Already, more than 10,000 are dead and 250,000 are sick from Gulf War syndrome. What secret is so terrible (or embarrassing) that necessitates a cover-up of the facts?
The air raid siren went off.” Former Royal Air Force Corporal Richie Turnbull wheezed and coughed as he spoke. He is one of tens of thousands of Gulf War veterans who have been diagnosed with a fistful of illnesses attributed to service in the Gulf War. These include emphysema, angina, asthma, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, short-term memory loss, muscle wasting, cough syncope and numerous other debilitating ailments. Before deployment to the Gulf, Turnbull was an accomplished and superbly fit sub-aqua diver. Today, he walks with the aid of canes, slowly.
With understandable pride he told me how he had “proved Soames to be a liar three times”. The reference was to the former Conservative Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Honourable Nicholas Soames, MP. Many vets uncharitably call the former minister “Fatty Soames”, owing to his handsome girth. The appellation reflects the seething contempt of an individual whom vets regard as one of the principal architects of a monstrous transatlantic cover-up.
Turnbull was an RAF Senior Electrician in a Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) unit and an experienced instructor on NBC equipment. He was stationed at the giant military base located at Dhahran on the night of 20 January 1991, when air raid sirens began wailing madly. Incoming Scud missiles were detected and a nearby US Patriot battery fired off intercept missiles. One of the missiles downed the Scud which landed a mere 400 yards from Turnbull. The impact left an eight-foot-deep crater but, curiously, the giant ground-to-ground missile did not explode.
“All the nerve agent detectors sounded the alarm,” Turnbull recalls. As an NBC expert he ran three tests which confirmed the presence of “G agent”, otherwise known as Sarin – the deadly nerve agent developed by the Nazis in World War II. Turnbull ran a further three “residual vapour detector tests” which also showed the presence of nerve agents. In all, he says, “thirty-three items of equipment showed that chemical weapons had been detected”.
“NBC Condition Black” was sounded and everyone on the base rushed to don their NBC “Noddy” suits. Incredibly, 20 minutes later an all-clear siren (“NBC Condition White”) sounded and troops removed their protective clothing accordingly. Twenty minutes later “NBC Condition Black” sounded again, and remained in force for a further eight hours.
Turnbull, who says he is “absolutely certain it was a chemical weapon attack”, is understandably angry. Sounding the all-clear when nerve agents were shown to be present was, he says, “the biggest cock-up in history”. Hundreds of troops were needlessly exposed to Sarin, he believes.
Turnbull continues to be a thorn in the side of Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the US Department of Defense (DoD). Both maintain that chemical weapons were not intentionally used by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. A spokesman at the MoD had earlier told me that he was a Royal Navy officer and was “in theatre” during the Gulf War. He went on to assure me personally that had the Iraqis intentionally used chemical and biological (CB) weapons “we would have retaliated in kind” – an allusion to US President Bush’s threat to retaliate with a nuclear strike if Saddam Hussein unleashed his prodigious chemical armoury on coalition troops.
In the event, it was an empty threat-old-fashioned political rhetoric dished out for the folks at home.
CHEMICAL ATTACK OR COCK-UP?
Faced with mounting evidence of chemical weapons exposure by coalition troops, both the British and US governments belatedly acknowledge that chemical weapons dumps were bombed, or otherwise destroyed, by coalition forces. They even acknowledge that the resulting plume of toxic material, blown by the wind, is likely to have exposed many thousands of coalition troops to these deadly agents. In other words, it was an unforeseen accident. This admission is known in intelligence parlance as a “limited hangout” – a technique designed to show that they are now telling the truth. They are not.
Pat Eddington, a former CIA intelligence analyst, in his book, Gassed in the Gulf, scathingly uncovers the institutionalised dishonesty within the CIA and the DoD over Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). Reasonably, he argues that based on the increasing number of vets prepared to speak of their experiences, it is clear beyond all doubt that coalition forces came under a series of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons attacks. Like Admiral Nelson placing a telescope over his blind eye, then exclaiming he can “see no ships”, the Mandarins in Whitehall and Washington are wilfully blind to what they don’t care to acknowledge. Yet, the evidence is overwhelming.
