|BIOLOGICAL BLACK MAGIC|
|Why Governments Are Covering-up Gulf War Syndrome|
"The air raid siren went off." Former RAF corporal Richie Turnbull wheezed and coughed as he spoke. He is one of tens of thousands of Gulf War vets who have been diagnosed with a fistful of illnesses attributed to his 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 who Vets regard as one of the principal architects of a monstrous transatlantic cover-up.
Turnbull was a Senior RAF Electrician in a Nuclear, Biological & Chemcial (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 8 foot deep crater but, curiously, the giant ground to ground missile did not explode. "All the nerve agents detectors sounded the alarm," Turnbull recalls. As a 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 WW11. Turnbull ran a further three "Residual Vapour Detector Tests," which also showed the presence of nerve agents. In all, he says, "33 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, twenty 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 8 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 "the biggest cock-up in history," he said. Hundreds of troops were needlessly exposed to Sarin, he believes.
Turnbull continues to be a thorn in the side of Britains Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defense. Both maintain that chemical weapons were not intentionally used by Saddam Hussein. A spokesman at the Ministry of Defence had earlier told me that he was a Royal Navy officer and was "in theatre" during the Gulf War. He went on to personally assure me that had the Iraqis intentionally used CB weapons "we would have retaliated in kind" - an allusion to President Bushs 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 ATTACKS OR COCK-UP?
Faced with mounting evidence of chemical weapon exposure by coalition troops, both the British and US governments belatedly acknowledge that chemical weapon 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. An unforeseen accident in other words. 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 Department of Defence over 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 weapon 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 dont 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 Hafir Al Batin. On the 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 scattered around the base, known as NAIADS, 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 Regiments 5 Airborne Field Ambulance, Rusling was an experienced Special Forces medic. His duties were to attend to the sick and wounded of Britains 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.
Nor were Scud and artillery bombardments isolated incidents. Terry Walker was a Corporal with the Royal Army Ordnance Corp and detached to a "Forward Repair Group" of an armoured workshop. He was present at Al Jubayl when two Scuds exploded above them. No prior warning was sounded. This, he recalls was the "worst morning with two almighty explosions above the Port ." Immediately Chemical detectors madly sounded NBC Condition Black, and was "followed by sheer panic with hundreds of guys running for cover." Walker hid among the rocks of the Port "for about four five hours." Later, "an officer came along saying weve been hit with chemical agents." The next day he and the other personnel on the base were told the cloud vapour was nothing more than aircraft fuel leaking from a damaged plane - an explanation he and the others disbelieve. Aviation fuel does not trigger the NAIAD detectors. Today, Walker suffers from a number of illnesses and strongly believes there has been a massive cover-up. "My wife is ill and my little girl is ill too," he said during a telephone interview, then added that his "medical notes from the RAF hospital have gone missing."
The Al Jubayl attack was also witnessed by Sergeant Major Paul Grant who commanded a team of Royal Army Ordnance Corp specialists. On the early hours of 19 January 1991, Grant was awoken by a distinctive overhead explosion. He is in no doubt, whatsoever, that this was an airburst, not a ground explosion. NAIADS detectors began sounding NBC Condition Black. The first explosion was followed by a second airburst explosion. Around the base loudspeakers warned "this is not a drill." His story corroborates that of other Vets I have interviewed. Scud chemical attacks were not limited to Al Jubayl.
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." It 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. Hitherto, it has not being told in any detail. Biological weapons, unlike chemical agents, dont 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 fact 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 had been supplied to Iraq by the US government during the middle-late 1980s for use in their CB weapons programme.
BIO WEAPONS & THE SECRET TEAM
"British personnel were infected with Anthrax spores." Angus Parker spoke with quiet certainty. I had interviewed a number of Gulf War veterans who recounted their experiences of coming under chemical and biological (CB) attack from the Iraqis. All are angry and frustrated at the stonewalling attitude of Britains Ministry of Defence regarding their numerous illnesses which fall under the catch-all banner of Gulf War Syndrome. Eventually, one vet had given me a telephone number saying "You should speak to Angus."
