Email traffic 5 Dave Whyte A legal path to compensation for victims of British nuclear testing in Australia

From: “Dave Whyte” <

Office of the Chief Prosecutor
The International Criminal Court
PO Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
The Netherlands
Mr David Whyte v United Kingdom

17July 2012


I hereby present my statement.

I wish to inform the International Criminal Court of my accusation that the United Kingdom are guilty of ‘Crimes against Humanity’, and recklessly endangering the health of British Troops and their Allies (Australians, Canadians, Fijians and New Zealanders) during the ‘Cold War’ of the 1950’ and 60’s whilst testing nuclear weapons. This was not connected to any military operations which the UK was conducting against any other state following a declaration of war. Indeed it was its own troops and their subsequently conceived children who were the victims. I further charge the United Kingdom of failing to arrange a blood analysis to discover the level of genetic damage caused to each individual whilst they are still alive but, at the same time, they have reserved the right of access to the corpse and all medical information relating to the individual on death under Medical Research Programme MR185, initiated without the knowledge or consent of nuclear veterans.

I respectively submit consideration be given to enact Article 7 (1) of the Rome Statute in respect of ‘Crimes against Humanity’ committed by the United Kingdom against their own Troops and subsequently conceived Children.

I have attached evidence showing:

i) Recognition be named individuals in power of the long term health hazards of experimentally exposing troops to ionizing radiation, including knowledge of subsequent health hazards to their future offspring;
ii) Their decision to proceed never the less;
iii) Their implementation of a systemic policy to block any link between future radiation related illnesses and participation in the nuclear tests;
iv) The subsequent systemic policy implemented by named individuals of covertly monitoring the health of survivors, with selected blood testing and post-mortem tissue analysis, while denying them regular medical monitoring whilst alive.
v) Forcing many of the survivors and their families into financial hardship by making it difficult if not impossible to obtain medical pensions for the illnesses suffered;
vi) Totally disregarding the plight of their offspring whom the named individuals originally and currently knew would be born with radiation related genetic mutations.
Could the Office of the Chief Prosecutor please look into these issues and consider referring the individuals named to the Court for prosecution, since clearly the UK has not and will not do so.

Little or no information appears to have been collated regarding the numbers of service Personnel who were rendered sterile: or the numbers of stillbirths, miscarriages or children born with genetic defects. The fact, unfortunate Fathers of these poor Children had attended one of the British nuclear test sites does not appear to be considered.

The United Kingdom is also guilty of conducting psychological torture by refusing to answer pertinent questions relating to levels of radiation received and refusing to permit diagnostic treatment to discover the level of genetic damage and other ailments caused. (FISH blood analysis and X-Ray Fluorescence.)

The criminal atrocities committed against members of the British Armed Forces, and their Allies, were premeditated and planned with full knowledge of the consequences regarding the future medical health problems of participants. These crimes were not committed in the defence of the Country, but were designed to obtain medical and scientific knowledge on the effects of ionised radiation on the human body by using their own loyal Servicemen and Allies as ‘Human Guinea Pigs’ without their knowledge or consent.

The United Kingdom was also fully aware of the likelihood of genetic damage being transferred from generation to generation for several hundred years yet did nothing to lessen the chances of those Servicemen involved from being contaminated with radiation. Servicemen were not informed of the likely damage to their health whilst attending these nuclear trials, and were denied the opportunity to refuse to participate and denied the use of protective clothing or respirators.

Although I will list various aspects that were relevant to me personally, variations of the themes mentioned will have been performed by others.

I start, by presenting some attachments that give an indication of the knowledge the United Kingdom had of the effects of ionised radiation in the long and short term on the health of the participants and the actions planned to obtain further information.

Although there are many people who will have played a part in permitting these atrocities to be committed most of the evidence against them has been either destroyed or suppressed so that ordinary Citizens are denied access to the documents.

Attachment 1 dated 20th May 1953: 2nd Para 10th line states: ‘The Army must discover the detailed effects of various types of explosion on equipment, stores and men with and without various types of protection’. This was discussed and agreed by the Chiefs of Staff Committee that Servicemen should be used to discover the effects radiation would have on the human body with and without protection.

Attachment 2 dated November 14th 1955: Shows the British Authorities were warned of the genetic damage liable to be received by personnel attending the British Nuclear tests. This letter was written by Sir Harold Himsworth, Secretary of the General Medical Council. The Prime Minister’s (Sir Anthony Eden) Comment on the risk of genetic damage to the British Troops and their allies was: “A pity, but we cannot help it.’

