General

By a Newsnet reporter
 
Veterans who claim to have endured illnesses after being exposed to radiation from the UK’s Christmas Island test explosions in the 50s have lost the latest round of their fight for damages.
 
The UK Supreme Court today ruled that over one thousand ex-servicemen who claim that radiation from nuclear tests carried out in the Pacific from 1952 to 1958 led to illnesses including cancer, leukaemia and infertility, could not seek damages from the MoD.

The 1,000+ claimants involving over 70 Scottish families – including some who visited the Scottish Parliament at the end of last year to hear a debate on the issue – have been fighting their case for over two years.

However today the Supreme Court ruled by 4 to 3 in favour of the MoD which means that a majority of the cases cannot proceed due, say judges, to a lack of evidence proving links between the illnesses and the tests.  The judges also explained that some of the claims had been made too late.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the veterans are studying the ruling to try to establish how many cases can proceed.

Veterans’ lawyer Neil Sampson called on the UK Government to set up a “fair and just” compensation scheme. “The approach that this Government takes is to waste resources on fighting veterans rather than co-operating with them,” he said.

“There are some things in life that are wrong.  The approach of the Government to this issue is one of those things.”

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, who led the debate at Holyrood, has spoken of her bitter disappointment at the decision.

Ms McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, said:

“This is obviously a very disappointing result, all the more so because the decision was so close and because it appears to have gone against the veterans on a technicality relating to the timing of the action.

“The UK is now more isolated than ever in refusing to accept its responsibilities towards nuclear veterans with New Zealand, the United States, Australia, France and Russia have all acknowledged their debt to their service veterans.

“That is a continuing scandal, made worse by the hypocrisy of the MoD … it has already compensated some veterans – just not its own.”

The MoD has paid £20 million to Australia to use towards compensation for its nuclear test veterans.  The US, France and Canada have already agreed to pay compensation to servicemen who were involved in their tests. 

Ms McKelvie added:

“The MoD has spent £5 million in legal battles to prevent veterans being compensated – instead of just doing the right thing and acknowledging the claims for justice of a dwindling group of sick and elderly people who made an enormous sacrifice for their country.

“It is not too late for the MoD to do what it should have done long ago – pay heed to the very strong medical and scientific evidence which backs up the veterans’ claims and give them the justice they deserve, while some of them are still here to receive it.

“While today’s decision at the Supreme Court is the wrong one and is a major setback for the families involved, the fight for justice will go on.”

The MoD issued a statement which said: “The Ministry of Defence recognises the debt of gratitude we have to the servicemen who took part in the nuclear tests.  They were important tests that helped to keep this nation secure at a difficult time in terms of nuclear technology.”

The case resulted in Flight Lieutenant Joseph Pasquini, who served in the RAF’s 76 Squadron, breaking his fifty year silence as he recollected the events.

Mr Pasquini recalled recording radiation levels during the UK’s biggest nuclear test blast (Grapple Y) at Christmas Island on 28 April, 1958.  He claimed he was told that the bomb was in the 10 megaton range, more than three times the official size of 3.2 megatons given by the MoD.

Speaking to the Independent newspaper the 78 year old former pilot said: “Radioactive rain fell when Grapple Yankee was detonated.  I flew through it and my radiation recording instruments immediately lit up like a Christmas tree.”

He added: “Official readings recorded in the AWRE records were far lower than my logs,”

Mr Pasquini said: “My readings were… recorded and logged at the time and on the day of the detonation.  But they are much higher than the official logs.  I have those logs and I am happy to go public with them.”

He added: “I made several Freedom of Information requests and looked at the readings officially given and they were utterly false.  My records for the MoD and AWRE are inaccurate.

“I didn’t say anything for 50 years because I was sworn to secrecy by the Official Secrets Act, and not even my wife knew what I knew.  But people need to know the truth about what happened.”

 

At the moment of detonation there was a flash.  At that instant I was able to see straight through my hands.  I could see the veins.  I could see the blood, I could see all the skin tissue, I could see the bones and worst of all, I could see the flash itself.  It was like looking into a white-hot diamond, a second sun.

Ken McGinley in his book ‘No Risk Involved’ published by Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1991

http://www.janesoceania.com/kiribati_mcginley/index.htm


Comments  

 
#
Mark
2012-03-14 17:57

O/T
Just read that on tomorrow night’s question time there is only one person from the independent camp(Humza Yousaf), the rest are unionist, 3 are English including Dimbleby.
This program is made by BBC Scotland, as we all know hardly ever comes to Scotland, and when it is hosted in Scotland it is in St Andrews(most student are English).
I want to go on my roof and shout we have had enough BBC!!!!!
I am sorry for going off the topic.
 
 
#
Jiggsbro
2012-03-14 18:08

Quoting Mark:

O/T
Just read that on tomorrow night’s question time there is only one person from the independent camp(Humza Yousaf), the rest are unionist, 3 are English including Dimbleby.



