SCOTLAND: Gulf veteran wins DU claim

Issue 

Rohan Pearce

The February 4 edition of Scotland's Sunday Herald reported that Edinburgh's Pension Appeal Tribunal Service had ruled in favour of an appeal by 1991 Gulf War veteran Kenny Duncan. Duncan is the first British soldier to win recognition for depleted uranium poisoning.

The PATS accepted evidence submitted by Dr Albrecht Schott, a German scientist who has conducted research into the health effects of DU on soldiers who fought in the Gulf, Kosova and Bosnia. During the 1991 Gulf War, US and British weapons delivered around 359 to 800 tonnes of depleted uranium.

When he retired from the army in 1993, due to ill health, Duncan received only a half-pension. The PATS decision means that his pension will now be reassessed.

Duncan told the Herald: "It is just a huge relief to have someone in authority say that you have been poisoned by this stuff and that you are not telling lies. It is now time for the [defence ministry] to tell us what went wrong... I doubt that I will benefit much financially from this, but it wasn't about the money, it was about the principle of the thing."

Britain's National Gulf Veterans and Families Association is calling for a full, independent inquiry into the illnesses suffered by soldiers who fought in the 1991 Gulf War.

On February 6, Canada's Uranium Medical Research Center revealed that the preliminary results of a 13-day investigation conducted in Iraq in October indicated uranium contamination in several Iraqi cities and battlefields.

The UMRC urged the United Nation's Environment Program to "undertake immediate studies and lead the implementation of a radiation protection program for Iraqi and Afghan civilians as well as a supervised environmental clean-up program, as early as possible".

From Green Left Weekly, February 18, 2004.
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