Gulf War illnesses - London, July - September 2004
NAPS, burnt-oil smoke, blowing up of Iraqi chemical weapon depots
soldiers] went through a multiple immunisation programme of up to 14 and
sometimes over 14 inoculations, many troops having had a large number of
competing vaccines in a single session which included, to name just a
few, anthrax, whooping cough, plague and cholera. Secondly, they
experienced the first ever mass use of NAPS tablets, that is the nerve
agent pre‑treatment set to be used as an antidote against chemical
weapons. They were exposed to a heavy use of pesticides, including
locally purchased ones, and organophosphates over which there are now
many safety questions. They were exposed to atmospheric pollution from
burning oil wells. There was a possible exposure to nerve agents when
Iraqi chemical weapons storage facilities were destroyed.
John Nicol, Flight Lieutenant,
12 July 2004.
On 3 January I received the
following vaccinations: yellow fever, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B,
meningitis. On my vaccination record card it says biological but I do
know now that it is anthrax and also Pertussis. I do hold my original
vaccination card, well safely locked away. We also began taking
anti‑malaria treatment. We were taking palludrine, one daily, and
chloroquine, one weekly... We later found out that all the accommodation
had been treated with organophosphate sprays and in the accommodation
block where I was situated there was organophosphate powder around the
accommodation block... Some of the drugs that arrived were out‑of‑date.
The equipment was well suited to World War II... The order then came
that we start taking nerve agent protection tablets, one every eight
hours. I, like others, reacted to the NAPS tablets and I was actually
taken to our own sick bay by one of my colleagues because at that time I
was disorientated, I was dizzy, I really had not a clue what I was doing
or where I was... On 24 January I had further vaccinations. I had
anthrax, Pertussis and the plague vaccine... On 25 February we had
further vaccines - anthrax, plague and hepatitis B.
Major Christine Lloyd,
Territorial Army, 12 July 2004.
In other cases of cancer, which has been mentioned here, I definitely
think the burning oil wells, depleted uranium or maybe nerve agents
might have caused those problems. As I say, in my specific case I can
see it being... the inoculations… I then received five inoculations on
one day and the next day I had to report again and I received another
four inoculations. I was a young lad, I was 21 years old. I thought
what I was doing was right and it must be a thing we have to have to go
to the Gulf. Two days before the planned deployment before we were
supposed to be sent to the Gulf the War finished.
Alex Izett, Corps of the Royal
Engineers, 12 July 2004.
I was given routine vaccinations
hepatitis B, hepatitis A, polio, yellow fever, tetanus, meningococcal
C... I was given further hepatitis B and cholera vaccinations and three
other vaccinations which I was advised were biological. It must be
noted that none of the vaccinations, routine or otherwise, were recorded
on my F Med 4 medical documentation despite my documents being present
at the time of vaccination in the UK... After a few days... [I was]
given another vaccine in each arm and issued anti‑malarial tablets and
nerve agent pre-treatment tablets, commonly known as NAPS... Whilst at
Blackadder there was a constant spraying of the tented area with liquid
around the doorways and window area and in the latrines and the dining
areas by civilian employees with plastic canisters on their back and
spray guns with a nozzle-type effect. When I say on their backs, like a
pump‑type plastic canister, somebody would be pumping it and a guy would
spray it. The civilians were Filipino, not wearing any protection
equipment other than a rag over their faces, and nobody thought it at
that time to be anything unusual. We did not know that the product
being used was Diazanon which was harmful to man and a sheep‑dip type
understand that troops had been refusing the vaccines and not attending
at designated times hence Part One orders were written to ensure
attendance. Failure to attend could lead to court martial. I was given
one in the upper right arm, one in the left... A few days later we were
ordered to have another course of injections. There seemed to be a rush
to be ready for ground operations. These two again we are given in the
upper right arm and outer right quadrant (my bum, my Lord!) This
injection gave me terrible pain and led to parasthesia and I was
literally dragging my leg around... It must be questioned when the
massive chemical weapons pits at Al Khamisiyah were blown up, not once
or twice but at least four times between 1 and 10 March 1991, could the
Army MoD have protected the troops by masking the troops up? However,
the facts are that we were walking about with no protective suits or
respirators during the demolition of not just this pit but others
containing weapons of mass destruction, containing Sarin Cyclo Sarin...