It’s still a UK programme, whichever part of the UK it comes from, so having English panellists is fair, just as having Scottish panellists in QTs from England is fair. And it’s QT, not a debate on independence, so the ratio of Unionists to pro-independence panellists is irrelevant.

The BBC is undoubtedly, and often, biased in favour of the status quo. The composition of the panel on this QT is not one of those occasions. Complaints about anti-SNP/independence/Scottish bias where none exists allow the BBC to label all such complaints as whinging/paranoia/the usual complaints of a political party.

It is a fact that the BBC is unbiased and impartial; it doesn’t matter that that isn’t true, it’s still a ‘fact’ for most people and a ‘fact’ which is remarkably resistant to contrary evidence and argument. It’s a ‘fact’ they’ve grown up with and for many people, they know it just as they know that the sun rises in the east.

It is important, when complaining about bias, to make sure that there is clear, unequivocal bias that is recognisable as such by any reasonable person. Everything else is just crying wolf.

 
 
#
tartanfever
2012-03-14 18:31

Agreed, don’t fall into the trap and claim bias at absolutely everything the BBC do – otherwise you’ll just help promote the ‘cybernat’ myth that the unionists are promoting.

As Jiggs says above :

It is important, when complaining about bias, to make sure that there is clear, unequivocal bias that is recognisable as such by any reasonable person
 
 
#
Marga B
2012-03-14 18:42

Sorry, O/T comment – I’m not sure, if it is a UK programme and if it is true that it only comes very rarely to Scotland, this is a gala event and should have special standing.

If it does not come to Scotland as often as it should, that is another question, and comments addressing this issue would be valid.
 
 
#
Jiggsbro
2012-03-14 18:48

I’d argue that the location of the programme decides the make-up of the audience, not the panel…although they’re coming from St. Andrews, so we can perhaps expect a less than typical Scottish audience. It’s not necessarily what we’d want, and a regular Scottish version – chaired by a Scot! – would be good, but we’re never going to get real recognition of Scotland from a British programme with a British chairman. That kind of low-level, subconscious bias is part of the BBC’s DNA and much more difficult to prove or change than the more egregious examples of bias.
 
 
#
Holebender
2012-03-15 04:06

There is a news story about BBC bias headlining NNS today, yet the first half of the comments on this story (about nuclear test blast veterans) has been hijacked by comments on… BBC bias. Do you bother reading the articles before you jump in with your way off topic comments?

It’s disrespectful.
 

 
#
Puskas
2012-03-15 08:25

Hi Quoting Marga B:

Sorry, O/T comment – I’m not sure, if it is a UK programme and if it is true that it only comes very rarely to Scotland, this is a gala event and should have special standing.

If it does not come to Scotland as often as it should, that is another question, and comments addressing this issue would be valid.



Hi Marga,


Simple… QT in general is English with mostly Westminster topics..

Lets have QT Scotland for Scots . Talking for all in the debate I believe WE are all sick of the Dimbleby/panel influence. The citizens of Scotland deserve better debate as we head towards the YES vote…

 

 
#
call me dave
2012-03-14 17:59

heard this reported at lunchtime on the car radio. My first comment to the radio! Expletive deleted!!

Disgraceful that our UK government could use all those members of the armed forces as experimental fodder.

Life is not fair at the best of times but some folk really get the rough end of the stick.
 
 
#
J Wil
2012-03-14 18:12

Can’t see the justice in a time limit for such a serious problem. A lifetime should be allowed to resolve such issues.

Radiation effects and stress syndrome don’t just materialise overnight. When you consider that the authorities didn’t think it would be a health problem in the beginning, but slowly minds have been changed as the evidence emerged.

The book is never closed on murders. Why should this.
 
 
#
cjmjr
2012-03-14 18:12

Supreme Court moraly bankrupt, this is the highest court in the land, still it can’t deliver justice to the servicemen who put there lives at risk, these men were under orders, they expected at the very least the goverment to look after there well being failing that ensure there finacial future. Nothing short of a national disgrace.
 
 
#
cjmjr
2012-03-14 18:13

Labour has lost its majority on Glasgow City Council after another resignation over de-selected candidates. Shaukat Butt is the seventh councillor to resign from the ruling Labour group after he was de-selected ahead of May’s local authority elections
 
 
#
tartanfever
2012-03-14 18:28

However, this councillor is still voting with labour, so they really haven’t lost their majority.
 

 
#
tartanfever
2012-03-14 18:26

Obviously the UK establishment (MOD, Westminster) are waiting for a few years until most of the service personnel are dead and they can significantly reduce their costs.

When it is at an acceptable level, a reduced compensation fee will be forthcoming and a pathetic apology will be given along with a mention in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister of the day.

What an absolute disgrace.

I would suggest on gaining independence one of the first things the Scottish government does it to recognise these individuals and pay them compensation which they thoroughly deserve. Show Westminster for what they are – a bunch of self-important, greedy butchers.
 
