Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets
A death sentence here and abroad
Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” – Henry Kissinger, quoted in “Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW’s in Vietnam”Vietnam was a chemical war for oil, permanently contaminating large regions and countries downriver with Agent Orange, and environmentally the most devastating war in world history. But since 1991, the U.S. has staged four nuclear wars using depleted uranium weaponry, which, like Agent Orange, meets the U.S. government definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Vast regions in the Middle East and Central Asia have been permanently contaminated with radiation.
And what about our soldiers? Terry Jemison of the Department of Veterans Affairs reported this week to the American Free Press that “Gulf-era veterans” now on medical disability since 1991 number 518,739, with only 7,035 reported wounded in Iraq in that same 14-year period.
This week the American Free Press dropped a “dirty bomb” on the Pentagon by reporting that eight out of 20 men who served in one unit in the 2003 U.S. military offensive in Iraq now have malignancies. That means that 40 percent of the soldiers in that unit have developed malignancies in just 16 months.
Since these soldiers were exposed to vaccines and depleted uranium (DU) only, this is strong evidence for researchers and scientists working on this issue, that DU is the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Vaccines are not known to cause cancer. One of the first published researchers on Gulf War Syndrome, who also served in 1991 in Iraq, Dr. Andras Korényi-Both, is in agreement with Barbara Goodno from the Department of Defense’s Deployment Health Support Directorate, that in this war soldiers were not exposed to chemicals, pesticides, bioagents or other suspect causes this time to confuse the issue.
This powerful new evidence is blowing holes in the cover-up perpetrated by the Pentagon and three presidential administrations ever since DU was first used in 1991 in the Persian Gulf War. Fourteen years after the introduction of DU on the battlefield in 1991, the long-term effects have revealed that DU is a death sentence and very nasty stuff.
Scientists studying the biological effects of uranium in the 1960s reported that it targets the DNA. Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist retired from the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and formerly involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in soldiers from the 2003 war as “spectacular … and a matter of concern.”
This evidence shows that of the three effects which DU has on biological systems – radiation, chemical and particulate – the particulate effect from nano-size particles is the most dominant one immediately after exposure and targets the Master Code in the DNA. This is bad news, but it explains why DU causes a myriad of diseases which are difficult to define.
In simple words, DU “trashes the body.” When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Fulk was more specific: “I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”
Soldiers developing malignancies so quickly since 2003 can be expected to develop multiple cancers from independent causes. This phenomenon has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the U.S. military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991. Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.
Just 467 U.S. personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served now have medical problems.
The number of disabled vets reported up to 2000 has been increasing by 43,000 every year. Brad Flohr of the Department of Veterans Affairs told American Free Press that he believes there are more disabled vets now than even after World War II.They brought it home
Not only were soldiers exposed to DU on and off the battlefields, but they brought it home. DU in the semen of soldiers internally contaminated their wives, partners and girlfriends. Tragically, some women in their 20s and 30s who were sexual partners of exposed soldiers developed endometriosis and were forced to have hysterectomies because of health problems.
In a group of 251 soldiers from a study group in Mississippi who had all had normal babies before the Gulf War, 67 percent of their post-war babies were born with severe birth defects. They were born with missing legs, arms, organs or eyes or had immune system and blood diseases. In some veterans’ families now, the only normal or healthy members of the family are the children born before the war.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that they do not keep records of birth defects occurring in families of veterans. How did they hide it?
Before a new weapons system can be used, it must be fully tested. The blueprint for depleted uranium weapons is a 1943 declassified document from the Manhattan Project.
Harvard President and physicist James B. Conant, who developed poison gas in World War I, was brought into the Manhattan Project by the father of presidential candidate John Kerry. Kerry’s father served at a high level in the Manhattan Project and was a CIA agent.
Conant was chair of the S-1 Poison Gas Committee, which recommended developing poison gas weapons from the radioactive trash of the atomic bomb project in World War II. At that time, it was known that radioactive materials dispersed in bombs from the air, from land vehicles or on the battlefield produced very fine radioactive dust which would penetrate all protective clothing, any gas mask or filter or the skin. By contaminating the lungs and blood, it could kill or cause illness very quickly.
They also recommended it as a permanent terrain contaminant, which could be used to destroy populations by contaminating water supplies and agricultural land with the radioactive dust.
