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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday Miror Coverage of John's meeting with the PM

David Cameron gives nuclear test veterans glimmer of hope after our 12-year campaign for justice

In another great article in the Sunday Mirror, Susie Boniface reports on last Wednesday's  meeting between John Baron MP and the Prime Minister.  
 
This is a very significant step forward in the campaign our veterans have been fighting for so many years

Read the full story HERE

Thursday, 10 April 2014

John Baron MP explains to the Prime Minister why nuclear test veterans are a special case

Our Patron presses David Cameron on recognition campaign

As part of the recognition campaign for the British nuclear test veterans, John Baron MP had a private meeting with the Prime Minister this afternoon to discuss the aims of the campaign. After previously hitting a brick wall with the MoD, John requested the meeting with the Prime Minister at PMQs on 12th February.

At the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister undertook to make further enquiries and get back to John, who is Patron of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA).

John said,

“This was a constructive meeting. I talked the Prime Minister through our recognition campaign, and he is now going to ask further questions within Government. I will also be sending him our film, ‘Britain’s Atomic Betrayal’. He will then get back to me.”

“Our nuclear test veterans are a special case. One in three of their descendents suffers from serious illness – figures supported by studies in other countries, including France. Their unique service, at a time when the science was unknown and the precautions rudimentary, made possible our independent nuclear deterrent. However, we compare poorly as to how other countries treat their veterans.”

“The country owes a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans. The Government has done well to recognise past wrongs. Our hope is that it will do so again here.”

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Nuclear Test Veterans scandal continues as children are STILL being born with medical defects three generations on

Another great article from Susie Boniface in the Sunday Mirror....

For 12 years the Sunday Mirror has campaigned for the survivors of Britain’s nuclear tests – 22,000 men ordered to watch as the toxic bombs exploded.
Today most are dead, having been denied justice by successive governments who ignored their health problems.
But their legacy lives on in the genes of descendants who suffer 10 times the normal rate of birth defects. Today we relaunch our battle for justice...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

John Baron MP promised meeting with Prime Minister over Nuclear Test Veterans

Prime Minister The Rt Hon David Cameron MP

John Baron MP has been assisting the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA) in their campaign of recognition for the veterans’ unique service in the 1950s and 1960s. Having initially approached the MoD and hitting a brick wall, John has been promised a meeting with the Prime Minister (following his PMQ on 12th February) to discuss the campaign, which is in two parts: 
  • To secure official recognition of the test veterans’ service through a Parliamentary statement (either written or oral) to Parliament from the Prime Minister. 
  •  An ex gratia payment of £25 million to a Benevolent Fund, open to veterans and their descendants, access to which would be based on need not entitlement. 

John Baron MP - BNTVA Patron
John said, “The MoD has pulled up the drawbridge, which is why the nuclear veterans and I are pleased that the Prime Minister is meeting us. Britain compares poorly as to how other countries treat their nuclear veterans, and it is striking that one in three of veterans’ descendants suffer from some form of serious illness. We look forward to a constructive discussion.” 
 
Bob Ireland & Nigel Heaps on the campaign trail
 Nigel Heaps, Chairman of the BNTVA, said, “For many years the MoD has contrived to work against the interests of our veterans and their families. It is a significant step that the Prime Minister is taking in opening the door for discussion. Winston Churchill recognised ‘the price we have to pay to sit at the top table’ – our veterans continue to pay that price and we have a genuine hope that Mr Cameron will do the decent thing by them”

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Have an interesting or thought provoking experience from your association with the Nuclear Tests?


Do you have an interesting or thought provoking experience from your association with the Nuclear Tests?

If the answer is yes then we would like to hear from you, We need to share your experiences and put a human face to our Recognition Campaign.

As readers are aware the Recognition Campaign is very much alive, building support and increasing pressure on the Government. We have brought the issue of descendents into the debate to counter the feeble “what makes you different” argument put forward by the Veterans Minister but we need to keep the pressure on.

We really need to hear from you if you or your father:

  • Were on Ground Crew cleaning down the Canberra sniffer aircraft.
  • Took part in collecting samples for the scientists at any of the tests.
  • Were a Scientist stationed at a test site.
  • Took a decision not to have children as a result of participation in the Tests.
  • Were non-UK personnel at a British Test or were UK personnel attending a non-UK test.
  • Received money from the USA but have been refused a British War Pension.