Initially Parker was cautious, but after a few minutes warmed to his story. Methodically, he first outlined for me the existing Soviet battlefield doctrine associated with Scud missiles armed with Chemical and Biological weapons. This is known, Parker said as "a mixed load." The Scud warhead would typically consist of a combination of explosives, chemical and biological agents of mixed intensities. The explosive would be small, but sufficient to ensure that the CB mixture would form a wide vapour plume over the target. The bulk of the warhead would contain a deathly cocktail of Chemical and Biological weapons.
A former soldier in the Territorial Army, Parker operated for a top secret British unit. He has never before gone on record with the following story, but frustration mixed with growing anger has led him to, in his own words "blow this wide open."
Following the Injection of 12 vaccines in one morning, Parker reacted to them. As a result he was hospitalised and his deployment to the Gulf delayed. "I was left behind and got out on the last days of the ground war," he said. This and his civilian occupation as a technician in a haematology lab resulted in being attached to the "1st Field Laboratory Unit," known as "The Secret Team." The unit "existed only once before in World War One, but was mothballed until the Gulf War," Parker stated, adding that when he returned from the Gulf he was told that "I was not to disclose the nature or role of the team I was serving with." So secret was the unit that "it does not appear in any listing," he added.
What Angus Parker has revealed is extremely disturbing. The 1st Field Laboratory Unit was composed of 40 men working in 8 teams of five. It had been deployed from Porton Down, Britains biological warfare headquarters. Parker, ranked sergeant, was second in command of one of the five man teams. "As the biological warfare recconaisance team, we were sampling the environment looking for biological weapons," he said, adding " this was "difficult and hard to do. We could only identify four agents - Plague, Anthrax, Botulism toxin A & B thats all." Effectively, the specialised equipment they had to work with to identify bio-weapons were not very sophisticated. Parker confirms that his unit found numerous positive samples of biological organisms that couldnt be analysed and identified on the battlefield. "Many, many more were present," than the four they could identify. Positive samples were collected and shipped in freezer units to Boscombe Down for analysis by the Porton Down CB specialists.
Significantly, in addition to confirming that his unit positively identified the presence of Anthrax at Dhahran, he also revealed that another team of the 1st Field Laboratory Unit identified the presence of Plague at Wadi Al Batin. Parker has tried in vain to get other members of his unit to come forward and speak openly, but they are too scared to do so. "Theyre not sick and still have their jobs," he explained.
Parker is not alone in revealing the use of biological weapons in the Gulf War. US Marine Corps battlefield logs released under the Freedom of Information Act confirm the findings of Porton Downs "Secret Team." On 24 February 1991, the US Armys 513th Military Intelligence Brigade confirmed the use of Anthrax at King Khalid Military City. However, like events in Britain, important and potentially incriminating records have mysteriously gone "missing." Two US Marines at Camp Pendleton, San Diego went on the record to say they observed "hundreds of records from the Gulf war being destroyed." This and numerous other accounts of records being destroyed and "missing" can only lead to charges of a massive "Gulf-Wargate" cover-up.
A 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 adds that " we were not able to get any records prior to 1985." Riegle then went on to read an extract from a Department of Defense summary report written in 1992.
Other biological agents provided by the US to Saddam Husseins biological warfare programme 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 melintensis which when weaponised causes chronic fatigue, profuse sweating and loss of appetite, joint pains, insomnia, 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 Defense Department have 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 organisation."
Stories also circulate of a genetically engineered organism being used in the Gulf War is paralleled by British vets who also claim the use of a modified mycoplasma organism. This included 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 Wackenhut Corp, the giant US private-sector security company whos 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 called "The Last Circle."
Marshall had spent years investigating the allegations of Michael Riconosciuto - a former CIA scientific whiz-kid. Working for the Wackenhut Corp, at their Cabazon Indian tribe facility, Riconosciuto claimed to have developed advanced and genetically altered biological warfare agents. One, he claimed 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.
