23 October 2005
EXCLUSIVE: MoD KNEW GULF WAR JABS DANGER
Declassified.. the secret MoD papers that reveal Govt WAS aware Gulf War
jabs could poison our troops
By Grant Hodgson Grant.Hodgson@Mgn.Co.Uk
THE Government KNEW it could be poisoning thousands of British troops with
controversial vaccinations in the first Gulf War.
Bombshell Ministry of Defence documents show once and for all that military
bosses were aware of the dangers of giving servicemen and women multiple
jabs for diseases like anthrax.
This cocktail of vaccinations has been blamed for thousands of cases of
Gulf War Syndrome.
The documents - obtained by the Sunday Mirror under the Freedom of
Information Act - also reveal that the MoD experimented on troops to find
out how to make the anthrax vaccine work faster.
Last night veterans demanded an inquiry. Shaun Rusling, vice-chairman of
the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: "These documents
show thousands of British troops were experimented on like medical
One recently declassified document comes from the MoD's medical
directorate. The February 1991 letter reveals commanders were worried about
the effects of the vaccinations.
Referring to concern about the combination of jabs for anthrax, the plague
and whooping cough, it says: "There are worries that the third
Anthrax/Pertussis together with the second Plague vaccinations will have a
more severe pattern of side effects together with a larger number of
The next line, which campaigners believe lists side-effects, has been
blacked out. Another letter, dated August 1990, says the inoculations
"would also provide a unique opportunity to obtain human data on the
efficiency of the Whooping Cough/ Anthrax combination".
Mr Rusling, 46, who forced the MoD to accept he had Gulf War Syndrome in
2003 after a 10-year battle, said: "I am now calling for a full public
inquiry." The Sunday Mirror has long campaigned for Gulf War Syndrome to be
recognised as a real illness - and for veterans to get compensation.
Campaigners claim the syndrome has hit up to 9,000 veterans. It has also
been linked to 250 suicides of former servicemen.
But the Government has never admitted that the illness even exists.
Solicitor Mark McGhee, who has handled cases for veterans, said: "I have no
doubt these papers would support any legal claim that veterans may want to
take against the MoD for compensation." Gulf veteran Derek Hall, 54, who
has suffered from temporary blindness, kidney damage and arthritis, said:
"Our lives have been torn to shreds by what they did to us."
The documents were released by the MoD after pressure by Gulf veteran Tony
Flint, 52, from Tottenham, North London, who has suffered from chronic
fatigue and joint problems since a series of jabs before he served in Iraq.
He said: "I asked the MoD for any documents which discussed the
administering of drugs to troops. I was shocked at the casual way troops
seemed to be regarded as nothing more than guinea-pigs."
An MoD spokesman said: "We do not believe a public inquiry could usefully
contribute to answering the basic question of why some Gulf War veterans
have become ill. Only scientific research, we believe, is likely to be able
to do that and that is why we have spent more than £8million on research
into this issue. We do not recognise Gulf War Syndrome as a medical
-YOU can contact the NGVFA on 01482 833812.