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.