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MoD raid on Gulf veterans, and D.U. conference in Iraq, and more...




First a short Guardian article from 2nd December 1998, followed by a piece
about the D.U. conference going on in Iraq (both articles involve the same
person...). Finally, at the end I've included an Independent article,
'Brother of leading Iraqi dissident found dead', with more about INDICT
(mentioned in previous email by Robin Cook). Sorry to send so much!...

--------------------------

'MoD raid' on Gulf veterans

Two Gulf War Veterans' homes were raided yesterday by Ministry of Defence
police searching for leaked documents alleged to have shown they had
tested the soldiers for depleted uranium, it was claimed. 

The National Gulf War Veterans and Families Association said Ray Bristow's
home in Hull and Andy Honer's home in Essex were raided in an attempt to
confiscate documents apparently showing the MoD is investigating depleted
uranium in British Gulf War veter ans. 

Mr Bristow, 40, is currently in Baghdad attending a conference on depleted
uranium with two American specialists on radiation. He is trying to find
out why he and his colleages are ill.  To date, 258 Gulf War veterans have
died since the war and 3,000 are ill. 


---------------------------

Wednesday December 2, 2:56 PM

Iraq says U.S., Britain left deadly battle legacy

By Dominic Evans 

BAGHDAD, Dec 2 - Iraq accused Western powers on Wednesday of inflicting a
creeping health and environmental disaster in its southern provinces by
firing radioactive munitions in the 1991 Gulf War.

Opening a conference to highlight the effects of depleted uranium
ammunition used by the United States and Britain, officials said cancer
cases had soared in parts of south Iraq and radiation levels were
unusually high.

"Irreparable damage has hit the Iraqi people and environment which gives
Iraq the legitimate right to compensation," Ministry of Health Under
Secretary Shawki Murcus said.

Murcus listed a catalogue of ailments including congenital defects, muscle
disorders, fatigue and cancer cases, and said the two-day meeting would
show they were caused by the depleted uranium used in the 1991 fighting.

"We have established a link between depleted uranium and these cases,"
Murcus said.

The conference brought together Iraqi researchers, foreign scientists and
doctors. American and British war veterans also returned to the country
they fought seven years ago, seeking answers to what they said were their
own unexplained ailments.

Iraqi officials say allied forces estimated they had used 300 tonnes of
depleted uranium munitions against Iraqi forces, but that other
researchers put the figure at 700 to 800 tonnes. 

Sami al-Araji, who serves on a government committee studying the aftermath
of the 1991 war, said air, soil and water samples taken near Iraq's border
with Kuwait showed abnormally high levels of radiation. 

Jawad al-Ali, a cancer doctor in Iraq's southern city of Basra, told
Reuters his hospital had registered 400 new cases this year, including a
high proportion of lymphomas and leukemias he linked to radiation,
compared to 116 in 1988. Cancer deaths jumped to 303 last year from 34 in
1988, he said.

With its health services devastated by eight years of sanctions imposed
for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq says it cannot afford expensive
cancer drugs to treat the afflicted let alone the huge cost of
decontaminating affected areas -- already some of the poorest and
worst-hit by the sanctions.

It has tried for years to pin the blame for the health crisis in the south
on the use of depleted uranium (DU), a dense metal used to make
armour-piercing projectiles.

DU emits less radiation than naturally occurring uranium but retains
radioactive properties. 

Britain has said DU rounds can produce small amounts of radioactive and
toxic particles on impact, but it is unlikely that anyone outside the
target area would be affected. 

But Ray Bristow, who served in the Gulf War as a British medical
operations technician well behind battle lines, said he was tested
positive for depleted uranium last month.

"I didn't think for one minute I'd be affected because I wasn't in the
battlefield," Bristow told reporters. "I was exposed to DU at levels 100
times normal levels. It makes me wonder what happened to those on the
front line." 

Colin Purcell-Lee, who served in the same medical unit as Bristow, said
Britain was trying to suppress information about depleted uranium because
of fears it would be held liable for illnesses suffered by soldiers on
both sides. 

"It is a grotesque irony that we had to come here to get information that
our own government is not prepared to give us," he said. 

Murcus said symptoms reported by some American and British veterans --
which include memory loss, muscle pain, leukemia, kidney and thyroid
problems -- were similar to those afflicting Iraqi soldiers. 

The Western participants to the conference said they hoped that by
comparing notes, they could shed light on their cases.

"I came here today to hear what you found in your research, to
compare...and hopefully we can get some answers," said Carol Picou, a
42-year-old former U.S. military nurse. 



-------------

from The Independent:

Brother of leading Iraqi dissident found dead 

By Richard Norton-Taylor
Wednesday December 2, 1998 

The brother of the leader of an Iraqi opposition group
backed by the CIA and MI6 has been found dead in the
Jordanian capital Amman, having apparently committed
suicide. But his death prompted speculation that he had
been killed by agents of Saddam Hussein. 

Emad Alawi, aged 55, the brother of Ayad Alawi who
heads the Iraqi National Accord (INA), was found dead on
Saturday with a gunshot wound to the head outside his
Amman flat.

Jordanian security services were quoted yesterday as saying
there was evidence of suicide. Emad Alawi, a businessman
who left Iraq in 1995, was believed to have financial
problems. Baghdad is understood to have confiscated his
assets as a punishment for his brother's defection.

"Early indications are that it was sucide but we cannot
confirm or deny it," a spokesman for the INA in London
said yesterday. He said although Alawi was not active in the
resistance movement, being related to a leader could have
made him a target.

The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper yesterday quoted
'independent sources' in Jordan as saying he had died in a
way suggesting he was killed by agents on behalf of the
Iraqi government.

In his first British newspaper interview, Ayad Alawi - who
survived an assassination attempt in London in 1978 - told
the Guardian last month: 'We understand the power
structure in Iraq, and our policy is to break it down so that
Saddam will crack.'

While Western intelligence agencies - including MI6 - value
the INA's networks, its critics say the group is penetrated
by Iraqi agents. A coup attempt by the INA in 1996 was
foiled.

In London yesterday, promoters of Indict, a United
States-funded campaign to place President Saddam and 12
of his associates on trial, said they believed the sudden
decision by Barzan al-Tikriti, the Iraqi dictator's
half-brother, to return to Iraq was prompted by fear of
arrest. Mr Barzan recently left his post as Iraq's
ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

Ann Clywd, the Labour MP and chairperson on Indict,
said: "We believe it is no coincidence that Barzan chose to
return to Iraq for the first time in almost nine years, despite
his very public feud with Saddam's murderous son, Uday,
at just the time that Indict had commenced proceedings
against him."

Indict has recently been given $3 million (1.8 million) by
the US Congress. Its press conference yesterday was
attended by Ahmed Chalabi, president of the Iraqi National
Congress, the most prominent opposition group and rival to
the INA. Dr Chalabi has just returned from Tehran.

Ms Clwyd said: "As head of Iraqi intelligence, [Barzan] was
directly responsible for widespread acts of murder, torture,
disappearances, extra-judicial executions, arbitrary
detention and rape."

She said the campaign had been encouraged by the law
lords' ruling last week that the former Chilean dictator
General Augusto Pinochet did not have immunity from
extradition.

Apart from President Saddam and his sons Uday and
Qusay, Indict's list includes Vice-President Taha Yasin
Ramadan and the deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz.

The London-based Iraqi Communist Party said yesterday
that a general named Sami, who it said was a senior officer
of protocol in the presidential palace, had been executed on
November 19.



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