Mar 7 2004


By Susie Boniface

THE Government experimented on British troops without their knowledge and injected them with vaccines which had not been fully tested, a leaked Ministry of Defence report reveals.

Defence chiefs gave the order for the unproved jabs to be given to our armed forces during both Gulf Wars.

The MoD document, seen by the Sunday Mirror, admits that the members of 205 General Hospital were used in a plague "trial" in 1991. And last year phials of anthrax vaccine thrown off a warship by angry sailors bound for the Gulf were found to contain an illegal agent which causes nerve and tissue damage.

The "guinea pig" tests are now being linked to Gulf War Syndrome, a catalogue of chronic illnesses affecting veterans. And as we revealed last week, the legacy of the illegal research is serious damage to the unborn children of servicemen and women.

Professor Malcolm Hooper, an expert in the syndrome who sits on the MoD vaccine panel, said: "I believe they have been experimenting with our troops, but the MoD refuses to talk about it." For Tony Flint, a veteran of the first Gulf conflict, what happened to him as a private in 205 General Hospital is clear. "I was a guinea pig, pure and simple. They gave me and my comrades a vaccine with no idea what it would do," he said. "I became ill straight away and after I came home I was a changed man. I now have Epstein-Barr virus, asthma, chronic fatigue, muscle-wasting and post-traumatic stress. I get flu every few weeks."

He had injections for cholera, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis B, polio, yellow fever, meningitis and anthrax before being sent to the war zone. In January 1991, just days before hostilities began, he was given another jab for anthrax and one for plague.

The report by the MoD's Gulf Veterans Illnesses Unit says senior officers "were concerned about the plague vaccine". It adds: "Headquarters British Armed Forces Middle East decided a trial should be conducted at 205 General Hospital to assess how many personnel would suffer severe reactions as a result of plague immunisation before other units in theatre began the administration of plague vaccine."

Mr Flint, 56, of Tottenham, North London, was never warned of this. "They gave it to us first because they wanted to see what it would do," he said. "But if they did not have a clear idea how the body would respond to the vaccine, they should never have used it."

Since returning home Mr Flint has also tested positive for traces of a harmful chemical called squalene - found in large amounts in a batch of anthrax thrown off the warship HMS Ocean and washed ashore.

It is believed to have been used in the Gulf as a booster to make patients absorb the anthrax vaccine quickly.

It has never been licensed for use in the UK or US, and its use is illegal.

Prof Hooper said: "Squalene had been used to improve AIDS vaccines but was such an aggressive substance it was found to do all kinds of damage.

"Even the smallest traces are enough to trigger a reaction in the body's immune system, and Gulf War Syndrome is entirely linked to faults of the immune system."

Hundreds of US war veterans have tested positive for squalene, but the MoD refuses to test British servicemen and women. It will not recognise Gulf War Syndrome and refuses to reveal what is in the vaccines for national security reasons.

An MoD spokesman said yesterday: "There is no clinical evidence to suggest anyone has suffered long-term ill effects as a result of the UK-licensed anthrax vaccine." He denied the use of squalene and refused to comment on plague vaccine.



DEMANDS for a full inquiry into the birth defects of Gulf War babies will be heard in the House of Commons tomorrow.

The move comes in the wake of our revelation last week that deaths, still-births, miscarriages and birth defects among Army babies are being blamed on anthrax jabs given to soldiers sent to Iraq.

In one unit - 33 Field Hospital - not one child conceived around the time of last year's Gulf War was born healthy.

Campaigning Lib Dem MP Paul Tyler will call on Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to order a scientific probe into why so many families have been blighted.

"We need to find out exactly what has happened. This number of pregnancies don't just go wrong for no reason," he said.

"Until a full study is carried out these families won't get the answers they need.

"Geoff Hoon should make a statement to the House on what his department is doing to solve the mystery of what has happened to the babies of 33 Field Hospital."



WHEN baby Catherine Jane was born, there should have been rejoicing. Instead, her parents sobbed as their longed-for daughter was delivered.

She died seven-and-a-half hours later, severely deformed - another victim of the Gulf War curse.

"I had known all along something was wrong," said mum Vicky Warriner, 36. "And I knew it was because of the war."

Catherine Jane's father, Mark Warriner, served in the 1991 Gulf War as a driver in the Royal Corps of Transport. They had a healthy baby son, James, in 1996.

But trouble began as Vicky and Mark tried to expand their family. She miscarried at nine weeks in 1997 and at 11 weeks a year later.

"When Mark was in the Gulf, he was told to roll his sleeves up and join a queue of soldiers walkingthrough a tent in the middle of the desert. As they filed past they had jab after jab in their arms," said Vicky. "He was never told some of the jabs were experimental."

When she became pregnant again in 1998 the couple hoped their run of bad luck was over, but a late scan found the baby's body had stopped developing at 27 weeks. "The nurse looked at the screen - her face just fell," said Vicky. "I started to cry. She was nurses took it in turns to go into the corner and cry. There was nothing they could do for her. She died at 10.30pm. We buried her in February 1999 and my husband left me in the July. He could not cope with the loss of Catherine.

"He's married again now, but is too worried about what will happen to have any more children."