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>From the Daily Express online http://express.lineone.net/login/cgi-bin/l1login.cgi 26 August, 1999 COVER-UP EXCLUSIVE BY GREG SWIFT 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 poisoning. 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. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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