At last, the case of people whose health has been seriously damaged caused by infected blood bought by a government agency is coming to the fore. But the plight of farmers, whose health suffered because government compelled them to use organophosphate sheep dips, is yet to be addressed – many affected veterans and farmers have died after long suffering.
OP-affected Richard Bruce writes: Dr Davis and Dr Ahmed wrote some informative papers on the subject. One may be read here: https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-functional-magnetic-resonance-imaging-fmri/
Allowed to sink into obscurity
In 1996 Defence minister Nicholas Soames confirmed that many of the soldiers returning from the Gulf War reporting fatigue, memory loss, weakness, joint and muscle pain and depression – a condition now known as Gulf War Syndrome, had been exposed to some sort of organophosphate pesticide.
From the archives:
1999: the US Government accepted that their veterans’ illnesses were mostly due to service in the Gulf. Of their 700,000-plus troops deployed there, 88% became eligible for benefits through their equivalent of the Veterans Agency and 45% had by then sought medical care. The US Government also accepted the extremely serious consequences of using organophosphates.
2000-2001: the UK government funded more research into the effects of organophosphate exposure and poisoning. The results of some studies provided support for the poisoning hypothesis but the research was delayed by the FMD outbreak and only completed in 2007.
2004: A study published in the British Medical Journal: ‘Overcoming apathy in research on organophosphate poisoning’, concluded that high rates of pesticide poisoning in developing countries and increasing risk of nerve gas attacks in the West mean effective antidotes for organophosphates should be a worldwide priority.
2008: the American government concluded an intensive study into the cause of “Gulf War Syndrome” Their $400,000 study found that OPs had causal responsibility for the harm inflicted. This finding was reported to the British Government by the Chief of Defence Staff [RAF].
Conflicts of interest: those campaigning for a ban on organophosphate pesticides have to face opposition from the agro-chemical industry, whose representatives sit on expert committees advising governments on pesticide safety.
As the Countess of Mar explained: There seems to be a nucleus of about 25 individuals who advise on a number of committees. The scientific community is very close-knit and because the numbers of individuals in specialties is small, they will all know one another. They are dependent upon one another for support, guidance, praise and recognition. If they wish to succeed, they must run with the prevailing ethos of their group, department or specialism Hansard 24 Jun 1997: Columns 1555-9
The Scotsman reported the findings of the 2004 independent inquiry into illnesses suffered by veterans of the first Gulf War which was headed by the former law lord Lord Lloyd of Berwick, called on the Ministry of Defence finally to recognise the existence of a “Gulf War syndrome”. It said that it was clear the cocktail of health problems suffered by an estimated 6,000 veterans were a direct result of their service in the 1991 conflict and urged the MoD to establish a special fund to make one-off compensation payments to those affected.
Is the long and inhumane delay due to the fact that the establishment of a link between Gulf War Syndrome and organophosphate poisoning would cost the MoD vast sums in compensation?
Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, has admitted that on March 26th, a British airstrike killed a motorcyclist who rode into its path in Syria by chance. It is the first confirmation of a civilian casualty by UK forces in the fight against Islamic State.
The unintentional death, described by Williamson as “deeply regrettable”, was confirmed during post-strike analyses of drone footage and other imagery.
The official position of the Ministry of Defence until yesterday’s announcement had been that it had seen no evidence of UK airstrikes causing civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria.
A source within the US-led coalition against Isis, however, told the BBC that he had seen evidence that British airstrikes had caused civilian casualties “on several occasions”. “To suggest they have not, as has been done, is nonsense,” the source added.
The coalition has begun an investigation and will issue a report. The airstrike was by a Reaper drone, remotely operated by pilots in the UK or at an airbase in the United States.
The defence secretary admits that RAF jets and drones have conducted more than 1,600 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq and Airwars, a group that has been monitoring civilian casualties, claimed it was likely that between 1,066 and 1,579 civilians had died in the fighting in Mosul. The US and Australia have accepted responsibility for civilian casualties. The coalition has admitted causing just over 350 civilian deaths in Mosul.
The deaths, in particular those of women and children, have helped to turn local populations against coalition forces and fuel insurgencies.
A Wimbledon reader sends news that Amnesty International has cited another civilian death: 68-year-old Mamana Bibi was picking vegetables in the family’s fields with her
grandchildren in Waziristan, northwest Pakistan. ’Out of nowhere’, she was hit during a double drone strike led by the US. Mamana is one of hundreds of civilians accidentally killed by US drone strikes. Strikes that the UK has been playing a crucial part in.
Despite the lack of coverage in many newspapers and on TV bulletins, a petition has been set up, calling for the UK government to launch a full public inquiry into its role in the US’s expanding drones programme:
To join this call for a full public inquiry into Britain’s role in the US’s expanding drones programme, go to https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/uk-stop-helping-deadly-and-secret-us-drone-strikes
As journalist David Hencke reminds us:
“One of the oldest tricks in the Whitehall playbook is to use a major event as cover to publish unpalatable or embarrassing news.