There were 16 associated weapons pits blown up. Khamisiyah itself was
blown up four times... Vaccinations and medications you were given for
the Gulf War were classified secret, therefore would not be recorded...
In 1997 the MoD admitted that a facsimile was sent by the Department
of Health to the MoD advising the MoD of concerns and anxieties over
giving anthrax vaccine in conjunction with the whooping cough
(Pertussis). At the time of the admission of this fact the MoD stated
they did not know who had sent the fax and did not know who received it
at the MoD. This was an untruth. The fax was from Dr Jeremy Metters,
Department of Health, to the Secretary of State for Defence. …
[Organophosphates] had been purchased in Saudi Arabia with Arabic
instructions which led to the wrong concentrations being put down in
troop areas. Shaun
Rusling, Vice Chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families
Association, 12 July 2004.
On 16 February I had the
unfortunate episode of having to call in to a United States refuelling
depot half way up the military supply road to refuel the vehicle. I
stood in a convoy of 1,500 vehicles. Every day between four o’clock and
six o’clock, for any vehicles in that refuelling unit the road was
blocked by military police to stop them going out, and within that
period of time everybody who was on that base had to have inoculations.
The Americans, when they do their inoculations it is not done through
informed consent, it is compulsory that you have them. The medical team
come round. They are slightly better than ours because they have
doctors doing it whilst medical orderlies can do the inoculations here.
The doctors come round with four military policemen and the military
policemen are there to hold you down if you try and refuse your
Cammock, Chairman of the Gulf Veterans Association, 12 July 2004.
What happened was that they came
round to the camp areas, especially the censored areas and the wash-down
areas, and sprayed everything whether or not we were inside the tents
Edward Walker, Royal Army Ordinance Corps, 12 July 2004.
We were then subjected to about
11 to 12 injections in either arm. No informed consent was given or
asked for. When asked what we were receiving, I was told that we had
been given just another routine vaccination... Every morning after
taking these NAPS tablets my hands and lower jaw would become numb.
After seeking help, I was told that this was normal as my nerves were
being protected... We also passed through burning oil fields thick with
black smoke which looked like night-time to the naked eye.
Jason Alcorn, Duke of
Wellington Regiment, 12 July 2004.
[My husband] told me that... he
walked through a tent with both his sleeves rolled up and that they were
jabbing him in each arm. He was not altogether sure what he was given.
He also told me that he was given tablets which did not make him feel
very well and he spoke to people about them and they told him to keep
taking them. Mrs
Vicky Warriner, veteran's former wife, 12 July 2004.
I spoke to somebody many years
after who said they were given the option of whether they had [the
vaccination] or not. It did not transpire down to our level that we had
an option. Noel
Baker, First Battalion, 12 July 2004.
I was given eight inoculations… I
do not think that they took any notice of previous injections. Some of
those injections you are not supposed to have within a year and nothing
was done about what you had had previously.
Richard Sharpe, RAF, 12 July
As far as immunisation is concerned, I remember lining up for several of
these over a two-day period but was not always aware of what they were.
Basically, we were not told what they were; we were lined up with our
sleeves rolled up and they were pumped in... I also felt at the time and
my records show that I was exposed to nerve agent... The MoD denied at
first but since has agreed with me that I was in the area of the
exposure at the ammunitions depot at Khamisyia Depot. At the time, all
our NIADS indicated sarin, which is a nerve agent poison. They all
indicated that we were exposed to sarin and, at the time, we were not
wearing chemical defence equipment... We were told afterwards that there
was no such exposure. However, since, I have received a letter from the
MoD stating that I was in the area at the time it was blown up and that,
if I have any problem with sarin poisoning, I should take that up with
the American Government because they were the ones that blew the factory
Stephen Roberts, 16/5 Queen’s
Royal Lancers, 12 July 2004.
We were given a further course of injections. I do not know what they
were; I have no medical records to tell me what they were; I have asked
many times for information as to what they were and it has been refused.
We were also given NAPS and malaria tablets. The injections were given
over a 48-hour period and I probably received 12 to 14 injections in
Walker, RAF, 12 July 2004.