Significantly, in the US Army War College publication dated July 25, 1994, entitled "The Revolution in Military Affairs and Conflict Short of War," authors Steven Metz and James Kievit also discuss this touchy subject. On page 16 they state "Certain biotechnical weapons - considered by some to violate the biological warfare convention to which the United States is a signatory - also may transgress American Values regarding appropriate means." They go on to ask "Could the government and military of this multi-ethnic republic face charges that it was developing or using a weapon targeting Africans, Jews Koreans, Hispanics etc?" The authors then conclude "Overcoming these constraints would require fundamental changes in the United States - an ethical and political revolution may be necessary to make a military revolution." This, the authors "hypothesise" could be achieved by re-modelling the way Americans think and also via the effective control of news management using "advanced psychotechnolgy" and other techniques such a "morphing."
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 they were injected with. Sean Rusling received 24 vaccinations over a four week period. Two of these vaccinations are classified secret, and were, he believes "experimental." Richard Turnbull got a dose of 13 inoculations in just ten 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 McDermotts statement was incorrect.
How many vaccines were classified secret? Surgeon General Vice Admiral Revell, during a "Behind Closed Doors" meeting of Parliaments Defence Committee, was asked "How many vaccines do we not admit to?" His replied saying: "I think probably about five or six." All previously classified vaccinnes 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. These were, he told me: Anthrax, Pertussis and Plague. This statement is confirmed in a letter to Shaun Rusling dated 20 January 1997, in which the Ministry of Defence confide "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." 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 were not "admitted to."
I posed this discrepancy to the Ministry of Defence. Surgeon General Revells 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 were classified secret, not three. Nor is Turnbull alone in this respect. Ray Bristows list of shots, including Anthrax (batch no. 0190), Plague (batch no. 10H03A) and Peratussin 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 Shaum Rusling even down to the same batch numbers of the vaccines he received. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Revell stated in one letter "Unfortunately, medical record keeping in the Gulf was not as thorough as it should have been " and that, as a consequence details of certain vaccinations are now missing - a position that remains the governments official line.
A number of Vets 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 Downs Angus Parker dropped another bomshell. Patiently, he explained that "the MoD has not been totally honest about the vaccines used against us." I couldnt 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 have become bitter enemies - and 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 vaccines that are still, apparently, "not admitted to." "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." This, 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.
Parkers analysis of this component was confirmed by a spokesman for Londons 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. Parker 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 Societys 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 weapon attack. HIV gene envelopes are one of 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 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 in that they trigger the bodies immune system. As such they could be an ideal general vaccine for use in a CB warfare setting. The rationale of using HIV gene envelopes is, however, less certain and considerably more perplexing. In the last analysis there is not enough available detailed information 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 had told me in a throw away comment "I dont even want to get in to AIDS as a weapon." At that time nor did I. Professor Beverleys certitude that this is the only conceivable reason why HIV gene envelopes would have been used, leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
However, for claritys sake I leave the last word with Angus Parker. Told of Professor Beverleys theory he remained adamant that there was another reason why HIV gene envelopes had been used. His information, he insisted, came directly from the horses mouth. I am inclined to accept what he has revealed. At the outbreak of the Gulf War there were not enough stocks of Cytokines to go around. Thus a decision was made to top them up with the HIV gene envelopes which, he assured me, act in a very similar fashion to Cytokines: they trigger the bodies immune system. Significantly, this had been confirmed by Professor Beverley when he said "they do indeed trigger and regulate the way the body relates to pathogens."
Clearly, Parkers 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 continue 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 hadnt. The second potential reason clearly opens a can of worms about the possible development of HIV as a biological weapon.
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 governments 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 case, 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 Defence. 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 last 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 weapon attacks is utterly shambolic. Pat Eddington states that CBW protective suits and gas masks are: "a)notoriously defective and b) in very short supplytwo problems that have yet to be corrected more than six years later." He adds "Thats not something the Pentagon wants to advertise to the likes of Hashemi Rafsanjani, Kim Jong 11, or Colonel Qaddafi."
Yet few can doubt the intelligence services of North Korea, Iran or Libya are already aware of the published shortcomings of US 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?
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|David Guyart, whose experience as a director of a major British bank is put to good use, is a contributer to ELINT, purveyors of the unvarnished truths that others do not want you to know.