Inquiry into Gulf War illnesses - London, July - September 2004
7. Lies, statistics and repression

Carol 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.  

Raymond 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. 

Malcolm Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Sunderland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf War Veterans, 28 July 2004.
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. 

Robert 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.  

So, 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. 

THE CHAIRMAN:  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 finding.  

Nancy 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.