On 4 January 1991 everyone in the camp at Dharan was ordered to attend
for inoculations with the stipulation that non-attendance would be met
with disciplinary action. When we attended the next morning for these
inoculations we were given no information at all about what we were
receiving. We were given no chance to ask about possible side effects
to the massive number of injections they were planning to give us...
Over a ten minute period I received, to my knowledge, anthrax, Bubonic
Plague, Cholera, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B,
meningitis and a couple of others I am not too sure about. These were
not given as single injections but as inoculations containing two or
three vaccinations at a time… You were stood there with one person that
side injecting you and one person that side injecting you.
Richard Turnbull, RAF, 19 July
I never left the UK... I strongly suspect the reason for my ill health
is due to the inoculations... I asked what I was being given. I was told
“it’s what everybody who’s going to the Gulf is having”. I handed over
my B Med27, which is a personnel inoculation card, to get the
inoculations recorded on it and was told there was no need. I
questioned this, and the reason I did question it was because if you did
not have that up to date it was a chargeable offence… [Squalene was]
injected to make the vaccine work better. It causes autoimmune
disease... Dr Moonie, who was the Minister for Veterans at the time...
categorically denied the use of squalene as an adjuvant. This was
confirmed in a letter dated 31 August which was written by Mr Stephen
Trout on Mr Moonie’s behalf. In March 2003, less than 18 months after
their categorical denials, vials of British anthrax were washed up on
the South Coast. These vials were tested and found to contain squalene…
I did write to PMA at RAF Innsworth where they keep all our files and
requested my medical file and my personnel file. In my personnel file,
every movement that I made, even a day’s detachment to another unit, is
recorded on that. There is nothing at all whatsoever, not even a little
snippet, of anything to do with my deployment to the Gulf... In my
medical file there are three words that are partially obscured by
another entry and you can only just make out that it says “Fit Operation
Granby”. When I wrote and questioned this I had a reply from RAF
Innsworth saying they do not understand why my recollection appears to
be so different from what is actually recorded. It is as if I never
went, never had anything to do with it.
Anwen Humphreys, RAF, 19 July
We had several injections... but I was never told what they were for...
The tents were sprayed but we were not told with what or what the reason
was. I was ordered to take NAP tablets from 17 January onwards... On
travel from location to location to refuel our tankers we would travel
through the smoke of the burning oilfields.
Michael Capps, Royal Corps of
Transport, 19 July 2004.
Prior to deployment with RAOC
AMF(l) we received a number of vaccines and, from memory, it was about
four injections a day twice over a short seven-day period... As it was,
when I arrived in March 1991, the land war had just finished and I was
employed in the Gulf in my trade as a petroleum operator. This entailed
cleaning up/organising all military petroleum and lubricants for
transportation back to the UK. One of the main tasks and most
unpleasant was decanting thousands of army jerricans which were from all
over the theatre of operations and placing the fuel back into large bulk
fuel containers. We had no protective equipment or facemasks, only thin
fatigues and desert boots. We worked long hours in extreme temperatures
for two months whilst completing this task and I can still taste the
petrol in my mouth now from when we did this task.
Mark McGreevy, Royal Signals,
19 July 2004.
We started having inoculations in Germany where we were based prior to
the Gulf and also various inoculations in theatre itself, various
injections and tablets we were taking, almost on a willy nilly basis...
There was deep concern on the ground with the men in general and the
amount of inoculations that were suddenly appearing in the Gulf, but we
were not in a position to question. We had to accept them. We could
not refuse. We were ordered to take these various drugs.
Pritchard, Queen's Dragoon Guards, 19 July 2004.
[My husband said] "Oh, I have had another set of vaccinations again
today, I am going to be a pin cushion by the time I have finished", and
it seemed to be a constant thing that was going on for quite a number of
weeks before he went, that he was taking an amount of vaccinations, and
when he actually arrived in the Gulf he wrote to me and said, "I thought
I had got away with this and I am still receiving yet more
vaccinations"… THE CHAIRMAN: Would you agree that perhaps that [the
destruction he saw during the war] was the cause of his change of mood
rather than the injections and vaccinations he had? A. No,
I would not, because he had seen such active service elsewhere. He had
seen quite a few things in Northern Ireland, particularly in the ‘70s,
particularly serving with the Parachute regiment that he talked freely
about for years, and it never upset him in the same way. Obviously he
was not happy about them but they never upset him in the same way.
