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fissionline Bulletin of Nuclear Veterans and Children

Issue 14


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FISSIONLINE

Nuke Vets Fallout Over Westminster

SCORES

of nuclear veterans marched on London on November 27 in support of the Recognition Campaign organized by the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association Charity. They are demanding formal recognition by the government for their “unique” service together with a £25 million benevolent pot to be administered by the charity. It is not asking the government to accept liability for injuries which may have been caused by radiation. A group, headed by the Charity’s patron MP John Baron delivered a 5,000-name petition to 10 Downing Street before converging on Parliament for a rally. Mr Baron said: “Other countries recognise and compensate their veterans. We stand at the bottom of the table and that is wrong.”Pictures, courtesy of

the Fallout group, show nuclear veterans daughter Sharon Harris together with other marchers at the rally. This story can fit 75-125 words. Selecting pictures or graphics is an important part of adding content to your newsletter. Think about your article and ask yourself if the picture supports or enhances the message you’re trying to convey. Avoid selecting images that appear to be out of context. Microsoft Publisher includes thousands of clip art images from which

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ISSUE 14

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NZ Nuke Vets Blast ‘Betrayal’ by Brits

Grapple in 1957-58.

The following bulletin by the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association has been released. A total of 551 NZ navy sailors served aboard the frigates Rotoiti and Pukaki at British bomb tests during Operation

IN recent years the British Nuclear Test Veter-

ans’ Association changed its status to that of a 'Charitable Trust'. It now also claims to represent any person who is involved in activities other than service, e.g. nuclear power station workers

etc. Of great concern to us, the BNTVA also declared that it would not pursue justice for the veterans' and widows in the form of compensation. The BNTVA has also entered into an association with the French Nuclear Test Veterans, and has disassociated the BNTVA with the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association, and by the lack of any mention of support, possibly the Australian and Fijian Veteran Groups who are pursuing legal action through the UK courts. Given that NZNTVA has acted in every way to share our research findings and other material with the veterans and families of the UK, certainly the NZNTVA (as do many UK veterans) considers the actions of the BNTVA as an act of betrayal of the ex-commonwealth veterans who also did service at the UK nuclear weapons testing sites. The BNTVA's protest march was because the UK Government refused to grant them 25Million pounds for the BNTVA to use at their discretion to assist injured peo-

ple. According to reports granting this funding would release the UK Government from any liability or any claims made against the UK Government. Asking for such funding does beg the question that if the UK Government does make this money available, will it set a precedent for every other veterans group in the UK to seek the same? All the changes made by the BNTVA have been done so without any consultation with the NZNTVA, and as far as I know the Australians or Fijians. I have written officially twice to the BNTVA Chair and Executive, plus letters to the editor of their Magazine protesting these actions. I have neither received a receipt for my letters or any response to them. NZNTVA considers that the whole BNTVA issue is an act of the lowest betrayal of the spirit of the international nuclear test veterans community's battle to seek justice for their veterans and their families'.

ROY SEFTON QSM

Rosenblatts Vindicated in Cash Row ROSENBLATTS solicitors who represent nearly a thousand nuclear veterans has been cleared of accusations of “greed” following a Freedom of Information request by fissionline. A statement from the Ministry of Defence confirms that no formal compensation offer was ever made to settle with Britain’s nuclear veterans. For several years the law firm has been living under a cloud of suspicion over an alleged multi-million pound MoD offer to settle the nuclear veterans issue. Former defence minister Kevan Jones (pictured left) accused Rosenblatts of turning down the “offer” without even consulting the veterans. Rosenblatts vehemently denied this insisting that no offer was ever made.

The matter was settled after a Freedom of Information request to the MoD’s Law Claims and Policy Division which stated:“Discussions did take place between legal representatives for the parties in order to explore the boundaries of a possible settlement. The discussions came to an end without agreement. For the avoidance of any doubt, no formal offer was made at any time to the Claimants.” The row began after barristers for both sides sat down to discuss settlement options following a successful High Court action by the veterans in 2009. But the talks broke down amid allegations the MoD’s offer was considered “too derisory.” by Rosenblatts. Things heated up when Mr Jones, a defence minister under the last Labour Government, stood up in Parliament and accused Rosenblatts of turning down the alleged proposal without bothering to ask the 1,000 nuclear veterans

the firm represented. Neil Sampson for Rosenblatts (right) denied this insisting there was no offer to turn down. He later challenged Jones to repeat the allegation outside Parliament where he wouldn’t be protected by parliamentary privilege. Mr Jones refused to back down and repeated the allegation at a Westminster debate chaired by the current veterans minister Anna Soubry last month. Mr Sampson said: “Thanks to fissionline the truth has finally come out. The Mod’s statement confirms that no offer was made and it is we who have told the truth.”