Ray Bristow had served 20 years with the Territorial Army. When not involved with his TA duties, Bristow was an operating theatre technician at his local hospital. He was mobilised on 27 December 1990, promoted to a Warrant Officer, and sent to the 32 Field Hospital located at Wadi al Batin, just a few kilometres away from the town of Hafar al Batin. On 19 January 1991 he and other personnel watched as a Scud missile roared overhead and exploded in an airburst. He could clearly see a cloud of vapour discharge from the Scud. The NBC alarms (known as NAIADS), scattered around the base, wailed loudly, alerting the troops of “NBC Condition Black”. “We were Scudded,” Bristow said, and the specialised equipment detected the presence of chemical agents.
Also present at Wadi al Batin that evening was former Sergeant Shaun Rusling. Previously with 23 Para Regiment’s 5 Airborne Field Ambulance, Rusling was an experienced Special Forces medic. His duties were to attend to the sick and wounded of Britain’s One Armoured Brigade. This soon grew to encompass caring for other coalition forces and Iraqi casualties, too. He watched the Scud explosion and saw the cloud of vapour bloom overhead. He also believes the unit came under artillery attack with rounds containing chemical weapons. Numerous boxes of 155-mm chemical ammunition were secretly recovered by coalition troops in the Kuwait Theatre of Operations (KTO) during the ground war and subsequent mopping-up operations. Made in the USA, they had been supplied to Iraq via Jordan.
Yet despite this testimony, these and other vets continue to be treated with official contempt. As recently as January 1997, the Countess of Mar posed a parliamentary question in the House of Lords which asked if the MoD had any “documentary evidence of chemical warfare” in the Gulf conflict-a curious question which was limited only to chemical attack. Questions regarding the use of biological weapons remain unutterable. In his reply, the Earl Howe stated that research conducted by the MoD “does not indicate any confirmed use of chemical warfare agents during the conflict” – which is an even more curious answer.
Who, conceivably, could confirm the use of chemical weapons other than those trained soldiers present during a chemical attack? Likewise, the tens of thousands of “detections” triggered by chemical agent detectors throughout the conflict are simply categorised as “alleged detections” which were “uncorroborated at the time”. Again, a careful and deceitful choice of words.
But behind the intentional use of chemical agents by Iraq lurks a far more sinister story which hitherto has not being told in any detail. Biological weapons, unlike chemical agents, don’t just kill on the battlefield: survivors returning home carry with them the potential seeds of destruction. These, in turn, can infect the families of Gulf War vets – a situation that is now occurring.
Importantly, the British and US governments were well aware of the potential use of both chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein. They had, after all, supplied him with the wherewithal to develop his ferocious CB armoury. This included sophisticated equipment together with the necessary chemical precursors and biological cultures.
This knowledge led the British and US governments to vaccinate their troops with a ‘cocktail’ designed to protect them against both chemical and biological attack. Vaccines given to coalition troops included, amongst others, anthrax, botulism and bubonic plague. Cultures for all three were supplied to Iraq by the US Government during the middle/late 1980s for use in Iraq’s CB weapons program.
US BIOLOGICAL ARMS TO IRAQ
A 1994 Senate Report, entitled “Arming Iraq: The Export of Biological Materials and the Health of Gulf War Veterans”, underscores the biological threat possessed by the Iraqis. More often referred to as “the Riegle Report”, named after its author, Donald J. Riegle, Jr, the Report itemises biological cultures supplied to Iraq by the US. Riegle and his team identified no less than 61 batches of biologically hazardous materials exported to Iraq. “Between the years 1985 and 1989, the United States Government approved the sales of quantities of potentially lethal biological agents that could have been cultured and grown in very large quantities in an Iraqi biological warfare program,” Riegle stated.
