Gassed to death
Widow demands public admission over why CR gas was used in Long Kesh

The widow of a former republican POW who was gassed by the British in Long Kesh prison has demanded that Tony Blair publicly admit what was done.

Paul ‘Winker’ Watson died an agonising and premature death last September. He was just 52.
His wife Carol said it was time the British admitted and explained why the army deployed the toxic CR gas in 1974 on the prisoners. She said it was particularly poignant on the commemoration of the liberation of the Jews from Auschwitz concentration camp.
But a spokesman for the British Prime Minister said Carol Watson could write, and added: “It’s really hard for me to find out any information about this. I’m sure if she wrote a letter someone would have a look at it. I do not deal with that side of things. You should call the MoD.”
The MoD has refused to comment and the NIO, responsible for prisons has said it is a matter for the MoD.
Paul ‘Winker’ Watson was just six days off his 53rd birthday when he died after a brave battle with cancer.
He is one of an estimated 50 to 60 ex-POWs who suffer or who have died from cancer related deaths in the years since the deadly gas poisoning.
They have all died premature deaths – some in terrible agony.
Despite relating the horrific accounts of the night of October 16 that year, the POWs, including loyalist prisoners were simply not believed.
But this week in papers released under a new freedom of information act, the truth has finally come out.
The British administration ordered the gassing of prisoners when they burnt their Nissen huts in protest at the camp conditions.
Among those in the camp were Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin press officer Richard McAuley. All the men describe the choking effects of the gas named CR gas or Dibenzoxazepine – ten times more irritant than tear gas.
Carol Watson said the British were “no better than the Nazis”.
“The way the Jews were treated was exactly what the British did to Irishmen on their own soil that night in Long Kesh,” she said.
Her husband, who comes from the Oldpark, was convinced that the cancer he battled that assaulted him in almost every organ of his body was the result of being gassed with the poison gas that was fired from helicopters over the football pitches in the compounds.
“Paul was diagnosed three years before his death. The cancer started in his stomach. They removed his stomach, his spleen and part of his gullet. That was just the start.”
It was the beginning of a long fight and an inevitable end for Winker Watson.
He endured terrible agony and years of chemotherapy until the cancer spread into his bones.
“He fought so hard to stay alive. He always looked after his health. He never smoked in his life and rarely drank. He would rather walk and play golf. When he was diagnosed with cancer the first thing the doctors asked was did he work with chemicals. He never had. And the second thing they asked was how many cigs a day he smoked. He had never put a cigarette near his mouth.”
The release of the papers brings to new heights the battle to have the British admit they gassed prisoners, some interned without trial.
“It’s hard to believe that so many men who were there in 1974 on that night have died or have developed cancer. They were all young and fit then.
“They played Gaelic every day and did weights every day. I just want Tony Blair to say what these papers say about the gassing of Irishmen they considered second class citizens.”

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?