 
#
alisdair
2012-03-14 18:37

No surprise at the decision, always remember that the ‘grateful’ nation (by that I mean the westminster government of the time and any westminster government of the future)have absolutely no regard for the ‘poor’ people that do their dirty work. It is to be hoped that in an independant Scotland we will treat our service personel with the respect that they deserve and that for their service they can expect the state to care for them in extremis as a result of their service. Bare in mind that most of these young men (actually unworldly wise adolesants) were conscripts on national service. An aboslute disgrace but then no more than to be expected of the ‘british’.
 
 
#
Marga B
2012-03-14 18:50

Surely there is no statute of limitations for human rights crimes? How can people be too late to prosecute or claim for compensation?
 
 
#
bringiton
2012-03-14 19:22

The MoW has always regarded humans as an expendible overhead in any operations they carry out.
Until such times as more rigorous human rights are applied to our service men and women,they will continue to get involved in operations which are relatively cheap to undertake.
If we really value the contibution our service personnel make to our society then the MoW has to be made to pay for it.
 
 
#
cynicalHighlander
2012-03-14 19:23

 
 
#
alisdair
2012-03-15 18:25

Fascinating work of art, I don’t know about you, but what struck me is that the only two countries that haven’t exploded one of these obscene weapons within their own borders are the two old colonial ones.
 

 
#
cjmasta
2012-03-14 20:03

So you can be a guinea pig for the British state but you only have a certain amount of time to complain. The USA paid billions to servicemen who were subjected to the same levels of radiation from nuclear testing as the Brits were. There`s no justice in a nation where corruption is the norm at the very highest levels. So not only do we not look after our servicemen, we send our citizens to the courts of a foreign land (USA) where they have never set foot to face their laws. Cheers UK, You really know how to stand up for your own.
 
 
#
Ard Righ
2012-03-14 20:06

The official position here is that Nuclear is fine and there is no real problem and we can all run along in our fluffy sheep like existence.

Severe contamination is not an isolated phenomena, we’ve all heard of Chernobyl and Fu kushima, yet the largest disaster was Chelyabinsk, 9000 Square miles !
damninteresting.com/…/…

Here is a reminder of the insanity considering the long term storage of such concentrated evil, this is one of the best documentaries as a film about it, with the superb Finnish efficiency of approach:
www.youtube.com/…/
 
 
#
cjmasta
2012-03-14 20:14

Also, Funny how the American army can kill British servicemen but then never send them to the UK to explain themselves. Ludicrous! Roll on our freedom from the dead hand that is westminster. End London rule
 
 
#
bipod
2012-03-14 21:52

this is very off topic, but i am currently watching andrew neils show on human rights.

I found it very funny when he said that scots are only afforded human rights because of the magna carta. The entire show is completely ignoring the scottish legal system and passing off the english way as “British”.
 
 
#
Jiggsbro
2012-03-14 21:59

The only parts of the Magna Carta which were not later repealed were the freedom of the (English) church, the freedoms of the City of London and the constraint on the monarch (and his/her government) to act within the law (the law created by the monarch/government). If Andrew Neil thinks that amounts to human rights, he clearly shares Cameron’s dislike of all those inconvenient rights in the ECHR.
 
 
#
Hing em high
2012-03-14 22:21

The Magna Carta only set in paper the rights of the Nobility/Barons in relation to the Monarch. Most of the population of England were still serfs centuries after the Magna Carta was penned.

The idea that the Magna Carta was some grandiose document that accorded human rights to every human being is an obscene historical lie!

It only granted rights and privildges to the robber Barons!
 

 
#
proudscot
2012-03-15 15:34

Quoting bipod:

this is very off topic, but i am currently watching andrew neils show on human rights.

I found it very funny when he said that scots are only afforded human rights because of the magna carta. The entire show is completely ignoring the scottish legal system and passing off the english way as “British”.



Are you really surprised that such a skewed England-centric point of view is spouted by the right-wing Tory, St.Andrews educated Neil? He probably rubbed shoulders at the Uni of Royal Family choice, with Toxic Tory Forsyth. ‘Nuff said…

 
 
#
snowthistle
2012-03-15 16:22

…..or the first minister?
 

 
#
Edna Caine
2012-03-14 23:41

I hope that all the parties who stand in the first general election in an independent Scotland will include a manifesto commitment to compensate those Scots servicemen who suffered from the atomic tests.

The uncaring arrogance of the UK Ministry of Defence is breathtaking and, when Scotland has its share of their assets and budget, such compensation should be a priority.

Any decision of the UK Supreme Court is an irrelevance.
 
 
#
Holebender
2012-03-15 05:08

Things have not changed in the 122 years since Rudyard Kipling’s poem Tommy was first published in the Scots Observer.

Quote:

I WENT into a public ‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ” We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, go away ” ;
But it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, wait outside “;
But it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap.
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? “
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be’ind,”
But it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! “
But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

 

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