Louisa Graham, a
veteran's widow, 19 July 2004.
On 8 January I had I think
either six or seven vaccines given in both arms, and again two days
later I had exactly the same vaccines pumped into me... Although I took
my air crew vaccination record they refused to put anything on there...
I thought they were doubling up vaccines I already had... I was taking
the NAPS tablets as well… Almost 100 per cent of sick Gulf veterans,
that have been tested, test positive for squalene antibodies... THE
CHAIRMAN: Any particular vaccine, can you recall, or not? A. Well,
the anthrax vaccines from the United States had squalene in them.
Adrian Willson, RAF,
19 July 2004.
I had three anthrax vaccinations and with the whooping cough two of them
are dated and one is not dated. There is no record of my plague
vaccination… If you are going to have a whole lot of vaccines, as
certain of the veterans did, this could lead to a considerable amount of
mercury being given in a short period of time to the veterans. Mercury
is a very, very toxic compound; it is the most toxic metal which is not
a radionucleotide. Then there are organophosphates in the form of
chemical warfare agents: Sarin, or Cyclo-Sarin; and insecticides in the
form of sprays or flea collars; infections have been implicated; combat
stress – which does not explain the non-deployed people and the people
who were in more rural areas – and depleted uranium...
The anthrax vaccine was devised to protect veterinarians, workers in
laboratories and in the hair-and-hide industries against cutaneous
anthrax. The mode of delivery, if one were to use anthrax as a
biological weapon, would be in the form of anthrax spores and an
aerosol. There is no evidence that this would protect anybody against
aerosol-delivered anthrax. The manufacturers’ recommended administration
regime is four doses over 32 weeks. Veterans were given the anthrax
vaccinations over much shorter periods of time... Not very much was
known about the anthrax and plague vaccines, and probably nothing was
known about giving so many vaccines together in such a short period of
time. For medical science, this is undoubtedly virgin territory...
There is no precedent to giving so many vaccinations to so many people,
all over a short period of time.
Dr Nigel Humphrey Graveston,
Chair of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, 33 Field
Hospital RAMC at Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia. Consultant anaesthetist in
the army, 19 July 2004.
I was given routine
vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Polio, Yellow Fever, Tetanus,
Meningococcal C... I was given a further Cholera vaccine, and three
other vaccines, which I was advised were biological – and no other
description was given. It must be noted that none of the vaccines,
routine or secret vaccines, were recorded on my F Med 4 medical
documentation, despite my documents being present at the time, here in
the UK. I was given another vaccine in each arm and issued
anti-malarial tablets and nerve agent pre-treatment tablets, or NAPs...
Whilst at Blackadder camp there was constant spraying of the tended area
with liquid around the doorways and window area and in the latrines and
dining areas by civilian employees with plastic canisters. The
civilians were what I believe are called Saudi guest workers. They did
not wear any protection equipment other than a rag over their faces, and
nobody thought anything about it at the time. I/we did not know that
the product being used, Diazanon was harmful to man, and a sheep-dip
type pesticide, which I believe is banned in the UK... In fact, we were
briefed that the air strikes had released Sarin nerve gas into the
atmosphere. However, the next day the “powers that be” decided to
change their minds and said the alarms were due to the incineration of
rubbish... Troops had not been going for their vaccines at their
designated times – because we were a hospital there were night shifts,
day shifts, and some people were asleep. Part One Orders were produced
to ensure attendance. It stated that failure to attend could lead to
Raymond Bristow, military warrant officer theatre technician and combat
medical technician, both Class 1, 19 July 2004.
We started receiving vaccinations at the end of August, early September,
1990... We were not told [what they were] at the time. That continued
every two or three weeks; we reported to the med centre for more
vaccinations... The final round of shots we had were round about
Christmas 1990... We received seven or eight injections plus the polio.
I asked what I was being given on that occasion purely because I thought
I was getting a double dose of things I had already had... We were asked
to read what I believe was an amendment to the Official Secrets Act and
told to sign our name on a nominal roll just to say we had read it and
received the vaccinations. As soon as we had had them, we were told
that should we have any illness in later life, then we would not be able
to make a claim on the basis of these vaccinations.