These included pathogenic materials, “which means disease-producing items, and toxigenic, meaning poisonous items.” The Report added that “we were not able to get any records prior to 1985”. Riegle then included an extract from a Department of Defense summary report written in 1992:
“By the time of the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq had developed biological weapons. Its advanced and aggressive biological warfare program was the most advanced in the Arab world. The program probably began in the 1970s and concentrated on the development of two agents, botulinum toxin and anthrax bacteria… Delivery means for biological agents ranged from simple aerial bombs and artillery rockets to surface-to-surface missiles.”
Other biological agents provided by the US to Saddam Hussein’s biological warfare program included Histoplasma capsulatum, which can cause symptoms resembling tuberculosis and lead to the enlargement of the liver and spleen as well as anaemia and skin disease-symptoms that many veterans now exhibit.
Another organism was Brucella melitensis, which, when ‘weaponised’, causes chronic fatigue, profuse sweating and loss of appetite, joint pains, insomnia and nausea, and can potentially result in major damage to the vital organs. Again, these symptoms reflect the conditions experienced by thousands of Gulf War veterans. In addition to the foregoing, shipments to Iraq also included “E. coli and genetic materials, human and bacterial DNA”.
Furious at the way the Department of Defense has side-stepped these disgraceful issues, Riegle fired off a volley of letters to various officials. One letter identified that the “average cost” of each of the various biological specimens shipped to Iraq was “less than $60.00” and that they were “acquired from a not-for-profit organization”.
Stories also circulating of a genetically engineered organism being used in the Gulf War are paralleled by stories from British veterans who also claim the use of a modified mycoplasma organism. These vets include Angus Parker who had earlier said it was “an infectious organism manufactured in the US”. Oddly enough, this is one of the enduring aspects of the “Octopus” story involving engineered bio-organisms supplied to Iraq by the Wackenhut Corporation, the giant US private-sector security company whose board of directors reads like a roll call of military and intelligence alumni. It is an allegation supported by US investigative journalist Carol Marshall in her manuscript, “The Last Circle”.
Marshall has spent years investigating the allegations of Michael Riconosciuto-a former CIA scientific whiz-kid. Riconosciuto claimed that while working for the Wackenhut Corporation at its Cabazon Indian Reservation facility he developed advanced and genetically altered biological warfare agents. One such agent, he alleged, was a “race-specific” organism, genetically engineered to attack certain races or groups. Unleashed it could kill or render ill all those of a particular ethnic group, leaving others entirely unharmed. Clearly, the possibility of genetically modified bio-weapons having been used in the Gulf War cannot be entirely ruled out.
EXPERIMENTAL VACCINES COVER-UP
If genetically engineered biological weapons are now available, it is certain that there will have been developed the necessary antidotes in the form of vaccines. All of the vets I interviewed for this article spoke of the large number of vaccines with which they were injected.
Shaun Rusling received 24 vaccinations over a four-week period. Two of these vaccinations were classified secret, and were “experimental”, he believes. Richard Turnbull got a dose of 13 inoculations in just 10 minutes. Four of them were unidentified and classified secret. He also believes them to have been experimental.
Ray Bristow was informed in a letter from Brigadier McDermott of the MoD that some of his injections were also classified. Later he was informed by the Surgeon General, Admiral Revell, that this was not the case and that Brigadier McDermott’s statement was incorrect.
How many vaccines were classified secret? The Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Revell, during a “behind closed doors” meeting of Parliament’s Defence Committee, was asked, “How many vaccines do we not admit to?” He replied, saying, “I think probably about five or six.”