Nuke Turncoat Harvey Feels the Heat A FORMER Royal Navy petty officer ambushed Defence minister Nick Harvey and handed him £7.20 to cover his expenses for attending Barnstaple’s Remembrance parade. Fiona Laing marched up to Mr Harvey after the parade and church service to give him the cash inside a Royal British Legion poppy appeal card. Her defiant gesture came after Mr Harvey claimed £7.20 in travel expenses to attend a Remembrance service in 2011. Fiona told Mr

Harvey she thought it was distasteful that he claimed the money to cover his petrol costs. She said: “I waited until the service was over and the parade was done. “I marched across and introduced myself. I handed him the envelope and said I would like to pay his expenses. He look surprised.” In a statement Mr Harvey said: “Two years ago my monthly travel claim for November inadvertently included the mileage cost for attending the Act of Remembrance. “Had I spotted that individual item I would not have claimed for it, even though it was permissible within the rules. “Unfortunately I did not notice it. We are all capable of human error and regrettably this was one on my part.”

Mr Harvey said he apologised when he realised the error and donated money to a veterans’ charity collection. He said: “I certainly had not intended the slightest disrespect to our service personnel and veterans.” The North Devon MP attracted the ire of servicemen everywhere when he turned his back on pledges to support the nuke vets justice campaign after he was appointed to a job in the MoD when the Coalition came to power.


fissionline

fissionline Christmas Campaign: Cut out and send to David Cameron. fissionline@gmail.com

Seasons

How Would you

Greetings

like to spend

From all at

Christmas on

fissionline

Christmas

Fighting for the

Island?

Victims of nuclear Bomb testing

These Ghosts Will Come Back to Haunt Them THE marching’s over, the tub-thumping has stopped and the little band of nuclear veterans who descended on Downing Street last week has gone home. This was their last chance for “recognition”, they were told by their leaders. If this fails, well… So what now for Britain’s nuclear bomb test veterans? Instead of demanding justice they have begged (very politely) for £25million for their “unique” service at the atomic bomb sites; they have pleaded (again, very politely) for the Prime Minister to “recognize” them publicly. In return the charity’s leaders have promised not to hold the government accountable for the sins of the past. No apology, no liability. Just give us the money and we’ll go away, they are saying. They have bent over backwards to appease the government and the MoD, but been told in no uncertain terms that a strategy that relies solely on schmoozing up to

politicians in the hope of a cash handout because of their “uniqueness,” just isn’t going to work. The same argument could equally be applied to the Gulf War veterans who insist they, too, are unique because they and their offspring were injured through the enforced vaccination of thousands of troops to protect them against chemical attack. Surely they might expect £25m as well? No, relying on the nuke vets’ “uniqueness” won’t do. The only way forward is to prove once and for all that thousands of them were damaged by radiation during Britain’s nuclear bomb tests and, most importantly, show that it was done by deliberately exposing them to fallout as part of a giant experiment to see

how troops would react in battlefield conditions. That is the only way the government and the British people will be persuaded to take decisive action and give the nuclear veterans the justice they deserve. The evidence is out there and fissionline is in the vanguard of uncovering it. Britain’s nuclear veterans are not “ghosts” to be exorcised with a pat on the head and a fistful of pound notes. They are flesh and blood men who were forced to stare into the jaws of hell so that this country could survive the most dangerous period of its history. They must not be erased from memory with a bribe and a wave, for to do so would raise some very real ghosts: the ghosts of Christmas Island, Maralinga, Emu Field and Monte Bello. Ghosts of thousands of men who died in agony so we could all be safe. Ghosts that will surely come back to haunt all those who dare to besmirch their legacy.


Fissionline14  

Bulletin of Nuclear Veterans and Children

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