Controversial paper cites bombing of Iraqi chemical weapons depots ST (Newser) – A controversial new paper may shed light on Gulf War syndrome, a collection of symptoms seen in veterans of the 1991 conflict: Chemical weapons could be to blame. The researchers assert that when US troops bombed chemical weapons depots in Iraq, the neurotoxin sarin was sent into the atmosphere then carried by the wind all the way to American encampments 300 miles to the south. From there, weather conditions may have driven the toxin downward, potentially exposing troops to it for several days. Troops were told that chemical weapons alarms that blared at the time were false alarms, the New York Times reports. The theory has been raised before; the new paper supports it using intelligence and weather reports. The researchers also noted a correlation between the number of times troops say they heard the alarm and the severity of their symptoms. Satellite images in the report show yellow gas over the US encampments, USA Today adds. Almost half of 700,000 Gulf War veterans have made claims for disability, with many citing symptoms whose cause remains mysterious. The Pentagon has maintained that the gas couldn't have traveled far enough to present a threat, and other experts have agreed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I've never understood why the government has worked so hard to deny even the possibility of this occurring. Military members, current or former, have very little ability to sue the government over health issues. So why the denial? (And before recounting this next bit, let me preface it by saying that I am the most skeptical, non-conspiracy-theory-believing individual you will ever encounter.) I'm even more puzzled at why the government denied that chemical weapons were released, also during the first Gulf War, but when there was absolutely no government culpability. I was a section supervisor at an NSA facility, and saw reports coming in reporting that Marine Fox Chemical Warfare vehicles were encountering chemical weapons. Alarms were going off, intell resources were being redirected, and then the reports stopped abruptly. When my relief came in, I gave him a passdown on the activity over the past eight hours, and I pulled up the reports of chemical warfare activity. The reports had been deleted. I had printed off a copy when they were originally issued, which I showed to him, but the reports were gone from the system. The reports were serialized, but selecting those report serials only produced a blank report mask. (I feel safe from prosecution over revealing this, because the government says it never happened. Therefore, this account must be fiction.) As several years passed, on some level, I was actually beginning to wonder if I had imagined the whole situation. Then I brought it up, in 2000, in a discussion with a fellow intell instructor, a Navy Petty Officer. His eyes lit up as he exclaimed, "Oh my God!, I had begun to think I had imagined that incident!" He had been working at a Naval Intelligence facility on that night, all those years ago. He had the same experience. He saw the reports, and then they disappeared. No explanations. Normally, if a report went out and was later found to be incorrect, a correction would be issued saying "Report number 130-04 has been found to contain erroneous information. Please delete all computer and hard copy records of this report." Not so in this case. Computer records disappeared, and since no classified material could leave the buildings, the hardcopy records were eventually shredded, and the event simply didn't happen. I never have figured out what the angle was. Deletion of the reports only served to protect the Iraqi regime. How the deletion of those reports would have served the interests of high levels of the American government, I have no idea.