Monday, 31 March 2008

Depleted Uranium

In 1996 and 1997 UN Human Rights Tribunals condemned DU weapons for illegally breaking the Geneva Convention and classed them as 'weapons of mass destruction' 'incompatible with international humanitarian and human rights law.' Since then, following leukemia in European peacekeeping troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan (where DU was also used), the EU has twice called for DU weapons to be banned.

In the first Gulf War, 340 tonnes of the illegal weapon, depleted uranium- nuclear waste, was used, with inevitable horrific and contaminating results on people, the environment and subsequent dreadfully deformed babies. About 2,500 tonnes of DU have been used in the second Gulf War. 800 tonnes is (allegedly) equivalent to the atmocity of 41,000 Nagasaki atom bombs. In the early Nineties, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority warned that 50 tons of dust from DU explosions could claim a half million lives from cancer by year 2000.

Dr. Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk said the following:

"I'm horrified. The people out there - the Iraqis, the media and the troops - risk the most appalling ill health. And the radiation from depleted uranium can travel literally anywhere. It's going to destroy the lives of thousands of children, all over the world. We all know how far radiation can travel. Radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales and in Britain you sometimes get red dust from the Sahara on your car."

'Depleted' uranium is in many ways a misnomer. 'Depleted' sounds weak. The only weak thing about depleted uranium is its price. It is dirt cheap, toxic, waste from nuclear power plants and bomb production. However, uranium is one of earth's heaviest elements and smashes through tanks, buildings and bunkers with equal ease, spontaneously catching fire as it does so, and burning people alive. 'Crispy critters' is what US servicemen call those unfortunate enough to be close. And, when John Pilger encountered children killed at a greater distance he wrote: "The children's skin had folded back, like parchment, revealing veins and burnt flesh that seeped blood, while the eyes, intact, stared straight ahead. I vomited." (Daily Mirror)
Doctors in Iraq have estimated that birth defects have increased by 2-6 times, and 3-12 times as many children have developed cancer and leukemia since 1991. Moreover, a report published in The Lancet in 1998 said that as many as 500 children a day are dying from these sequels to war and sanctions and that the death rate for Iraqi children under 5 years of age increased from 23 per 1000 in 1989 to 166 per thousand in 1993.

So much ammunition containing depleted uranium (DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, “The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed.”
“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,” Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.

Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.

Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional Law, “The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is totally out of control.”

Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, “For every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are thousands more that will be expressed.” She adds, “the (Iraq) environment now is completely radioactive.”

“Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq, Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia and childhood diabetes,” Moret asserts. Doug Rokke, formerly the top U.S. Army DU clean-up officer and now anti-DU crusader, says Israeli tankers fired radioactive shells during the invasion of Lebanon last year. U.S. and NATO forces also used DU ammunition in Kosovo. Rokke says he is quite ill from the effects of DU and that members of his clean-up crew have died from it.

On hearing that DU had been used in the Gulf in 1991, the UK Atomic Energy Authority sent the Ministry of Defense a special report on the potential damage to health and the environment. It said that it could cause half a million additional cancer deaths in Iraq over 10 years. In that war the authorities only admitted to using 320 tons of DU-although the Dutch charity LAKA estimates the true figure is closer to 800 tons. Many times that may have been spread across Iraq by this year's war. The devastating damage all this DU will do to the health and fertility of the people of Iraq now, and for generations to come, is beyond imagining.

The radioactivity persists for over 4,500,000,000 years.
Nobody knows how many Iraqis have died in the womb since DU contaminated their world. But it is suggested that troops who were only exposed to DU for the brief period of the war were still excreting uranium in their semen 8 years later and some had 100 times the so-called 'safe limit' of uranium in their urine. The lack of government interest in the plight of veterans of the 1991 war is reflected in a lack of academic research on the impact of DU but informal research has found a high incidence of birth defects in their children and that the wives of men who served in Iraq have three times more miscarriages than the wives of servicemen who did not go there.
As a result of DU bombardments, Dr. Helen Caldicott writes, “Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time.”
Like symptoms have been reported among infants born to U.S. service personnel that fought in the Gulf Wars. One survey of 251 returned Gulf War veterans from Mississippi made by the Veterans Administration found 67% of children born to them suffered from “severe illnesses and deformities.”