We need to hear from you as soon as possible so email your details and brief experiences to media@bntva.com in the first instance. If you do not have internet access send your details to our central address and title your letter 'Recognition Campaign'. You could also call our central phone number and leave your name and telephone number asking to be contacted by Katie Hill.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Britain's Cold War Veterans: Out in the cold?

Campaign coverage from 'across the pond'
 by Stephen Beard, European Bureau Chief, Marketplace



When the nuclear bomb went off, Don James was not equipped with special clothing. He was wearing  a pair of shorts , a t-shirt, and a floppy hat. He and his fellow troops were told to turn their backs and put their hands in front of their faces.

"There’s a huge flash. And you can see the bones of your hands…the flash goes through your body and you can see the bones of your hands  like an X-ray," says James.

"It’s as if  somebody is opening an oven, you can feel the heat  on your back. And then you get the blast  come in and some of the coconut trees were bent right down touching the ground," he says.

The year was 1958 – at the height of the Cold War. The place: Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean.  Don James – 19 years old at the time – was one of more than 20,000 British soldiers, sailor, and airmen who took part in the testing of nuclear weapons. Many were ordered to witness the explosions, some  were required to clean the aircraft used in the tests. None were warned of the dangers of radiation or issued with protective clothing or equipment and many of the men went on to develop serious health problems with conditions like cancer and degenerative bone disease.

"I’ve had nine operations on my spine. It’s crumbling,”  says 73 year-old Jeff Liddiatt, who was involved in the testing in the Australian Outback in 1960.  "At one stage I was in a wheelchair. I do find walking very difficult.  I can’t walk very far. And I’m in constant pain and take painkillers every day," he says.    

Next week,  British lawmakers launch a fresh attempt to have the role of these "nuclear veterans" recognized, and for the men to be compensated .  The U.S.  agreed to provide financial support for its nuclear veterans back in the 1980s, but  the British authorities are still holding out , refusing to accept there is a causal link between the tests and the veterans’  ill health.  

Liddiatt  has no doubt  there is a connection.

"The  radiologists who have looked at my bones have said that my symptoms are very similar to those of people who were exposed to radiation while working with X-rays in the early days of that technology," he says.  

Parliament member John Baron accuses the British government of treating the servicemen and their families  in a mean-spirited and shameful way:

"The Americans treat their veterans much more generously,” says Baron. "In the U.S. you don’t have to prove a causal link. All you have to show is that you took part in the tests,  and that you suffered one of a number of illnesses, and you then get compensation."

The British  government is clearly worried about cost. The incidence of birth defects and deformities  among the veterans’ children is  disproportionately high, and that has raised concerns that compensating the families may turn into a very lengthy and expensive process.  

Shelly Grigg -  a veteran’s daughter  with a host of debilitating, congenital  ailments  -  says the British  government is  terrified of a financial chain reaction.

"They’re frightened of how much money they’re going to have to pay out  not only to the veterans, but to their children, and their children’s children, and their children. It’s like a family tree. Where does it end ? It would be just too expensive for them."

But the veterans’ supporters say the country owes these men and their families an enormous debt of gratitude.  They may not have been injured in battle but – the supporters say – they did suffer serious harm waging the Cold War, and helping to preserve peace and freedom. 

View the original Article HERE

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Prime Minister differs with Ministers at PMQs over Nuclear Test Veterans

 Prime Minister says discussions ongoing

Today during Prime Minister’s Questions, John Baron MP asked the Prime Minister about the British nuclear test veterans. The British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA), of which John is Patron, is running a campaign in support of the veterans, the aims of which are twofold: to secure oral or written recognition in a statement by the Prime Minister; and the establishment of a £25m Benevolent Fund to help veterans and their descendents meet care costs. The MoD’s position to date is that there is not a case to answer. However, the Prime Minister agreed today that discussions were ongoing. John is now hoping to arrange a meeting.

In the House of Commons, John said,

“The Prime Minister will be aware of a cross-party group of around 80 MPs who are campaigning for recognition for our nuclear test veterans. Given that Britain compares poorly as to how other countries treat their test veterans, and the high incidence of serious illness amongst veterans’ descendants, will the Prime Minister meet us as we have hit a brick wall with the MoD?”

The Prime Minister responded that he would be pleased to carry on discussing the campaign with John.

John said afterwards,

“The Prime Minister’s response differs from his own Ministers. This is to be welcomed. Our campaign has broad support, and is all about recognition – not compensation – for the veterans’ unique service. The BNTVA, other MPs and I are now hoping to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister.”

John has written a briefing for all our members and supporters....