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DoD Releases Two Gulf War Case Narratives

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 1998 – Two new Gulf War case narratives involving chemical-agent detections are available for public access on DoD's GulfLINK site at http://www.gulflink.osd.mil.

Bernard Rostker, special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense for Gulf War illnesses, briefed the press on the narratives Aug. 4 at a Pentagon news conference. The cases cover Czech and French reports of possible detections and a narrative on events at An Nasiriyah Southwest Ammunition Storage Point.

Rostker said Czech units detected a nerve agent near Hafar al Batin, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 19, 1991. Czech soldiers also reported "discolored sand" five days later near King Khalid Military City, Saudi Arabia.

DoD assessed the two detections as valid in 1993, and the CIA concurred in 1996. The current investigation has found nothing to change these conclusions, Rostker said. "We have no way of independently verifying these reports," he said. "However, we are confident in the Czechs' ability to carry out these detections."

DoD has listed two other Czech reports from late January 1991 as "indeterminate." "We just don't know," Rostker said. "One was for mustard gas and another for sarin. We have no confirmation and no source of chemical weapons in the area. We just have to list these as indeterminate." Three other French detections have also been listed as indeterminate.

The other case narrative deals with Iraq's An Nasiriyah Southwest Ammunition Storage Point. Before and during the Gulf War, allied intelligence suspected Iraq stored chemical or biological weapons at the site. Coalition aircraft bombed five suspected sites in the installation.

Occupation troops tested the area and found no sign of chemical or biological contamination. U.N. Special Commission inspections supported that finding. DoD and U.N. investigators concluded that the site likely had chemical weapons prior to U.S. occupation. They also concluded it is unlikely any weapons were at the site during the occupation or that the coalition bombing caused any chemical or biological contamination.

As with past case narratives, Rostker called on Gulf War veterans with information on these cases to call his staff at (800) 472-6719.

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