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DU article on cover of Daily Express

>From the Daily Express online

26 August, 1999


THE Government has been accused of a cover-up after new evidence emerged
proving that British soldiers suffered
massive radiation poisoning during the Gulf War. 

Tests 500,000-times more accurate than any previously conducted have shown
beyond doubt that servicemen and women were exposed to terrifying levels
of depleted uranium after it was used by the Allies to crush Saddam
Hussein's army. 

The revelation comes as Gulf War veterans have accused former Armed Forces
Minister Doug Henderson of misleading Parliament about the Ministry of
Defence's knowledge of the poisoning suffered by British troops. 

The veterans claim that at a defence select committee meeting on April 28
this year, Mr Henderson told members that the MoD had not received any
evidence of depleted uranium (DU) tests from former soldiers. 

But, they say, he neglected to mention a meeting between himself and the
veterans on March 18, attended by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, at
which evidence that 30 British veterans had tested positive for DU
poisoning was presented. 

The Government has repeatedly insisted that troops who handled DU-tipped
weapons during the 1991 conflict were not at risk of radiation poisoning. 

It has always insisted there has been no point testing British veterans
because DU is passed from the system naturally within a few weeks and
there was no risk from any contaminated dust with which troops may have
come into contact. 

More than 700,000 rounds of DU-coated missiles and bullets were fired
during the conflict. Produced from nuclear waste, the DU gives weapons
amazing armour-piercing powers. 

But critics have argued that they are indiscriminate weapons of mass
destruction which should be banned. Confirmation that veterans were
poisoned and accusations that the MoD has deliberately covered up its
knowledge of the facts, has led to calls for a public inquiry into how the
Gulf War Syndrome issue has been handled by successive governments. 

Professor Malcolm Hooper, a Government-appointed scientific advisor
investigating Gulf-related illnesses, warned: "These results are
unequivocal and extremely worrying. The MoD has insisted there is no
danger from DU but these results say otherwise. 

"This is a cock-up fast becoming a cover-up and unless the MoD says it is
prepared to act swiftly then it must be accused of covering this up." 

Earlier this year, 20 veterans sent urine samples to a Canadian geochemist
for detailed analysis. As The Express has already exclusively revealed,
two previous tests conducted by respected scientists indicated DU

But the mass spectrometer tests conducted by Patricia Horan at the
Memorial University of Newfoundland are up to 500,000 times more accurate
than the earlier tests. 

Only one veteran, Shaun Rusling, has so far received his results which
show that eight years after the end of the Gulf War, he is still passing
60 per cent DU in his urine. 

The highly-toxic compound attacks the lungs, liver and bones and can cause
genetic mutations which are passed on through the generations.  Sufferers
of DU poisoning are susceptible to cancers at any time, anywhere in the
body. Mr Rusling, head of the National Gulf War Veterans and Families
Association, yesterday demanded a public inquiry into DU poisoning. 

"As a former soldier, I can't feel anything other than let down," said the
40-year-old father-of-two at his home in Hull. "The Government appears to
be waiting until the vets die of cancer or until our levels of DU
excretion are low enough for them to say that it is not a hazard. 

"To be excreting the amount of DU that I am now, eight years after the end
of the war, shows that I was exposed to a massive amount at the time. 

"All we want is for the vets to be properly tested, to have the medical
treatment that we have so far been denied and for an acceptance from the
MoD that they know about DU poisoning and an apology. 

"I look at my nine-month-old baby and it breaks my heart because I know I
will never see her grow up. I already have 23 acknowledged illnesses as a
result of my Gulf service and the DU poisoning means that I could develop
something fatal at any time. 

"It is rather like sitting around having a gun held against your head and
waiting for it to go off." 

Professor Hooper said: "Patricia Horan's data makes it imperative that we
begin an exhaustive study of British veterans. The results are reliable
and a thorough investigation is urgently required, not only of Gulf War
veterans but also those troops who have served in Kosovo where the Allies
also used DU-tipped weapons." 

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, also called for an inquiry. "Any
one who has seen the results of these men will know what a parlous state
they have been reduced to. We all want to know why and what will be done
about it. The MoD handling of this crisis must be investigated," said the
veteran MP. 

 Saddam has stationed anti-aircraft missiles within 35 yards of civilian
homes in a new human shield ploy, the US military claimed yesterday.
Officials say it proves the dictator is willing to sacrifice his people
over the issue of US and British warplanes patrolling no-fly zones in
northern and southern Iraq.

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