The first DU weapons system was developed for the Navy in 1968, and DU weapons were given to and used by Israel in 1973 under U.S. supervision in the Yom Kippur war against the Arabs.
The Phalanx weapons system, using DU, was tested on the USS Bigelow out of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in 1977, and DU weapons have been sold by the U.S. to 29 countries.
Military research report summaries detail the testing of DU from 1974-1999 at military testing grounds, bombing and gunnery ranges and at civilian labs under contract. Today 42 states are contaminated with DU from manufacture, testing and deployment.
Women living around these facilities have reported increases in endometriosis, birth defects in babies, leukemia in children and cancers and other diseases in adults. Thousands of tons of DU weapons tested for decades by the Navy on four bombing and gunnery ranges around Fallon, Nevada, is no doubt the cause of the fastest growing leukemia cluster in the U.S. over the past decade. The military denies that DU is the cause.
The medical profession has been active in the cover-up – just as they were in hiding the effects from the American public – of low level radiation from atmospheric testing and nuclear power plants. A medical doctor in Northern California reported being trained by the Pentagon with other doctors, months before the 2003 war started, to diagnose and treat soldiers returning from the 2003 war for mental problems only.
Medical professionals in hospitals and facilities treating returning soldiers were threatened with $10,000 fines if they talked about the soldiers or their medical problems. They were also threatened with jail.
Reporters have also been prevented access to more than 14,000 medically evacuated soldiers flown nightly since the 2003 war in C-150s from Germany who are brought to Walter Reed Hospital near Washington, D.C.
Dr. Robert Gould, former president of the Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), has contacted three medical doctors since February 2004, after I had been invited to speak about DU. Dr. Katharine Thomasson, president of the Oregon chapter of the PSR, informed me that Dr. Gould had contacted her and tried to convince her to cancel her invitation for me to speak about DU at Portland State University on April 12. Although I was able to do a presentation, Dr. Thomasson told me I could only talk about DU in Oregon “and nothing overseas … nothing political.”
Dr. Gould also contacted and discouraged Dr. Ross Wilcox in Toronto, Canada, from inviting me to speak to Physicians for Global Survival (PGS), the Canadian equivalent of PSR, several months later. When that didn’t work, he contacted Dr. Allan Connoly, the Canadian national president of PGS, who was able to cancel my invitation and nearly succeeded in preventing Dr. Wilcox, his own member, from showing photos and presenting details on civilians suffering from DU exposure and cancer provided to him by doctors in southern Iraq.
Dr. Janette Sherman, a former and long-standing member of PSR, reported that she finally quit some time after being invited to lunch by a new PSR executive administrator. After the woman had pumped Dr. Sherman for information all through lunch about her position on key issues, the woman informed Dr. Sherman that her last job had been with the CIA.
How was the truth about DU hidden from military personnel serving in successive DU wars? Before his tragic death, Sen. Paul Wellstone informed Joyce Riley, R.N., B.S.N., executive director of the American Gulf War Veterans Association, that 95 percent of Gulf War veterans had been recycled out of the military by 1995. Any of those continuing in military service were isolated from each other, preventing critical information being transferred to new troops. The “next DU war” had already been planned, and those planning it wanted “no skunk at the garden party.”The US has a dirty (DU) little (CIA) secret
A new book just published at the American Free Press by Michael Collins Piper, “The High Priests of War: The Secret History of How America’s Neo-Conservative Trotskyites Came to Power and Orchestrated the War Against Iraq as the First Step in Their Drive for Global Empire,” details the early plans for a war against the Arab world by Henry Kissinger and the neo-cons in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That just happens to coincide with getting the DU “show on the road” and the oil crisis in the Middle East, which caused concern not only to President Nixon. The British had been plotting and scheming for control of the oil in Iraq for decades since first using poison gas on the Iraqis and Kurds in 1912.
The book details the creation of the neo-cons by their “godfather” and Trotsky lover Irving Kristol, who pushed for a “war against terrorism” long before 9/11 and was lavishly funded for years by the CIA. His son, William Kristol, is one of the most influential men in the United States.
Both are public relations men for the Israeli lobby’s neo-conservative network, with strong ties to Rupert Murdoch. Kissinger also has ties to this network and the Carlyle Group, who, one could say, have facilitated these omnicidal wars beginning from the time former President Bush took office. It would be easy to say that we are recycling World Wars I and II, with the same faces.