In Yugoslavia, where 30,000 radioactive uranium projectiles fired by NATO warplanes had released thousands of tons of easily inhaled or ingested microscopic particles, medical doctors were already reporting “multiple unrelated cancers” in families with no previous history of cancer, who lived in highly contaminated areas.

A previously unknown phenomenon, these “very rare and unusual cancers and birth defects have also been reported to be increasing, not only in war torn countries, but also in neighbouring countries from transboundary contamination,” the European Parliament found. [ Global Research July 8/04; American Free Press Aug 27/04; European Parliament Verbatim Report of Proceedings Apr 9/02; Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft Nov 8/05]

Just as veterans of Desert Storm came to call their mysterious maladies “Gulf War Syndrome,” soldiers posted to Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s began referring to the “Balkans Syndrome.”
United States law and U.S. Army Regulations AR 700-48 and TB 9-1300-278 require the army to "Clean and Treat" all persons affected and all areas contaminated by the radioactive uranium munitions. But Lt. Col. Mike Milord confirmed that the Pentagon had zero plans to clean up radioactive contamination in Kosovo - or anywhere else . [Vanity Fair Nov/04; Daily Telegraph Jan 15/01]

Of the 700,000 U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War, more than 240,000 are on permanent medical disability and 11,000 are dead, published reports indicate. This is an astonishing high toll from such a short conflict in which fewer than 400 U.S. soldiers were killed on the battlefield. It is believed a portion of those who fell ill and/or died suffered from exposure to irradiated ammunition.

Of course, “depleted uranium munitions were and remain another causative factor behind Gulf War Syndrome(GWS),” writes Francis Boyle, a leading American authority on international law in his book “Biowarfare and Terrorism.”
“The Pentagon continues to deny that there is such a medical phenomenon categorized as GWS---even beyond the point where everyone knows that denial is pure propaganda and disinformation,” Boyle writes.

“The Pentagon will never own up to the legal, economic, tortious, political, and criminal consequences of admitting the existence of GWS. So U.S. and U.K. veterans of Gulf War I as well as their afterborn children will continue to suffer and die. The same will prove true for U.S. and U.S. veterans of Bush Jr.’s Gulf War II as well as their afterborn children.”

Boyle said the use of DU is outlawed under the 1925 Geneva Convention prohibiting poison gas.

We're clearly not dealing with regimes in Britain and the US that are a bit bad, or well-intentioned but misguided, or realists in a world necessitating such behaviour, etc. This is simply evil in a very pure form, in the two-fold sense of evil for its own sake, and also for ends which cannot be any different in essence from the nature of their means.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, this article is obviously written by someone who does not understand the radiological and chemical risks associated with DU and therefore promulgates the usual anti-nuclear waffle, etc. Before procrastinating on such subjects read some propoer research such as epidemilogical studies into the issue. Busby produces reports that have been described by experts in the field as "scientifically worthless". His own pet theory into health effects of radiation is also widely discredited. There is likely to be more U-235 (which emits radiation) in your soil than that in DU as DU is depleted in U-235. The argument that trace amounts of other contaminants in the DU are responsible for such health effects doesn't wash either.

Andrew K said...

Oh dear, anonymous. I sugest you have a look at these pictures of deformed babies arising from the use of depleted uranium here. Go on, have a really good look.
My own parents adopted a child who will never walk, or possibly talk from comparatively mild birth deformities arising from use of such weapons. So I actually do have strangely close connection with exactly the results of such instruments. The dreadful large scar on her lower back marking the spina bifida I can't dismiss so easily as anti-nuclear waffle. Nor the pictures of horrendously deformed children in the same orphanage can be so easily dismissed. These are children whose deformities weren't so bad as to prevent the possibility of life you uinderstand.


This was done by the Soviet Union in Kazakhstan where the proof of the effects are undeniable except by the strangely apathetic and inhuman, so I'm not particularly interested in who's doing the contaminating.