Attachment 3 dated in 1956; 3rd line refers to the ‘Possible effects off the ingestion of radio-active fall-out (by men and animals will be among the subjects studied.’ I wish to draw attention to the entire last paragraph, in particular the comment ‘Elaborate arrangements for the welfare of the animals are being made, and the scientists who will be in charge of them have wide experience of work of this type in the United Kingdom and in Australia.’
It will be noted that no arrangements were been made for the welfare of the ‘Men’ taking part.

Attachment 4 Published in 1956/57: Shows the United Kingdom were fully conversant with the requirements for personnel entering radioactive zones, training was being given on the correct procedures to adopt when entering a radioactive zone yet none of these procedures were adopted for most service personnel during the actual tests.

In 1958 I was a serving member of the Royal Engineers in the British Army and I was ordered to attend the British nuclear tests at Christmas Island. I witnessed three hydrogen bombs and two Atomic bomb detonations.

I had no role to play during the detonation of the Hydrogen bombs, other than witness the explosions but I was supplied with a white linen ‘Flash Suit’ to wear for the hydrogen bomb Grapple ‘Y’ in order to deflect the heat flash. This suit was not designed for protection against radioactive contamination.

I worked with the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) Staff at ground Zero for the two Atomic tests ‘Pennant’ and ‘Burgee’. I was officially part of the ‘Technical Services Forward Group’ (TSFG) and my duties were to carry out any tasks required in the area of ground zero. I assisted in fitting Flame Proof lamps in the building where the atomic bomb was being assembled to prevent the possibility of an accident. I also shored up the roof of the bunker at ground zero which held all the measuring instruments. It was feared the roof of the bunker may collapse under the blast from the bomb.

On the day of the bombs Pennant and Burgee (22 Aug 59 and 23 Sep 59) I was one of the last to leave the area of ground zero. Both atomic bombs were mounted under Barrage Balloons at the height of approximately 1,000 feet. A Warrant Officer and I had a theodolite and were taking accurate positions of the balloons swaying in the breeze and radioing this information to control. We sent about six readings so the movement could be calculated when the bombs were detonated. After sending the readings we travelled to the assembly point then the bomb was detonated.

Two hours after detonation of both Pennant and Burgee I entered the area of Ground zero to pick up all the radioactive debris and load it into my vehicle. I was not given any protective clothing or a respirator to wear, although these were mandatory for all Civilian AWRE Workers. I was supplied with a radiation film badge and a QFE (Quartz Fibre electroscope) dosimeter which showed the level of ‘Beta’ radiation. I was informed that if the reading reached 7 Roentgens per hour, I was to work for a maximum of two hours then get out the area. The level only showed 5 roentgens per hour so I worked for 2.5 hours and completed my task on both occasions.

I drove my cargo of radioactive debris to the decontamination centre and when I was entering the centre an AWRE worker dressed in full protective clothing and wearing a respirator jumped into my vehicle and drove it away to empty it. Inside the decontamination centre they took my radiation film badge and QFE dosimeter then checked me over for radioactive contamination. After Burgee, it was discovered my clothes were radioactive and I was advised to wash them out when I got back to my accommodation.

I am now informed that my radiation film badges have gone missing and they do not have the full body radiation levels I received. No record was kept of the readings on my QFE dosimeters, yet the Authorities dispute the reading of 5 roentgens per hour (Beta reading shown on my QFE Dosimeter) but have produced no proof of the actual levels. The Authorities had also failed in their duty of care to provide a log book for entering unusual circumstances discovered at the decontamination centre, such as my contaminated clothes.

It is my belief; details of the full body radiation dose I received are being deliberately withheld to prevent me discovering the extent of radiation I received. I had a blood count taken prior to the tests and a further blood count after the tests were completed. The count taken prior to the tests was placed in my service medical history but the count taken after the tests has mysteriously disappeared.

During the months of August, September and October I was living in the area known as ‘B’ Site (map at attachment 5) along with approximately two hundred Men. During this stay there was not only the two Atomic bomb detonations of Pennant and Burgee on the 22 Aug and 23 Sep but also the hydrogen bomb tests Flagpole and Halliard on the 2nd and 11th Sep 1958. On the day of each test any person not assigned to specific duties moved to the assembly areas prior to detonation but were allowed to return within a couple of hours after detonation. Attachment 18 is a photograph showing the condition of our living quarters when we returned after detonation of Atomic bomb Pennant on the 22 August 1958. The blast from the bomb had blown our tents down, and could not have failed to have blown radioactive particles into the accommodation area. Civilian AWRE Staff, dressed in full protective clothing were monitoring the area for radiation at the time we were permitted to return to our living quarters. I have attempted to obtain the logs showing the radiation levels recorded at the living quarters at ‘B’ site throughout the months of August September and October 1958 but the Authorities have failed to supply the information requested.