Andrew Hazard, Royal Engineers,
19 July 2004.
Khamisiyah and the other two where munitions were blown up that
had nerve agents in them… I believe that civilians in the area could be
affected as well. Brigadier
Robin Garnet, Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee for the Royal
British Legion, 21 July 2004.
As soon as we got off the plane, about two
hours after we got off the plane, we were sent to a tent where we were
told --- they just said it was some kind of injections. They did not
explain to us what they were. THE CHAIRMAN: Can you remember how
many? A. I think it was round about six injections... We had to go
back in the next day; we had some more injections the day after... Also
we were told to start taking NAPs tablets. THE CHAIRMAN: How many of
those did you take? A. It was one a day… We did carry a lot of
ammunition on the back. There were a lot of ammunition dumps at the
time when I was out there. SIR MICHAEL DAVIES: The sprays were being
used around the ammunition dumps? A. Yes.
Michael Barber, Royal Corps of
Transport, 21 July 2004.
In 1988 I was administered with vaccines for protection against cholera,
polio, TABT and meningitis A and C. Also, as a precaution against
malaria, I was prescribed with the correct tablets required for a
particular area of operations. In late 1989 I was also vaccinated
against yellow fever... On 9 January 1991 at RAF Lyneham I was
vaccinated with anthrax (batch 01/90) and pertussis (batch CO251A) with
no lingering after-effects... On the patio area a locally employed
person was often observed carrying out insect spraying duties.
Obviously, in the cool of the morning the insects could be caught
resting, but encountering this person at his work caused personnel to
protect their food and themselves as best as possible from the fallout
of the spraying which smelt rather like creosote. The substance also
left the greasy coloured appearance of petrol on the surface of the
swimming pool. The pool was used a great deal for recreation and
exercise. After cease flying on 31 January 1991 the crew were required
to report to the field medical unit in the basement of King Khalid
Airport for further vaccinations. I was administered with anthrax
(batch 343/E) and pertussis (batch E1138)...
After this experience as a crew we elected not to have the final batch
of vaccinations. Shortly after hostilities started we were ordered to
start taking NAPs tablets... Our initial flight to Kuwait was at
approximately 5,000 feet but because of the oil smoke we had to descend
below this to approximately 1,000 feet. Our initial descent took us
through the smoke and because of the acrid smell we encountered the
aircraft air conditioning was shut down and auxiliary ventilation had to
be selected to purge the fuselage interior. On landing and before
take-off I had to remove from the windscreens a film of dark, partially
burnt oil. Geoffrey
Brown, RAF, 21 July 2004.
Whilst in the Gulf we had three sets of vaccinations. The first set was
on 3 January, which consisted of anthrax and pertussis, which I am sure
you know is more commonly known as the whooping cough vaccine. The
second set was administered on 30 January 1991 and consisted of anthrax,
pertussis and yersinia. The third set was on 23 February 1991, which
was anthrax and yersinia. All the vaccinations were recorded in my
BMED27 and I believe they have batch numbers next to them and the
dosage. Going on to when I had the vaccines administered, the first set
was given to us at Al Jubayl, at the tent compound, and we were
basically given no briefing. We were basically told, “Go and have the
vaccinations”. I was a young soldier of 22, I did what I was told, as
did the whole unit. Everybody went, everybody got vaccinated. When we
got to the desert we were ordered to take NAPs tablets every eight hours
in early January, just prior to the start of the air war and just prior
to the administering of the second set of vaccinations, and again we
simply followed orders...
The second set of vaccinations was slightly different to the first
set. Although we had the same OC who was in location at the time, on
this occasion at the forward formation area he did actually brief us.
He told us that the injections were optional but he said that he was
going to have them and he strongly advised us that we have them as
well. He gave us a dire warning that even if we were hit by the anthrax
vaccine the lining of our lungs would disintegrate and drown us. It is
also worth noting that this OC warned us once that one in five of us
would die. I do not know his reasons behind that. He reassured us that
the anthrax vaccine had been safely used on a remote Scottish island
many years previously and that the scientists involved were all fine.