When I asked Vietnam Special Ops Green Beret Capt. John McCarthy, who could have devised this omnicidal plan to use DU to destroy the genetic code and genetic future of large populations of Arabs and Moslems in the Middle East and Central Asia – just coincidentally the areas where most of the world’s oil deposits are located – he replied: “It has all the handprints of Henry Kissinger.”
In Zbignew Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives,” the map of the Eurasian chessboard includes four regions strategic to U.S. foreign policy. The “South” region corresponds precisely to the regions now contaminated permanently with radiation from U.S. bombs, missiles and bullets made with thousands of tons of DU.
A Japanese professor, Dr. K. Yagasaki, has calculated that 800 tons of DU is the atomicity equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki bombs. The U.S. has used more DU since 1991 than the atomicity equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki bombs. Four nuclear wars indeed, and 10 times the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from atmospheric testing!
No wonder our soldiers, their families and the people of the Middle East, Yugoslavia and Central Asia are sick. But as Henry Kissinger said after Vietnam when our soldiers came home ill from Agent Orange, “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used for foreign policy.”
Unfortunately, more and more of those soldiers are men and women with brown skin. And unfortunately, the DU radioactive dust will be carried around the world and deposited in our environments just as the “smog of war” from the 1991 Gulf War was found in deposits in South America, the Himalayas and Hawaii.
In June 2003, the World Health Organization announced in a press release that global cancer rates will increase 50 percent by 2020. What else do they know that they aren’t telling us? I know that depleted uranium is a death sentence … for all of us. We will all die in silent ways.
Sources used in this story that readers are encouraged to consult:
American Free Press four-part series on DU by
Part I: “Depleted Uranium: U.S. Commits War Crime
Depleted Uranium Definitively
Pentagon Hides DU Dangers to Deny Medical Care to
Weapons: Poisonous Uranium Munitions Threaten World”,
August 2004 World Affairs Journal. Leuren Moret:
August 2004 Coastal Post Online. Carol Sterrit: “Marin
World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference, Hamburg, Germany, October 16-19, 2004:
International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan.
by Akira Tashiro, foreword by Leuren Moret,
Radiation causes cancer and heart problems as many of us know. What Happened In Iraq. How it affected children.
International Petition to Ban Uranium Weapons
Uranium weapons, often called ‘depleted’ uranium (DU) weapons, are manufactured from radioactive waste materials produced during the nuclear fuel chain and the production of nuclear weapons. They cause widespread and long lasting radioactive contamination of the environment. These weapon systems are radiologically and chemically toxic.
Many people – innocent civilians especially children, military veterans, industry workers – have illnesses and medical problems, which may be due to their exposure to ‘depleted’ uranium. In areas such as southern Iraq, where uranium munitions were used by the US and the UK, there have been reports of increases in cancers, leukemia and birth defects.
At least 18 countries possess these weapons, the use of which is contrary to existing humanitarian law.
We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!
The Fourth International Day of Action: 4th – 6th November 2005
November 6th has been set by theUN as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. ICBUW is therefore asking all groups and individuals to organise actions to ban uranium weapons. Just having a small-scale study meeting or doing a one-person petition on the street will contribute a lot to gathering momentum for the international campaign. So please join us!
There are planned events in Glasgow, Manchester and London, if you’d like to organise something in your own area, or join in with one of the three events mentioned already, please get in touch.
CADU have a wide range of campaign resouces available – posters, leaflets and information packs, contact us for bulk purchases on the cheap..
You really have to watch these. Radiation impairs your intelligence. Among other things. Connecting the Dots is a wealth of information.
6 video series on Du, Nuclear, and Gulf War Syndrome.
The Planet cannot sustain this type of pollution any longer. They go on for an eternity that cigarettes cause cancer. Well Radiation causes a whole lot more. The wind blows and it goes. There is a cancer epidemic on the planet and this is the major cause along with pesticides and other assorted things. But this is truly one of the worst. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it and it is around you every day because it doesn’t go away.
US DU AND Experiments on the American people Gulf War Illness
DEPLETED URANIUM ALERT! Invisible War,
This is also a six part series but one seems to be missing.