And imagine the US authorities tried to discredit all claims of contaminating after-effects after the Japanese atomic bombs also. Anti-nucear waffle and all that

After the UN condemned suh weapons, & the cancer results & birth deformities mentioned have been so clearly magnified, how heartening that you are comfortable with the use of nuclear waster abroad. I wonder if it was used in your own community, with your wfe expecting- say someone thought it might make a good agricultural fertiliser- how would your attitude be. Any chance you might move a liitle distance away if possible?
Still these Iraqis & the like are hardly as human as you and me after all. WHat right do they have to complain?

Andrew K said...

Also I presume the huge cancer increases, birth deformites, etc are purely accidental. Is that it, anon? Any doubts that the authorities using these weapons condemned by the EU have a vested interest in them not being seen as harmful. Just imagine there are scientists who are so degraded in their sense of truth that they willingly create nuclear wepains, clutser bombs, whatever instruments of insanity onw wishes to imagine. So that some of these noble souls might describe anti-nuclear reports as "scientifically worthless" isn't particularly astonishing is it? Though the inverted commas within which that you placed the damning phrase was more than scientifically impressive. All the hallmarks of authority.

Andrew K said...

Soaring birth deformities and child cancer rates in Iraq
By James Cogan
WSWS
10 May 2005

Iraqi doctors are making renewed efforts to bring to the world's attention the growth in birth deformities and cancer rates among the country's children. The medical crisis is being directly blamed on the widespread use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the US and British forces in southern Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, and the even greater use of DU during the 2003 invasion.

The rate of birth defects, after increasing ten-fold from 11 per 100,000 births in 1989 to 116 per 100,000 in 2001, is soaring further. Dr Nawar Ali, a medical researcher into birth deformities at Baghdad University, told the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) last month: "There have been 650 cases [birth deformities] in total since August 2003 reported in government hospitals. That is a 20 percent increase from the previous regime. Private hospitals were not included in the study, so the number could be higher."

His colleague, Dr Ibrahim al-Jabouri, reported: "In my experiments we have found some cases where the mother and father were suffering from pollution from weapons used in the south and we believe that it is affecting newborn babies in the country."

The rise in birth defects is matched by a continuing increase in the incidence of childhood cancers.

Six years ago, the College of Medicine at Basra University carried out a study into the rate of cancer among children under the age of 15 in southern Iraq from 1976 to 1999. It revealed a horrific change between 1990 and 1999. In the province of Basra, the incidence of cancer of all types rose by 242 percent, while the rate of leukaemia among children rose 100 percent. Children living in the area were falling ill with cancer at the rate of 10.1 per 100,000. In districts where the use of DU had been the most concentrated, the rate rose to 13.2 per 100,000.

Still why stop now. Perhaps it's all a mistake. How does one get to know the results unless one keeps conducting the experiments. Onwards and upwards.

Andrew K said...

This is getting out of hand, but one other thought. The agricultural fertiliser is far from a fair comparison, is it? This nuclear effluence is not being treated in any such docile manner.

"How do we look after this nuclear stuff so it doesn't contaminate anyone. You know, keep it safe and docile."
"I know, we'll invade countries and use it as a weapon by firing it through modern high-tech maximum damage instruments of war. That'll keep it safe and inert."
"Fine by me."

That's your position, anon. A wise, humane, not insane one.

Anonymous said...

I have posted as anon numerous times on this blog, I guess you will recognise that the anonymous above is a different poster. The above poster is an ignorant victim off brainwashing government propaganda if he believes the governments official stance on DU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyX4307WgBc&feature=related

Andrew K said...

Only the most appallingly naive could imagine that uranium would be safely disposed of by using it in explosive weapons. The clue of its power being a little contained in the reason it might be being used in explosive weapons. "No, I can assure you it's prefectly safe. That's why we're using it to kill people and blow things up. You don't think we'd use it to kill people and blow things up if it wasn't safe."

Rhotel1 said...

Glad to see that someone with scientific expertise has posted -- Leuren Moret is not only not an expert on radiation or uranium, but she actually is a total fraud, a prodiguous self-promoter who will stoop to no end to get herself in the news and sell her DVDs. If you carefully look at all of the Moret postings, you will find that she asserts that DU has caused a worldwide epidemic of diabetes and that atomic testing is not only responsible for increased autism, but also reduced SAT scores. Guess no one has told the kids who get the perfect 800's.

