into Gulf War illnesses - London, July - September 2004
7. Lies, statistics and
Avison, widow of a 24-year regular soldier “[who] started off as a
private and worked up to a major”, 19 July 2004.
We met up with Tony Blair and he said, “If we get into government,
we will leave no stone unturned and we will get a public inquiry.”
That is what he promised to do himself.
I have written but it just seems that it is all dead promises.
Bristow, military warrant officer theatre technician and combat medical
technician, both Class, 19 July 2004.
I attended this medical
conference in Iraq. We were
not at war; it was in 1998. Whilst
I was there… the Ministry of Defence arranged for a police raid on my
house and confiscated a computer and copied my hard drive. Even one hour before I was due to land at Heathrow, upon my
return, which was several days after the police raid when they had already
returned the computer having got all the information, they refused to let
my wife know if I was to be arrested or not.
They said they had not made up their minds. I was not arrested. I
had not committed a crime. I
have never even been questioned by the police about this.
They had stolen my evidence. They
said they would tell me what files they had copied and which they had not,
and I am still waiting for that – and that is seven years later.
It caused a great deal of stress to my wife and my daughters...
David Batty, a journalist on the Big
Issue wrote about this, and he was arrested and questioned.
Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University
of Sunderland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf War Veterans, 28
I have come to view the whole issue
of Gulf War Syndrome/Illness as representing an orchestrated, coherent and
comprehensive attempt to construct an understanding of Gulf War Syndrome
as a psychiatric and psychological dysfunction, commonly found in soldiers
returning from the battlefield. This
is what the Americans use shorthand to say is "the stress
theory" here, and official funding has been largely committed to
establishing this biopsychosocial model of the illness, and such studies,
I feel, have gone on to create confusion rather than clarity, distress
rather than healing and comfort…
On this account, because it was all in
their mind, the responsibility shifts to the veteran: so it is the
veteran's fault that he is ill, it is the veteran's fault that his family
is suffering, it is the veteran who has failed to engage with his own
problems. The other thing
that is very noticeable in his attempt to sustain a biopsychosocial model
is the persistent refusal to accept evidence from independent studies.
Again and again this comes out in some of the papers that I have
put before you, and my criticism of the papers that have come from
different sources, where again and again you look in the references and
they are all missing; all these things are missing; there is nothing there
which shows any cognisance of or any desire to engage with the results of
independent research from a variety of sources...
The work of Goran Jamal, which has shown nerve damage - and I
have referred to that already - and his colleague Peter Julu has looked at
a different part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous
system, and Jamal wrote a paper in 1996 saying that he felt the toxin
exposures were particularly important in the damage that he was detecting
in Gulf War Veterans, and his work was simply not supported; in fact he
felt [it was] maliciously blocked.
W Haley, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of
Epidemiology at the University of Texas, 3 August 2004.
Hospitalisation and birth
defects were identified in these troops from military hospital records in
the post‑war years. The
problem is that most ill veterans left the Service immediately after the
war, and once you leave the military you cannot go to a military hospital,
so their records were automatically eliminated.
That is why the first study showed no difference, because you had
already eliminated the possibility of a difference.
Secondly, there is this thing we call the “healthy warrior
effect”. What soldiers do
you deploy to a war zone? Well,
only the healthy ones! Anyone
with a chronic disease is quietly transferred to a non deploying
unit before they go over. Everyone
that goes over is well, but the people who are left behind are all the
sick people with chronic illnesses.
after the war, when you compare the deployed and the non‑deployed
guess, what happens? You should see the non‑deployed much sicker than the
deployed. What we found is
they were equal, and that means the deployed got sick when they were over
there… This was a study which turned out to be a very important
prescient study by Dr Goran Jamal.
We are aware of him.
A. He testified on these subjects against chemical companies
back in the Eighties and Nineties, and now he has been discredited.
Knowing him and having seen the data upon which he was discredited,
I think he was railroaded by the chemical companies, if you want my
opinion. I think that is
something else that needs to be looked into in some other inquiry.
He tested a group of sick Gulf War veterans and controls with that
same apparatus, and he published it in 1996 before anybody was talking
about physical basis for this, and he found a big difference on one
Kingsbury, US Government Accountability Office, 3 August 2004.
We became convinced BioPort, as
a sole manufacturer of this product [the batches of anthrax-vaccine
containing squalene] had considerable power to do what it wanted to do in
these matters, and, while we have a lot of legal authority to go and get
information from contractors and from government agencies, our ability to
actually enforce that authority … is sometimes a real challenge, and
that was a situation where we just felt … we were not going to get
there, and so we did not pursue it further.