve Agent Pre-treatment) pills and not warned of any possible
in many cases the vaccines they received were not registered on
their vaccination card, risking a double dose;
veterans have been treated shamefully by the MoD in having to
battle for the disability component of their War Pensions.
urge the Inquiry to recommend that:
Members of the Armed Forces must not be used as guinea-pigs to
determine the effects of the drug “cocktails”;
all compulsory vaccinations must be stopped; having them must be
only on a voluntary basis;
vaccines should only be taken when all possible side-effects of
the “cocktail” are fully researched and explained to those taking
all medical records related to vaccinations and other drugs be
released to those concerned so that they can receive proper treatment;
all medical treatment (including complementary treatments) be
immediately and freely available to all victims of Gulf War illnesses
and their families and carers;
proper respectful benefits be given immediately to veterans and
their carers and to widows of veterans, according to the length and
degree of seriousness of their illnesses;
all those affected get financial compensation for the years of
delay by the Ministry of Defence in admitting and dealing with the
the government fund an independent public inquiry which would be
accountable to Parliament, where officers and scientists, including
those researching the health of soldiers in the present war, would be
allowed to testify;
a full and thorough investigation be conducted among the Iraqi
population to determine the extent of illnesses, disabilities and deaths
caused by both the first and second Gulf wars and the current occupation.
attach a petition which expresses some of the concerns and demands
expressed here. It has been
signed by Gulf war veterans from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and
Germany, by partners and carers, by Vietnam war veterans, anti-war and
peace activists, trade unionists and others around the world.
Many veterans and their partners who testified at the Inquiry are
among the signatories.
5 August 2004