Andrew, you are as big a fraud as Moret when you claim that the adopted child has birth defects due to DU. There has been no baby that has been born with a birth defect due to DU. There are a lot of pictures, but there is no evidence trail that connects them to DU and there is not likely to be any because uranium is a naturally ocurring substance all over the world and even you, Andrew have Uranium 238 atoms in your body, quite a few of them, in the hundreds of thousands. The baby thing is a myth that was begun under Saddam Hussein and the same pictures that were posted then are still circulating the net, some of which have been claimed to have even been taken in Afghanistan where the UNEP report shows no concern for DU. See http://postconflict.unep.ch/publications/afghanistan_cont.pdf pages 27-29 and 31-32 for discussion of radioactive contaminants and negligible uranium concentration expressed in micrograms per gram. It is time that American doctors without some sort of "peace activist" chip on their shoulder start telling the world that these child pornography pictures have nothing to do with DU. Then maybe 10% of the net will believe them.

Rhotel1 said...

Anonymous - your comments on Busby's reports being scientifically worthless are most refreshing. Please contact me through owner DUStory --

For others who want to learn about DU, go to www.depletedcranium.com and to the following message link that links to international reports on DU -- http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DUStory/message/55

Rhotel1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew K said...

Numclear waste safely placed within modern weapons. Makes sense, Rhote. I can see how that would be really safe. And of course all those doctors in Iraq are making it up, & those deformed babies figments of some photographer's imagination.

Here is the description accompanying many photos of deIraqi deformed babies from the early 90s:

Ross B. Mirkarimi of the The Arms Control Research Centre, his report is entitled ‘The Environmental and Human Health Impacts of the Gulf Region with Special Reference to Iraq.’ May 1992:

I have recently received large numbers of photographs of horrendous birth deformities that are being experienced in Iraq. I have not, quite frankly, ever seen anything like them. I urge you to copy this page / these pictures and circulate them as widely as possible.

In an act of stark cruelty, the US dominated Sanctions Committee refuses to permit Iraq to import the clean-up equipment that they desperately need to decontaminate their country of the Depleted Uranium ammunition that the US fired at them. Approximately 315 tons of DU dust was left by the use of this ammunition.The Sanctions Committee also refuses to allow the mass importation of anti-cancer treatments, which contain trace amounts of radio-isotopes, on the grounds that these constitute '...nuclear materials.

Additional pictures were taken by Dr. Siegwart Horst-Gunther, President of the International Yellow Cross. Most appeared in his 1996 book "URANIUM PROJECTILES - SEVERELY MAIMED SOLDIERS, DEFORMED BABIES, DYING CHILDREN" (Published by AHRIMAN - Verlag, ISBN: 3-89484-805-7). The book is a documentary record of DU ammunition after-effects, and they were taken between 1993 and 1995. Dr. Gunther also supplied me with additional photographs from his unpublished collection, some of which feature the birth deformities being experienced by Western Gulf war veterans' children.

the following excerpts from the July 1990 Science and Applications International Corporation report: ' Kinetic Energy Penetrator Environment and Health Considerations', as included in Appenix D - US Army Armaments, Munitions and Chemical Command report: 'Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study, July 1990' :

"Aerosol DU (Depleted Uranium) exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological and toxicological effects. [...] Under combat conditions, the most exposed individuals are probably ground troops that re-enter a battlefield following the exchange of armour-piercing munitions. [...] We are simply highlighting the potential for levels of DU exposure to military personnel during combat that would be unacceptable during peacetime operations. [...DU is..]... a low level alpha radiation emitter which is linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage. [...] Short term effects of high doses can result in death, while long term effects of low doses have been linked to cancer. [...] Our conclusion regarding the health and environmental acceptability of DU penetrators assume both controlled use and the presence of excellent health physics management practices. Combat conditions will lead to the uncontrolled release of DU. [...] The conditions of the battlefield, and the long term health risks to natives and combat veterans may become issues in the acceptability of the continued use of DU kinetic penetrators for military applications."

Andrew K said...

There has been and continues to be a concern regarding the impact of DU on the environment. Therefore, if no-one makes a case for the effectiveness of DU on the battlefield, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and thus be deleted from the arsenal. I believe we should keep this sensitive issue in mind when action reports are written." - Lt. Col. M.V. Ziehmn, Los Alamos National Laboratory memorandum, March 1st 1991

In other words, we better suppress information. See that's where people like you come in, Rhote, who probably refuse point-blank to even look at the photos, such as at this site, & naturally deny outright that the astonishing deformities have anything to do with the DU use, even though the deformities mirror exactly the experience post other nuclear disasters.