“It means the media are diverted by the event and don’t notice the announcement or report”.
In his recent post Hencke noted that the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury use of the US elections to hide two bad news stories.
On the day before Trump‘s victory, the Ministry of Defence slipped in a very embarrassing announcement about war veterans pensions and disability payments (£438,193,000 in the Armed Forces Pensions and Compensation scheme) for which the Treasury had apparently not budgeted, commenting: “As a result they will have to raid the contingency reserve for emergency payments to make sure these veterans have the money”.
On ‘results day’, the National Audit Office’s less than glowing report on the new Defence Equipment and Support agency was released to the media. Though the agency was set up to address MoD cost overruns on equipment, bad spending decisions and lack of control, the NAO has qualified its accounts and made profound and widely based criticisms of its performance
On the day of publication, few noticed that Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General, reported: “The DE&S has again been unable to provide sufficient evidence to support certain costs, or demonstrate that all costs it has incurred have been included in the financial statements. The C&AG has therefore limited the scope of his audit opinion . . . I believe this situation has arisen because the Agency’s financial management systems, processes and controls for these transactions and balances are not yet sufficiently well developed to meet the Agency’s needs.”
Hencke also reports that Anne Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick on Tweed and a member of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “At a time when we are seeing a lot of change in the Ministry of Defence, causing a great deal of anxiety for those who are serving, it is very disappointing to see Defence Equipment & Support has not got to grips with financial management”.
See also Hencke’s news article for Tribune magazine.
Chamber of Shame’s revolving door: the interests of the already rich are served and media further compromised
Clearly at the service of the multinationals, especially arms manufacturers and United States/Israel/Gulf states – and not those whom they were elected to serve – the Conservative cabinet goes full steam ahead to consolidate these links:
From Abu Dhabi Airports to the UK Ministry of Defence
As the electorate sees cuts to basic services, the coalition government has decided to appoint Tony Douglas, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports, with most useful Middle East contacts, as the new chief executive of Defence Equipment and Support (DE & S) on Tuesday. The FT reports: “The new chief of Britain’s armaments programme is to be rewarded with a £285,000 salary and £250,000 performance-related annual bonus, making him the highest earner in Whitehall and the latest in a new line of senior business figures lured into the public sector with the promise of private sector levels of pay”.
Now to the BBC Trust: Sir Roger Carr, arms manufacturer, representing your average license fee payer?
Investigative journalist Felicity Arbuthnot adds another breathtaking example: Roger Carr, the chairman of Europe’s biggest arms company, BAE Systems and Visiting Fellow of Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, has just been appointed as Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust, ludicrously, “to represent license fee payers views”. The BBC is established under a Royal Charter and – under an agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – is to serve the public, inform, educate and entertain.
BBC impartiality further compromised?
The BBC Trust is its governing body, mandated to ensure that the BBC delivers that mission – and ‘speak peace’ according to the charter coat of arms.
On a range of issues, grossly skewed information has led to floods of public protest and the official 2004 Hutton Inquiry investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, a biological warfare expert and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq challenged the BBC’s journalistic standards and its impartiality.
CAAT protests that BAE Systems has armed dictatorships and human rights abusers around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel. It has presented a petition asking the BBC to cut its ties with Carr and the arms trade.
The Guardian’s gross omission
Disturbingly, the Guardian, still read by many thoughtful people, does not mention this affiliation, listing only Carr’s former appointments.
The UK Missile Defence Centre (MDC) was established by the Ministry of Defence in 2003 following signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the US for the conduct of collaborative ballistic defence studies.
Largely funded by the Chief Scientific Adviser’s S&T research programme (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory), the MDC – in collaboration with its industry partners – announced a programme to explore the potential of the Royal Navy’s destroyers to conduct Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence missions.
Six months later, building on the Ministry of Defence’s relationship with the US Missile Defense Agency, the MDC also agreed to take part in a trial which will test the Sampson radar, part of the Sea Viper missile system, in detecting and tracking ballistic targets.
In September Sea Ceptor missiles were ordered to complement the longer range Sea Viper system (left) on the Type 45 destroyers, providing the Royal Navy with a full range of missile systems to defeat current and future threats.
As no other states appear to be interested in attacking Britain and the current UK threat level for international terrorism is ‘SUBSTANTIAL’, according to MI5 – is taxpayers’ money being completely wasted on expensive missile systems?
Soapbox 499: Lesley Docksey on the situation of infantry soldiers from the most disadvantaged backgrounds – cannon fodder
On Soapbox for the 99% – adding to the theory that government-friendly MNCs require a reserve army of labour – Lesley Docksey considers the military role of the ‘underclass’ in Global Research.