All previously classified vaccines were declassified on 10 December 1996, according to a letter dated 20 January 1997 from the Ministry of Defence. A spokesman at the MoD confirmed this in a telephone call on Friday 30 May 1997, adding that there were only three vaccines that had ever been classified. He told me these were: anthrax, pertussis and plague. This statement is confirmed in a letter to Shaun Rusling, dated 20 January 1997, in which the MoD confided that “the vaccines you were given against potential biological warfare threats were anthrax, pertussis (as an adjuvant) and plague. These are the only vaccinations which have ever been classified.” This is a far cry from the testimony of Surgeon General Revell in the closed-door hearings of the Defence Committee in which he said there were “five or six” vaccines which were “not admitted to”.
I posed this discrepancy to the Ministry of Defence. Surgeon General Revell’s testimony before the Defence Committee was “a misunderstanding”, the MoD spokesman said. Despite this “misunderstanding”, the medical records of Corporal Richard Turnbull clearly state that four vaccines – not three – were classified secret.
Turnbull is not alone in this respect. Ray Bristow’s list of shots, including anthrax (batch no. 0190), plague (batch no. 10H03A) and pertussis adjuvant (batch no. B1868a)- to name just those three that were officially classified-also detail two other vaccines labelled “biological”. These are still classified secret and their contents remain “unknown”. The story is identical for Shaun Rusling, even down to the same batch numbers of the vaccines he received.
UNWITTING GUINEA PIGS
A number of veterans now believe they have been used as unwitting guinea pigs and are deeply concerned at what precisely may have been pumped into them. Once again, Porton Down’s Angus Parker dropped another bombshell. Patiently, he explained that “the MoD has not been totally honest about the vaccines used against us”. I couldn’t help but catch his use of the word “against” us instead of “on” us. Clearly, he now considers the Ministry of Defence and others in the Whitehall bureaucracy to be bitter enemies-and he is by no means alone in holding that view. A few vets repeatedly warned me that the “Security Services” are paying them close attention. Some have had their phones tapped and others experience peculiar mail delivery problems.
Meanwhile, Parker went on to reveal the chemical structure of one of the apparently ‘still not admitted to’ vaccines. “There is an experimental vaccine – an AIDS vaccine,” he said. This “has been around since approximately 1990.” He went on to explain that this vaccine contains two components. One component is known as a “cytokine” which, Parker said, is an “immune potentiator”. It works like a “chemical messenger sent between different cells in the body”. When it detects a foreign organism, “it actually stimulates a response by the human immune system” to fight and hopefully destroy the alien organism present.
Parker’s analysis of this component was confirmed by a spokesman for London’s Biochemical Society, who added that it was “feasible” that cytokines could be “purified and cloned” and used to fight “against any agent”. The spokesman added, moreover, that cytokines were very “hush-hush”, were “cutting-edge technology”, and “logically” would have been “adopted by the military”. They were, she added, “experimental”.
According to Parker, the second component consisted of experimental HIV gene envelopes. He went on to explain one of the basic problems with this experimental vaccine. Whereas cytokines readily drop out of the body after awhile, “fragments” of the HIV genes do not. Although there may have been “good operational reasons” for topping up the vaccine with HIV genes, Parker acknowledged that no one knows the long-term consequences. “It was experimental,” he emphasised, and had been originally developed by Porton Down as an AIDS vaccine.
The question of HIV gene envelopes was put to the Biochemical Society’s spokesman, who stated that these envelopes “can be created to be specifically resistant to CBW”. The spokesman went on to explain that gene envelopes are effectively the “walls” that surround the nucleus of each cell and are thus the first line of defence against diseases-whether they be naturally acquired or as a result of CB weapons attack. HIV gene envelopes are among the most powerful and resistant known to science, she added.
Professor Beverley of the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research could think of no theoretical reason why HIV gene envelopes would be used other than to “stimulate a response against HIV”. He went on to speculate that had HIV gene envelopes been used in a vaccine, logically this would only have occurred as protection against a possible attack using HIV as a bio-weapon. There was, he felt, no other conceivable reason, but added that had such a vaccine been “given to Gulf War soldiers it would have been speculative”.