At no time was there any mention that there was any risk of taking the
multiple vaccinations. This was not discussed whatsoever. When we were
given the second set of injections there was one soldier who did turn
down the anthrax vaccination, but he took all the others, which I found
very odd at the time. I did not quite understand why he would not have
the anthrax vaccine. Interestingly enough, I found out afterwards that
his father was a major at another unit serving in the Gulf and that he
had been in communication with him, so the soldier refusing makes some
sense now. Obviously, his father knew something and relayed it to
The third set of vaccinations was given when I was with 4 Ord
Battalion, again no briefing. We were simply told to get the injections
the same as the first time round... I always wondered where I was when
the Khamisiyah dumps were bombed, and from Sean’s evidence I read this
morning that I was in the vicinity of Khamisiyah… Some other relevant
information you have probably heard before but I would still like to
bring it up. There was a fax that went missing. The National Institute
for Biological Standards and Control sent a fax to Dr Metters at the
Department of Health who send it to the MoD in 1990, December, before
the Gulf War started regarding concerns in administering the anthrax
vaccine and the Pertussis vaccine together. However, the MoD, as you
are already aware, still ordered the vaccination programme though they
were aware of the possible dangers...
Another point: I watched the Trevor Macdonald Tonight
programme last year which discussed the vials of anthrax washed up on
a beach in Dorset. They were tested in a lab and found to contain the
illegal adjuvant squalene. The MoD admitted they had fallen off the
back of a Royal Navy ship, as they were MoD vials. However, on this
programme, Dr Lewis Moonie sat there and pompously refused to accept the
findings of what he called “chemists”, even though the vials were tested
in a genuine laboratory by qualified laboratory technicians.
Jason Bosworth, Ordnance Corps,
21 July 2004.
I received a comprehensive set of inoculations whilst at Brize Norton.
However, once in theatre I was told to stand in line and receive another
batch of inoculations. I do not know what injections were
administered. No records were kept and my name was not asked for...
I was also taking the nerve agent pre-treatment NAPS, along with anti
SIR MICHAEL DAVIES: Were you exposed to fly spraying?
A. We were heavily exposed to the spray. It used to come in a white can
and it used to say “Do not spray in confined spaces”. Well, this was
not always possible and things like the mosquitoes and the various
insects that were out there you really did not want around your bed, so
we used to spray this in the tents a bit like a fog sometimes, and
I chuckle sometimes now because you can go to the shop and buy a tin of
fly spray and the fly buzzes around for quite a few hours before he
eventually dies, but I remember with this particular insecticide that we
used things just used to drop off the tent like rain once you had
sprayed that initial burst, so it must have been particularly powerful,
the actual insecticide inside.
Michael Roy Lingard, RAF, 21
The rest of us, I do not think were ordered to take vaccine or
injections the way the army guys were. I think we were advised to, and
it was a case of “Do you want black plague or anthrax or an injection?”
and I think the majority of us took the injection... We did have
environmental health technicians with us who did spray the tents, etc,
but at the time we would not have thought it was going to be a problem
because we were in a foreign land so you want to keep your hygiene to
a high state so we carried on with the spraying, with no information to
the opposite. Gerard
Davey, RAF, 21 July 2004.
I enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1972 and although I would never
have described myself as fighting fit I had a full medical category for
many years and aesthetic body weight and habitus. In 1991 I was
required, like so many others, to undergo various immunisations and
vaccinations in the space of one day which alarmed me because I knew
from my training that what was being proposed conveyed very, very great
risks. I made my concerns known to the most senior colleague I could
find at the time. I was fairly roughly removed from the hangar by two
RAF regiment guards and kept isolated in a corridor for one and a
quarter hours or thereabouts while telephone traffic took place and then
I was marched in front of a colleague who informed me reasonably curtly
that the message from on high was that I should be seen to set an
officerly example, bite the bullet and take the same jabs as the
troops. I reiterated again to him my concern that it was planned to
give me the Pertussis vaccination. I told him in no uncertain terms
that I was already immune to it having had the disease naturally in my
earlier life. Nonetheless I was required to have it. That plus
THE CHAIRMAN: Was that quite a normal way of ---?
A. No, contrary to all accepted medical opinion that I have ever heard
or read… I knew very well that service personnel had no right
whatsoever to refuse treatment. It was given as a direct order.
Dr Derek Hall, RAF medical
personnel, 27 July 2004.
Certainly there must have been
mental stress as the senior Army officers that you have seen described
because being afraid that you are going to be attacked by these terrible
weapons must have been very stressful. [However,] it stretches one’s
understanding of these things to believe that was the only issue. I am
absolutely convinced myself that a combination of all these chemicals
has produced a series of severe illnesses among these people.