‘B’ site was in the forward area and attachments 6 and 7 show the forward area as being contaminated for 9 days after pennant detonation and 6 days after Burgee detonation. Attachment 8 shows Civilian AWRE Staff entering the forward area had to go through their ‘Health Control’ and wear protective clothing when entering the forward area. The Men living at ‘B’ Site, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, were not warned the area was radioactive and wore only their shorts and a pair of flip flops. It appears this may have been part of the ‘Medical Experiment’ to discover the problems derived from living within a radioactive zone. The participants had no knowledge of this, and certainly did not give their consent to be part of any experiment which would endanger their life or safety. I have no information, (the Ministry of Defence refuse to supply the information under the Freedom of Information Act) showing the increase in radiation levels at ‘B’ site after detonation of the Hydrogen Bombs. Under the law of probabilities it is suspected the levels would have been higher than those permitted under International Law.

18 months after I left Christmas Island I was posted to Aden for a tour of duty and was admitted, on two separate occasions into the Royal Air Force Hospital in Aden suffering from various ailments which they failed to diagnose. On the second visit to hospital in September 1960 a Lymph node was removed from my right elbow and sent away for analysis. The result of this analysis has never been placed in my Service records and no trace can be found of the hospital records to show the result of the analysis or the results of the other tests I had undergone during my admission to hospital. It is now known, the Michael Redfern QC inquiry into the removal of body parts, without permission of the deceased nuclear Workers and nuclear veterans family or Friends, discovered a register of 118 lymph nodes removed for analysis (attachment 10). Michael Redfern QC was unsure who supplied the Lymph nodes. I made enquiries to discover if the lymph node removed from my body in Aden had been included in these 118 cases but the Authorities were unable to inform me whether, or not, this was the case. It is noted in page 89 of the Redfern report (attachment 14) Para 21 Shows Service Veterans who had attended nuclear weapons tests were unwittingly subject to the covert removal of body parts. The Redfern report gives the motives (attachment 15) as: ‘Scientific Research and potential claims for damages.’ Nuclear Veterans did not consent to this intrusive investigation, and the relatives of the nuclear Veterans, whose loved ones had body parts removed, were denied access to the information in order to claim compensation. Surviving nuclear veterans are also being denied access to all the information surrounding this era, in order to prevent them claiming compensation for being deliberately exposed to radiation for scientific and medical research.

I have suffered various medical problems which I blame on the radioactive contamination I received during my tour of duty at Christmas Island during the bomb tests. I was informed I could apply for a War Pension but I would have to provide proof that radiation was the cause.

As my only positive proof had mysteriously disappeared: My radiation film badges: my QFE dosimeter readings: my blood count: my lymph node diagnosis and my hospital records. I attempted to discover the level of radiation at ground zero between two hours and four hours after detonation of both Pennant and Burgee, but was thwarted at every attempt. Eventually I received a copy of a graph (attachment 9) showing the time scale of Gamma radiation decay. The Authorities failed to supply the scale of radiation for the left hand axis of the graph rendering it useless as evidence. This started a six year campaign of ‘Freedom of Information Questions’ to obtain the missing radiation levels. I was given the general run-around by being told to purchase a book by Lorna Arnold: on several occasions I was told the information was available in the National archives, this turned out to be false: I was given a set of figures for the graph which bore no resemblance to the facts and finally I was told they did not have the figures as they must have been destroyed. Attachment 22/22A/22B is a sequence of letters to the ‘ web site showing my request for an internal review after having been told the information was not available. Mrs Sondhi confirmed the information I requested was not held by MOD or any other Department. I knew important data such as this for a major nuclear trial would never have been destroyed, and took the Ministry of Defence to a First Tier Tribunal for failing to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act. (More on the First Tier Tribunal later) The Ministry of Defence finally admitted they had the information I had been requesting and sent me a copy with an apology.

Mrs Sondhi had provided false information. On the 11 February 2011 (attachment 22B) I comment: “That, as you know, is a pack of lies”: This appears to be a reply to a letter sent by the CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER) shortly before the 11 February 2011 and must have been removed from the web site by that Department.

The Ministry of Defence are continuing their defiance of the ‘Freedom of Information Act 2000’ by deliberately supplying false and misleading information, or adopting a ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ when information is requested.

It is noted the failure of Staff from both the DE&S Policy Secretariat and the AWE in signing their names to any documents they send in reply to FOI’s is becoming normal practice. In order to conform to the regulation under the FOI Act 2000 it is obligatory to request an internal review if it is considered the information given is incorrect. This I have done in the past and received replies from Mr Andrew Tranham, Mrs Ushi Sondhi, Mr Gareth Rowlands and Mrs Marjorie Wilson (AWE) confirming the false and misleading information given previously. This was substantiated by the First Tier Tribunal EA/2011/078 on 16 February 2012 in which the Ministry of Defence had produced numerous different answers, all false and misleading, regarding the radiation levels at ground zero after atomic bombs Pennant and Burgee at Christmas Island in 1958. Attempts had been made for at least five years to obtain this information. It was thanks to the impartiality of Judge Chris Ryan presiding, and Members of the panel Mrs Jaqueline Blake and Mr Roger Creedon that the truth finally emerged and I finally received the information I had been requesting over many years with an apology.