The picture that emerges is confusing. The use of cytokines does have a rational explanation, for cytokines trigger the body’s immune system. As such, they could be an ideal general vaccine for use in a CB warfare setting. However, the rationale behind using HIV gene envelopes is less certain and considerably more perplexing. Unfortunately, there is not enough detailed information available in regard to the HIV gene envelopes to reach anything but a speculative conclusion.
Some weeks prior to my interview with Professor Beverley, Angus Parker told me in a throwaway comment, “I don’t even want to get into AIDS as a weapon.” At that time, nor did I. Professor Beverley’s certitude that this is the only conceivable reason why HIV gene envelopes would have been used, leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Clearly, Parker’s revelations-if proved true-are stunning. The secret use of an experimental vaccine on British military personnel may be one of the most significant reasons why the Ministry of Defence continues to stonewall vets about the vaccines they received. To admit to involuntary human testing on such a sensitive issue will lead to a public relations disaster of huge proportions. As one ill vet told me, “I was ordered to volunteer” for the shots. He now wishes he hadn’t. The second potential reason clearly opens a can of worms about the possible development of HIV as a biological weapon.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
But there are other equally powerful reasons to keep the lid on the Gulf War Syndrome story. Pat Eddington, the former CIA analyst, has no doubt that the principal reason for the US Government’s stonewalling tactic is to cover up the supply of CB weapons to Iraq prior to the Gulf War. For the US Government to admit to such cynical irresponsibility would result in public outrage, Eddington says.
Eddington also chastises the Senate whose members selfishly refuse to act against the wishes of the Pentagon. Their delinquency of duty has resulted in the side-lining of in excess of 100,000 Gulf War veterans who now exhibit a range of symptoms typical of chemical, and, in some cases, biological attack. In this ‘business as usual’ scenario, Eddington also reserves some powder and shot for the major media who are largely willing to accept, at face value, the cloying PR handouts from the Department of Defense.
Hopelessly abandoned by one and all, many thousands of vets have now died as a result of their chemically inspired battle injuries, adding even more incentive to the Pentagon to continue the cover-up.
But in the final analysis, the reasons surrounding the British and US governments’ disgraceful obfuscation are many. Certainly, the prior supply of CB weapons to Iraq is enough to make many government officials quake with the fear of disgrace. It is a similar rationale that continues to eclipse the illegal use of experimental, unlicensed and highly sensitive drugs. Not least, however, is the knowledge that defence against chemical and biological weapons attacks is utterly shambolic. Pat Eddington states that CBW protective suits and gas masks are: “…(a) notoriously defective, and (b) in very short supply – two problems that have yet to be corrected more than six years later.” He adds, “That’s not something the Pentagon wants to advertise to the likes of Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Kim Jong Il or Colonel Qadhafi.”
Yet few can doubt that the intelligence services of Iran, North Korea or Libya are already aware of the published shortcomings of American and British CBW protective equipment. A more significant fear may be the realisation inside the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence that their own troops will be less than willing to wade into a future CB battle zone virtually buck-naked.
Armed only with an uncertain dose of HIV but the certain knowledge that – thanks to the grace of greed and military commercialism – those chemical and biological organisms you are about to inhale and absorb have “made at home” stencilled all over them, would you volunteer for military service?
Dr George J Georgiou, Ph.D.,DSc (AM).,N.D.,MSc.,BSc
The Food and Drug Administration have not evaluated these statements. This information and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For all serious health problems, consult a qualified health professional.
Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 4, #5 (August-September 1997). PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia.firstname.lastname@example.org
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About the Author:
Born in England, David Guyatt is a freelance investigative journalist whose former career as an executive in international banking and finance provided the background that inspired his research into the shady world of international weapons financing, narcotics trafficking and money laundering. He has worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross on weapons-related projects; the charity pressure-group World Development Movement on British arms financing; and the leading British TV documentary program, World in Action.
David Guyatt’s current research interests include military/ intelligence mind-control programs and non-lethal weapons systems, as well as the hidden influence of elitist groups around the globe.