Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

UK government covering up genetic damage to families of wartime nuclear ‘guinea pigs’

Tory Defence Secretary breaks promise and refuses study on nuclear test guinea pigs’ families https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-break-promise-refuse-tests-13876749

Gavin Williamson has been accused of betrayal just six months after promising campaigners he’d help, By Susie Boniface,19 JAN 2019, The Tories have refused to order a study into genetic ­damage suffered by children of servicemen in the British nuclear tests.

Defence Secretary Gavin ­Wil­­liamson’s decision came days after his department finally admitted it never warned the men used in Cold War radiation experiments that their families might have been harmed.

Children of the 1950s veterans report 10 times the normal rate of birth defects. But six months after he met campaigners and ­promised to help, Williamson has been accused of betrayal.

Shirley Denson, 84, who told the minister her ­hus­­band Eric was ordered to fly through the mushroom cloud of a massive H-bomb, said: “I’m disgusted the man who seemed to lis­­ten so carefully has let us down so badly.

“A fifth of the children and grandchildren Eric and I had have de­­­formities, including missing and extra teeth. Our family is just one of thousands and Williamson knows this.”

Eric killed himself after years of crippling headaches, and Shirley later uncovered proof he had been exposed to 165 years’ worth of background radiation to his brain in just 6 minutes.

Campaigners and cross-party MPs had asked for research into all the children’s health problems, but instead Williamson has spent a six-figure sum on repeating an old study into the veterans’ cancer rates.

It is expected to take a year to report back, and in the meantime veterans, who are mostly in their 80s, are dying at the rate of one a week.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who is backing the vets’ campaign for justice, said: “The earlier study failed to note the miscarriages, ill health, infant mortality and childhood illness which so many veteran families experienced. As a result it showed few problems, when the veterans’ experience was very different.

“By raising their hopes then dashing them with science de­­­signed to fail, the Defence Secretary has shown scant regard for the survivors, widows and children he promised to help.”

The announcement followed an admission in Parliament the MoD had never warned the men that exposure to radiation might damage their DNA.

Junior minister Tobias Ellwood confessed after a search of the archives that he was “unable to locate” any proof servicemen were made aware of the dangers.

Yet there are documents showing those in charge knew of the risks.

The Medical Research Council reported in 1947 that “even the smallest doses of radiation produce a genetic effect.”

A 1953 memo stated chiefs of staff wanted to “discover the detailed effect of various types of explosion on equipment, stores and men, with and without various types of protection”.

Another states Downing Street considered how “to limit the genetic hazards”.

And a No10 letter discovered in the archives proves that in 1955, when warned about the genetic dangers, PM Anthony Eden responded: “A pity, but we cannot help it.”

When he met campaigners Mr Williamson also promised them a speedy review into a medal for the veterans’ exceptional service.

But 6 months later, a medal review committee has yet to be formed and neither the MoD nor Cabinet Office, which is in charge of honours, can give a timescale for when it will meet to hear the veterans’ evidence.

Just before Christmas, thousands of bomb test documents were removed from the National Archives without explanation.

Some had been scheduled for immediate release under Freedom of Information requests by campaigners.

 

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January 21, 2019 - Posted by | General News

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