POISON DUST tells the story of young soldiers who thought they came home safely from the war, but didn’t. Of a veteran’s young daughter … all » whose birth defect is strikingly similar to birth defects suffered by many Iraqi children. Of thousands of young vets who are suffering from the symptoms of uranium poisoning, and the thousands more who are likely to find themselves with these ailments in the years to come. Of a government unwilling to admit there might be a problem here. Filmmaker Sue Harris skillfully weaves the stories of these young veterans with scientific explanations of the nature of “DU” and its dangers, including interviews with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, New York Daily News reporter Juan Gonzalez, noted physicist Michio Kaku, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Dr. Helen Caldicott and Major Doug Rokke- the former U.S. Army DU Project head.
Every American who cares about our troops should watch this film. Everyone who cares about the innocent civilians who live in the countries where these weapons are used should watch this film. And everyone who cares about the hatred of Americans that may result from the effects of our government’s actions in using these weapons, should watch this film. Is there a cover-up?
They also use their military bases around the world for testing their weapons. This video shows a few of their testing grounds I have to wonder out of the over 737 how many more are used for such tests. They are contaminating the world with Radiation. I think it’s time the people of the world all stood up and said no more DU or any other radioactive materials. The US has created more illness around the world then you could ever imagine.
Video Depleted Uranium used in Afganistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia!
Which means our soldiers will come home sick or get sick and many will die. AGAIN
DU Contaminates Europe
This is about how Radiation DU can travel and how it did to the UK because of the War in Iraq. A rather interesting read. Seems the wind blows and it goes. Like one needs to be a rocket scientists to figure that one out. It also travels anywhere else the wind blows. Seems a lot of Europe is now contaminated. I am guessing Bush knew this but like everything else Lied. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out either.
This is an animation of a Bunker Buster. It also give an idea of how radiation is easily spread. At this point have apparently been scraped.
Recent reports suggest that the Bush administration is considering
using nuclear weapons against Iran. The very fact that nuclear weapon
use is being discussed as an option—against a state that does not have
nuclear weapons and does not represent a direct or imminent threat to
the United States—illustrates the extent to which the Bush
administration has changed U.S. nuclear weapons policy.
“The Bush administration has explicitly rejected the basic precept
that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons should be to deter the
use of nuclear weapons. It has assigned a new, and provocative, mission
to U.S. nuclear weapons: to dissuade or prevent other countries from
undertaking military programs that could threaten U.S. interests in the
future. A ‘preventive’ nuclear attack on Iran would fall into this
category. It has also blurred the line between nuclear and conventional
weapons by declaring that nuclear weapons can be used as part of
“This nuclear policy increases the likelihood that nuclear weapons
will be used, and ultimately decreases U.S. as well as international
security. Instead, the United States should commit itself to strengthen
the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons that has developed over
the past 60 years.
“Plans to use nuclear weapons against Iran also fail to recognize
the immediate dangers inherent in the use of nuclear weapons. The
administration is reportedly considering using the B61-11 nuclear
‘bunker buster’ against an underground facility near Natanz, Iran. The
use of such a weapon would create massive clouds of radioactive fallout
that could spread far from the site of the attack, including to other
nations. Even if used in remote, lightly populated areas, the number of
casualties could range up to more than a hundred thousand, depending on
the weapon yield and weather conditions.
“Threatening to use nuclear weapons against Iran provides the
strongest of incentives for nuclear proliferation, since it would send
the message that the only way for a country to deter nuclear attack is
to acquire its own nuclear arsenal. The administration cannot have its
cake and eat it, too—it cannot have a viable nuclear non-proliferation
policy while continually expanding the roles for its own nuclear
I really didn’t want to look at this page again, but here’s what I’m talking about.
[Warning: heartbreakingly, mindnumbingly, soulscreamingly graphic photos!]
THAT is why DU *IS* considered a WMD, illegal under international law – a full-blown Crime Against Humanity!
In Russia I believe it was after bomb testing near a town these same things happened. I remember a documentary I watched on it. The doctors documented all the cases. Right down to children being born with no eyes. There were tons of cases of deformities. Also mentally challenged children being born. Life expectancy was extremely short as well. Cancer rates etc were over whelming. Those pictures reminded me of that Documentary. Exactly the same thing.