DR JONES: In your submission, Mrs Sigmund, you state: “I do not believe
that the use of organophosphates or the possible exposure of soldiers
and other workers to nerve gas could be the sole cause of all the
symptoms...” That is a fairly strongly stated position. What led you
to that position?
A. My experience with farmers who had been exposed, as far as we know,
only to organophosphate pesticides in sheep dipping who had similar
symptoms but not nearly the range that has been reported by Gulf
veterans and perhaps of not the same severity. I talked to doctors
too. We have a great friend who is a specialist in anaesthetics and we
discussed this subject in great depth. He said that he does believe
that the OPs could have exacerbated the reaction to perhaps the multiple
vaccines that were given to people but just an exposure to OPs would not
have caused the range and severity of symptoms experienced.
Sigmund, since 1967 and for some years secretary of the Working Party on
Chemical and Biological Weapons, 28 July 2004.
Yes, the oil and smoke exposure, which anyone considering that
would say it must have some effect on their health because they were
inhaling droplets of oil which are laced with carcinogens and heavy
metals; they were bathing in it; it was raining oil; they were blackened
over; they could not see because of the smoke; they were inhaling all
the smoke. Malcolm
Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of
Sunderland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf War Veterans, 28
As you know, in Khamisiyah
low-level sarin gas was released inadvertently and there has been a huge
debate in the United States. How did that impact? Where did that plume
go? I know that is an issue that you are dealing with as well. The
history of the question of how many coalition troops were exposed to
chemical nerve agents in the Gulf is a very sorry one. For five years
the Pentagon denied that our soldiers had been exposed to any chemical
warfare agents. Finally, in June 1996, after being forced to admit that
there were exposures, they suggested that the exposures were limited.
The defence department's first estimates were that 400 troops were
exposed, then 20,000 troops. In 1997 the defence department and the CIA
gave us their best estimate that as many as 98,000 American troops could
have been exposed to chemical warfare agents due to the destruction of
the depot in Khamisiyah. In 2000 the defence department changed the
location affected by the Khamisiyah explosion. So, while it reaffirmed
its estimate of 100,000 being exposed, it changed the identity of 34,000
of the soldiers. In other words, we really have not had good evidence
as to where that plume went and what soldiers, whether American or
British, were exposed.
Congressman Bernie Sanders,
State of Vermont, USA, 2 August 2004.
It is a fact that the vaccine
has injured more people than anthrax has.
Lawrence Halloran, Staff
Director and Council of the Subcommittee on National Security and the
Public Committee on Federal Reform, 2 August 2004.
The Czech Ministry of Defence confirmed the detection of chemical agents
near the Iraqi border. We... believe that this was as a result of the
bombing and fall‑out from the instruction of the Iraqi chemical weapons
research production storage facilities… We established in this
investigation that chemical agent detectors used by US forces during the
Gulf War were not sufficiently sensitive to detect sustained low levels
of chemical agent and to monitor personnel for contamination. Yet,
these alarms continued to sound during the air war raids on the Iraqi
chemical warfare research, storage and production infrastructure... The
levels of agent were sufficiently high to set off the detectors even
though they were that insensitive to occupational and local exposure...
Finally, we uncovered conclusive evidence that the United States
shipped biological materials to Iraq which contributed to the Iraqi
biological warfare programme... Despite the fact that the Czech, the
French and some United States commanders were confirming that [the
alarms] were sounding because of trace amounts of nerve agents in the
air from the coalition bombing of Iraqi chemical facilities, storage
depots and bunkers, the United States troops were repeatedly told that
there was no danger. Some reported to the Committee that in some cases
they were told to turn the alarms off because they were sounding so
often during the air war. Many of these veterans were also subjected to
a variety of preventive medicine measures, including the time‑compressed
administration of multiple vaccines, individual vaccines of concern and
nerve agent pre-treatment pills, all of which may play a role in the
illnesses of particular individuals... I have seen some British
veterans who received as many as 22 immunisations over an 18 day period
and then they were not deployed...
