* German soldiers sue over cancer - Tom Bearden Website updates 24/12/02)
BBC News
Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 20:52 GMT

German soldiers sue over cancer
The soldiers worked in both the former East and West of Germany

Former German soldiers who say they contracted cancer through operating military radar machinery have launched lawsuits against the government, and plan further action against the US manufacturers.

The army systematically ignored every safety precaution

Lawyer Reiner Geulen, representing 773 alleged victims or their families, said he had brought a first set of suits forward due to the army's negligence and the defence ministry's failure to pay compensation.

The men had operated radar equipment for either the West German or East German armies between the 1950s and the 1980s. The majority of the plaintiffs currently suffer from cancer.

Mr Geulen is seeking minimum damages of 60,000 euros ($52,770) per person in six test cases which have been filed in two regional German courts. "The army systematically ignored every safety precaution," he told a news conference. "The behaviour of the defence minister towards the victims has been shabby."

Dietmar Glanar, a 54-year-old former soldier who had his hand amputated in 1990 due to bone cancer, appeared by his lawyer's side at the news conference.

"If I had worn a lead glove, I would still have my hand," he said.

The German defence ministry denies Mr Geulen's allegations, and says it is trying to deal with the applications for damages as quickly as possible.

It says it has received 1,600 requests from radar operators, of which 500 have been processed.

Eight former soldiers have been awarded monthly payments.

International workers

Mr Geulen is also to launch a $350m lawsuit in May on behalf of 400 former soldiers against the US manufacturers of the machinery. It alleges that the equipment was imperfectly set up and lacking in adequate shielding devices. The manufacturers include Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Lucent.

Some of the soldiers involved in the legal action against the German Government worked with radar machines built by Dutch, British and Soviet manufacturers, but their names have not been mentioned.

Mr Geulen said he expected US, Dutch and Greek victims who worked on the US machines to take part in the legal action.


Informant: Robert Riedlinger

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