How ‘fit for purpose’ are British soldiers? Are they truly the well-trained, highly professional people that can always be relied on to uphold the standards of international laws while putting themselves ‘in harm’s way’? Not if one reads the evidence that was given at the Baha Mousa Inquiry, nor that currently being given at the Al Sweady Inquiry. Soldiering is a violent trade despite all the denials, justifications and fudge put out by Ministry of Defence spokespeople and senior officers.
Points made in her article:
Soldiers from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, and with the lowest educational levels in the infantry
The soldiers from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, and with the lowest educational levels, are those in the infantry, the ‘brave boys’ in the front line, the cannon fodder who are trained to kill and be killed. Although the infantry only make up just over 13% of the total British Armed Forces, they bear the brunt of the fighting, the killing and dying, the violence that is war.
There are those who join up because they are following a father, uncle or older brother, trusted people who only ever tell them the interesting bits, the fun times to be had in the Army. There are those who have always wanted a career in the Army. And then there are the rest. Often living in the poorest city neighbourhoods, many from single-parent families and broken homes, in foster or local authority care and with lives already full of violence, these are the children who constantly truant from school, roaming the streets and forming gangs. The truancy, gang culture and a failing social system mean they miss out on the one thing that might get them out of dead-end lives – education.
These disadvantaged youngsters are targeted by Army recruiters. David Gee (a researcher into the recruitment practices of the UK Armed Forces) and Anna Goodman studied how often the Army visited schools within London, and what type of schools they favoured. They found that the most disadvantaged schools (the bottom 20%) received 52% of all the visits made by Army recruiters to schools in the area studied. They also found, despite the military vigorously denying that they ever send recruiting teams into primary schools, a few occasions when primary schools were indeed visited. When the Ministry of Defence were asked for information by the Defence Select Committee they said that they “did not collect socio-economic data on Forces personnel”.
Many youngsters, facing a future with no job, believe all they are told by the recruiting teams about how wonderful a career in the army will be – an exciting life, foreign travel, lots of sport and the rest. The Army will train you, they are told; you’ll come out with a good qualification, something that will get you a good job when you leave the army. No one tells them that if you want that kind of training you may have to sign up for perhaps an extra three year’s service, just to get on a three month course.
Not once is the word ‘risk’ mentioned, that by signing up they risk being killed, disabled or mentally damaged, the risk that is nobly described as ‘putting themselves into harm’s way’. Nor is it made clear that they will be trained to kill. That word is totally absent. The enemy may be ‘engaged’, ‘cleared, or ‘taken out’ but never killed. David Gee’s report on armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom, Informed Choice?, gives examples of such euphemisms. He writes: “The Army Jobs web site contains 296 pages. It contains the word ‘enemy’ on 36 of these but does not contain the word ‘kill’, ‘killing’ or ‘killed’.” So even if a potential recruit can read all of this, he will not get any accurate idea of what it is he will sign up to.
Much of the training involves what you and I would call bullying – and worse (the facts that came out in the Deepcut ‘suicides’ scandal testified to that). Some, braver or more desperate than the rest, leave within the permitted first 6 months of training. The others stay on and bond. This is now their ‘gang’, their replacement family. They are all in it together, whether suffering or getting drunk. The Army depends on that bonding. It means they won’t let their mates down, they’ll follow orders – and they’ll hide the fact that they are mentally distressed. But in any other sphere except that of the British Forces, these are considered to be children. And we have the gall to throw our hands up in horror at the child soldiers of Africa!
Violent offending by UK military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan
In March a Kings College study was published: Violent offending by UK military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers who have served in the front line in Iraq or Afghanistan are 53% more likely to commit a violent offence later in life. Violent offending was most common among young men from the lower ranks of the Army and was strongly associated with a history of violent offending before joining the military. It also found that the proportion of servicemen under 30 years old with a conviction for violent offending was much higher than among men of a similar age in the general population (20.6% vs 6.7%). When the report was published military spokesmen were quick to point out that ex-military personnel are more law-abiding than the general public. That is true but it includes all those who stayed in the Forces until retirement, who had learned to lead disciplined lives and, more importantly, all those who did not serve in the infantry’s front line.
It is the whole social system that is at fault, and with rightwing politicians constantly demonising the poor and disadvantaged, one can’t help thinking that the creation and maintenance of an underclass has always been deliberate. Governments need scapegoats and sin eaters and, given their propensity for waging wars, where else would they get their cannon fodder?
Read the whole article here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/fit-for-purpose-cannon-fodder-recruiting-for-violence-in-the-military/5329282. Relevant background information: The Select Committee on Defence 2005 report on recruitment
Ministry of Defence: Saudi Arabia pays for its Sangcom project team
After a protracted investigation saga (details via any search engine), Exaro has finally driven the UK’s Ministry of Defence to admit that officials working on a contract embroiled in bribery allegations are paid for by Saudi Arabia.