Pyridostigmine bromide at the NAP dose is supposed to do this in a
reversible way so that it binds up these enzymes or receptors and they
are not available to the nerve agent. After the threat passes, they
become available again so that the person can use them. After people
had the NAPS tablets in the studies that were done, they also received
diazepam. They received antidotes to the pills themselves and that did
not occur during the war. You have this potential for illnesses being
directly related to the pills.
James Tuite III, consultant,
former Special Assistant to the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on
Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs for National Security and Dual‑use
Export Policies, 2 August 2004.
France, the United Kingdom and the United States
adopted different combinations of protective drugs and vaccines against
the threat of chemical or biological exposure. They employed these
drugs and vaccines to various extents. Some differences could be
attributed to the nations having identified different threats. For
example, France did not identify a biological threat and did not use
vaccines to protect against biological threats. It reportedly relied
more on protective gear than either the United States or the United
Kingdom did. Similarly, while the United Kingdom identified plague as a
threat, the United States did not and therefore did not require
immunisation of its troops against plague. The three nations use or
selection of medical countermeasures differed somewhat, even when they
identified the same threat. For example, the United Kingdom and the
United States both identified botulinum toxin as a threat but the United
Kingdom addressed it with antitoxin to be given after exposure, the
United States with investigational botulinum toxoid vaccine to be
administered before exposure. Finally, the use of medical
countermeasures for biological and chemical threats varied within and
across national commands. For example, official report and survey data
show that the United States administered botulinum toxoid vaccine to
only a small portion of its forces. The United Kingdom reported that it
administered the first anthrax injection to more than 75 per cent of its
deployed forces, fully vaccinating some units.
Keith Rhodes, chief
technologist at the [US] Government Accountability Office, 2 August
This vaccine, even though it was
not approved, you would get a court-martial if you did not take it, and
you are supposed to be given one shot a month over six months, but they
would give soldiers six shots in one month going into combat and the
mercury levels in the body far exceeded levels which would not do you
damage, so there are things like that.
Ross Perot, 3 August 2004.
Up until the last five or
six years nobody thought very much about what the reaction and prospects
would be for someone exposed to inhalational anthrax. I think we
thought about it and the early anthrax vaccine was largely developed
against cutaneous anthrax... If you do not carefully record what
vaccines an individual got at what point in time and what happened to
them later, you cannot answer that question, and although the DOD has
said, coming out of the experience of what we have reported on the first
Gulf War into the current conflict in Iraq, that they were going to keep
better records, the urgency of the deployment of troops, and in our case
a huge number of troops from reserve and guard regiments which was
contemplated from a doctrinal point of view but not contemplated from a
reality test point of view, I think when we get around to looking at it,
and we probably will in a year or two or three, not necessarily my work
but somebody, I think we are going to find that the record‑keeping fails
us again with respect to actually tracking what has happened to
DR JONES: It did lead, as far as I can make out, to situations in which
vaccines and inoculations were given with no prior documentation of what
that particular soldier had had before?
A. Yes. DR JONES: Which is highly undesirable?
Nancy Kingsbury, US Government Accountability Office, 3 August 2004.
A scud missile burst above my
position and I collapsed some time after that. It has been my belief
since then that some of those missiles were, in fact, loaded with
chemical warheads… I put this down to the scud event primarily, but
also quite possibly taking the NAPS pills after the event because they
were nerve agent pre-treatment sets to be taken before.
THE CHAIRMAN: How did you get the NAPS pills? They were issued to you
A. By the company.
civilian contractor of British Aerospace, 3 August 2004.
When you actually get down to the nitty-gritty and start looking at the
FDA inspection reports of the plant, then you throw up your hands and
you are quite concerned because you see that none of the procedures that
should have been followed in a vaccine manufacturing organisation were
being followed, not only for anthrax vaccine but there were enormous
numbers of quality control failures in the United States in all the
products that were made at that factory. We thought we were the only
ones with that problem but you apparently had some similar problems here
in the UK because your manufacturing facility also had to be shut down
and revamped… [I] start[ed] seeing that there had been a whole series of
these various adjuvant boosters that had been used which took a vaccine
that was of very low efficacy and turned it into a high efficacy vaccine
and none of these immune boosters are licensed in the United States and
I do not believe that they are licensed in the UK either. So, they were
used in animal experiments and they subsequently have not been
licensed. Dr Meryl
Nass, Mount Desert Island Hospital, Maine, USA, 1 September 2004.