Monday, June 15, 2009

Great article, justice for Britain's Veterans and their families.

Subject: Great article, justice for Britain's Veterans and their families.

Great article, justice for Britain's Veterans and their families.

Excerpt from RAO BULLETIN 15 June 2009

Fifteen successive United Kingdom governments - Conservative and, to the party's lasting shame, Labour too - have variously
lied to, misled, ignored and betrayed the veterans of Britain's nuclear
tests. Around 1,000 servicemen who blame their ill-health on their
involvement in Britain's 1950s nuclear tests want to sue the Ministry of
Defence (MoD). Now the remaining veterans plus widows, sons, daughters and
grandchildren left cursed by one of the most abject chapters of post-war
history can sense justice in the offing. The smiles, tears of relief and the
outpouring of sheer elation witnessed on the steps of the High Court said it
all. Finally, and despite the MoD spending £10million on lawyers' bills in
an attempt to convince him otherwise, a judge has accepted what politicians
and civil servants have for years denied. Namely, that these men - human
guinea pigs, maimed for life by the radiation they were exposed to - DO have
a case to argue, DO have a right to be heard. The ruling is a green light
given by the High Court to proceed with their claims.

Some 22,000 young soldiers were made to stand underneath as
experimental atomic bombs were exploded over their heads in Australia and
the South Pacific between 1952 and 1967. Only 3,000 are still alive. Many of
those are terminally ill and, for too long, the suspicion has lingered that
MoD officials have been hoping the issue will die away with the last of the
casualties. Wisely, judge Mr Justice Foskett counsels the MoD to seek a
negotiated settlement now with the veterans, rather than have their case
grind on any longer. Since the case went to court in JAN 09, seven more
veterans have died. Compensation will not bring back them nor anyone else.
It will though make a massive difference to families left to cope with the
consequences of genetic abnormalities, cancer and hereditary disability.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation
Act, offering veterans who took part in the above-ground and undersea atomic
tests conducted between 1945 and 1963 a payment of $75,000 each. Payments of
$100,000 were offered to miners employed in above-ground or underground
uranium mines scattered across the western U.S. Those working downwind of
the Nevada test site were offered payments of $50,000. Vets who had not
previously submitted claims can still do so. Below are the most recent bills
introduced in Congress related to Atomic Vets. Both have been assigned to
the House Veterans' Affairs Committee:
• H.R.2553 : Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act introduced 21 MAY by Rep.
Todd Tiahrt [KS-4] to authorize the award of a military service medal to
members of the Armed Forces who were exposed to ionizing radiation as a
result of participation in the testing of nuclear weapons or under other
circumstances. Cosponsors - 7
• H.R.2573 : Atomic Veterans Relief Act introduced 21 MAY by Rep Neil
Abercrombie [HI-1] to amend title 38, United States Code, to revise the
eligibility criteria for presumption of service-connection of certain
diseases and disabilities for veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during
military service, and for other purposes. Cosponsors - none
[Source: UK The Daily Mirror article 7 Jun -09 ++]

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