Omar Ha-Redeye said...

See the link for more information on DU.

Rhotel1 said...

Omar -

I gather from the abstract of your paper that you did not actually do any actual experimentation, just researched the literature. Who, by name and title performed the peer review of your paper? The world has a right to know that. I have been in regular contact with a number of radiation protection professionals through the international RADSAFE list and private correspondence. I have strong reason to believe that your paper is much like Hindin et al, examining only the negative literature, her paper was totally inspired by Traprock Peace Center which is one of the principle promulgators of false information about depleted uranium, so tell me, what was yours inspired by?

Roger

Andrew K said...

What do you think of all the photos of dreafully defomed babies, exactly paralleling experiences of nuclear contamination elsewhere and reports of massive increases of cancer in the regions, Roger? And why is it of such interest to use uranium in this manner? In whose interests is it, after all the reports of Gulf War sickness, for example, to continue to use weapons with depleted uranium? And what did you think of the post on the My Lai massacres, and what the reactions to those atrocities say about the relevant ruling elites, and the Amnesty International piece quoted. And given the clearly sick nature of the authorities, why would any sane person trust their word about depleted uranium in the current wave of violent imperialism?

Wayne said...

RAND, 1999. "No evidence is documented in the literature of cancer or any other negative health effect related to the radiation received from exposure to natural uranium, whether inhaled or ingested, even at very high doses."

Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in 1999 Toxicological Profile for Uranium. "No human cancer of any type has ever been seen as a result of exposure to natural or depleted uranium."

United Kingdom Royal Society in May 2001. "Even if the estimates of risk are one hundred times too low, it is unlikely that any excess of fatal cancer would be detected within a group of 10,000 soldiers followed over 50 years."

European Commission March, 2001 report. "Taking into account the pathways and realistic scenarios of human exposure, radiological exposure to depleted uranium could not cause a detectable effect on human health (e.g. cancer)."

World Health Organization April, 2001 report. "The radiological hazard is likely to be very small. No increase of leukemia or other cancers has been established following exposure to uranium or DU."

European Parliament April, 2001 report. "The fact that there is no evidence of an association between exposures – sometimes high and lasting since the beginning of the uranium industry – and health damages such as bone cancer, lymphatic or other forms of leukemia shows that these diseases as a consequence of an uranium exposure are either not present or very exceptional."

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight ...

We dropped 2,840 TONS OF NUCLEAR WASTE on a relatively concentrated areas of Iraq in 2 Wars and it's not going to affect the people or environment

Are you really THAT stupid or just hoping we are?

2,840 TONS ... 5.68 MILLION POUNDS

That's the equivelent yearly nuke waste from 114 1000 MW generators and it's so 'depleted' they have to sumerge it in water for several years to cool it off (But only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of it's Half Life)

Wayne said...

Anon, you fail to understand the difference between waste from nuclear power plants and DU munitions, and you grossly exaggerate the amount of DU that was used in Iraq.

Soldiers don't run around with "nuclear waste" in their tanks' magazines. They don't ride in tanks with "nuclear waste" as armor on those vehicles. There's no comparing the two.

The real figure for DU used by the U.S. is approx. 500 tons for both GW1 and GW2. 300 in GW1 and 200 in GW2. The U.K. used a small amount in addition.

But of that, only a small percentage (~10-15%) hit its hard target and was transformed into small particles. And of that, only a fraction again is of the characteristic that is retained by the body for any significant length of time.

So we're talking somewhere in the range of 10-40 tons, not 2840 tons. And the vast majority of that was used in isolated desert areas, away from populations. It's not like it was some kind of uniform dusting of the entire country.

"It's like confusing a dime for a dollar. That's the difference between the amount of depleted uranium in weapons the US is known to have used in Iraq since the invasion of March, 2003 -- bad enough at almost 200 tons -- and 2,000 tons, a grossly exaggerated estimate accepted as fact by some writers, and now also by Project Censored."

Anonymous said...

thank you