Attachment 23 shows the practice of refusing to supply information is still inherent within the Ministry of Defence. Like the ‘GAMMA’ radiation levels, the MOD or the AWE will hold the ‘BETA’ radiation levels but are refusing to release the information thereby causing unnecessary anxiety and apprehension at being denied access to the levels of radiation received. The devious attitude of the DE7S Policy Secretariat is further highlighted at attachment 16 in their answer to a straight question on the decontamination of the area where I was ordered to work. It will also be noticed this document was not signed. This appears to be quite prevalent at MOD Abbey Wood and could be construed the author of the correspondence is attempting to avoid the accusation of culpability. Once again I am being denied access to information relating to the radiation exposure I was subjected to without my knowledge or consent.

During a hearing at the European Court of Human Rights in the case McGinley and Egan v The United Kingdom (Case No: 10/1997/794/995-996) on the 6 June 1998 it was recorded: “100: The Court recalls that the Government have asserted that there was no pressing National Security reason for retaining information to radiation levels on Christmas Island following the tests”. Considering the refusals I have had over the past years, and am still receiving the statement made to the Court could be described as perverting the course of justice, or perjury.

Secrecy regarding the true levels of radiation can be detected as far back as 22 December 1955. The late Lord Penny (Director of operations) knew the dangers of radiation but did not impart his knowledge to the service personnel ordered to attend the detonations of the nuclear devices. He was also guilty of misleading our Allies in Australia by attempting to deny them access to the true levels of radiation on detonation of these devices. (Attachment 19)

In addition to the refusal by the United Kingdom to release all documents relating to the nuclear tests a ban appears to have been placed on any nuclear Veterans being permitted to have the ‘M-FISH’ (multi- Fluorescence in situ Hybridisation) blood analysis performed in the United Kingdom, even on the offer of payment. The ‘FISH’ blood analysis was performed on a nuclear Veteran in 1983 at the Western General hospital (attachment 11), and an inordinate level of chromosomal translocations were detected. It was suggested that all nuclear veterans should be tested to ascertain whether this was an isolated case or endemic to all nuclear veterans. The United Kingdom decided against having the nuclear Veterans blood tested in preference to a ‘Paper’ study based on deaths and cause of death. No tests were arranged to discover the level of genetic damage. In 2004, an ‘M-FISH’ blood analysis was carried out at the Massey University in New Zealand on 49 ex-Ratings of the Royal New Zealand Navy and it was discovered they had a far higher number of chromosomal translocations than individuals who had not been at a nuclear test site. This was known as the Rowland Study.

It has recently been discovered through Freedom of Information question that blood samples from 18 nuclear veterans were covertly sent to the Leiden University in the Netherlands (attachment 12), for the ‘FISH’ blood analysis. It appears individuals donating the blood samples were not informed of the true purpose of these samples and have never been informed of the findings. (Attachment 13)

Civilian Nuclear Workers are permitted to have the ‘FISH’ blood analysis denied to Service Nuclear Veterans. Attachment 17 proves 294 retired ‘Civilian’ nuclear workers were given the blood analysis in order to discover the level of chromosomal damage caused by a lifetime’s work in the nuclear industry. The United Kingdom is not prepared to test the blood of nuclear veterans and compare it with the results of the Civilian nuclear Workers.

We have a ‘Veterans Affairs Minister’, (Mr Andrew Robathan) whose duty is to care for the Veterans needs. I wrote to him on the 10th May and again on the 14th June 2012 asking many questions but to date, (3 August 2012) I am still awaiting an acknowledgement, let alone answers. (copies of letters at attachments 24 and 25). The refusal by a Veterans Affairs Minister (Mr Andrew Robathan) adds to the psychological torture by denying me access to the levels of radiation I was forced to endure and is further compounded by the refusal to permit a full blood analysis to determine the degree of genetic damage caused by the radiation.’

The United Kingdom is very quick to condemn other Countries for Human rights violations and criminal acts against humanity yet they fail to acknowledge or practice the articles in: The Lesvos declaration/ Euratom directive 96/29/Declaration of Helsinki or the Nuremburg Code

In order to avoid payments of compensation, the United Kingdom are now denying there was any radiation and are refusing to release all documents of this era which would show the level of criminal negligence committed.

I believe I have submitted adequate evidence to show the United Kingdom Guilty of the charges raised.

Yours sincerely

David Whyte

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