Triggering of Landslides, Tsunamis and Earthquakes
At least one major test-related landslide and consequent Tsunami in Moruroa, on July 25, 1979. Apparently, the 120kiloton weapon, which was supposed to be lowered into a shaft of 800 meters, got stuck at a depth of 400 meters and could not be dislodged. The French authorities decided to explode the device anyway. This explosion resulted in a major underwater landslide of at least one million cubic meters of coral and rock and created a cavity, probably 140 meters in diameter. The underwater landslide produced a major tidal wave comparable to a tsunami, which spread through the Tuamotu Archipelago and injured
“Hiroshima, 70 Times Over. ”
hey folks, this is, uh, intelligent??
“Hiroshima, 70 Times Over. That is what ONE
so-called “Bunker Buster” bomb would unleash.
Calling this a “Bunker Buster” is like calling the bomb
used on Hiroshima” a few fireworks. ” The US Government decided not to use them right after the recent Earth Quake in Pakistan, Afganistan and India.
Deadlier than Vietnam?
ArmyIn Vietnam, between 1964 and 1975, 47,410 Americans died in combat,
while another 10,788 died from other causes, a total of 58,198.1 During
Operation Desert Storm, the reported combat deaths were 148, with another
235 dying from other causes.2
Veterans’ advocates say statistics from Desert Storm should be much higher,
however, reflecting the impact of Gulf War Illness.
Former U.S. Air Force Captain Joyce Riley, for example, expects that in the
next 10 years – or 22 years after the conflict – deaths among the veterans
deployed to the Persian Gulf will rise to between 80,000 and 100,000.
49,783 – 69,783 Deaths* Gulf War (1990-1991)
47,410 Battle Deaths Vietnam War (1964-1975)
385 Battle Deaths Spanish-American War (1898-1902)
1,733 Battle Deaths Mexican War (1846-1848)
2,260 Battle Deaths War of 1812 (1812-1815)
4,435 Battle Deaths American Revolution (1775-1783)
* Projected range of Gulf War veterans’ deaths attributable to Gulf War
Illness by 2013, if present trends continue.
Source for battle deaths: “America’s Wars Fact Sheet,” Department of
Veterans Affairs, May 2001.The Atrocities of DU Upon the Unborn and Newborn – Exposure Wednesday, 5:09 PM
These are some of the atrocities that are caused by the DU weapons used in the Middle East since the first Gulf War. The effects of DU are taking their tolls on civilians, as well as U.S. servicemen and their new born children.
The Great Depleted Uranium Cover-Up
While the use of DU in the 1991 Gulf War was not denied, it is striking that amid all the post-war hype over the success of expensive, high tech weaponry, DU weapons received surprisingly little public praise from Pentagon and US defence industry officials, in the wake of the war.
The US and other NATO governments have always refused to admit to any serious health risks from DU, or to acknowledge the so-called Gulf War Syndrome illnesses suffered by their former soldiers (let alone the “enemy” victims), and the US has consistently refused to even test its Gulf vets.
However, it is abundantly clear that the US authorities have always been aware of DU’s lethal properties, and their silence and refusal to countenance any ill effects from DU, is motivated by a desire to keep on using it, as well as the fear of a flood of compensation claims from their own soldiers (let alone reparations from their victims). The parallels with Agent Orange in Vietnam are all too clear, but the stakes are far higher this time.
As early as October 30th 1943, senior scientists from the Manhattan Project (the American WW2 drive to develop the atomic bomb) sent a letter to their director, General Leslie Groves, actually discussing the use of DU as a terrain contaminant, a gas warfare instrument for inhalation and ingestion (“gas” probably refers to the aerosol clouds), and a contaminator of the environment. They predicted (with, as we can now see, great accuracy) that uranium inhalation would lead to:
bronchial irritation coming on in a few hours to a few days … Beta emitting products could get into the gastrointestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. From the air, they would get on the mucus of the nose, throat bronchi, etc and be swallowed.
This proposed usage of DU was not pursued, because its effects were deemed too drastic and longlasting, for the sensibilities of the wartime Allied leaders.
Sources: Dr Doug Rokke and Dr Helen Caldicott
In the late 1950s, the Tennesse senator Al Gore Senior (father of the failed 2000 US presidential candidate), proposed dousing the demilitarized zone in Korea with uranium as a cheap safeguard against an attack from the North Koreans.
The Pentagon Memos
Given all the evidence that they were always aware of the dangers, it may seem surprising that no action has so far been taken by any western government to halt the use of DU munitions, or properly investigate its impact on civilians and soldiers.
The reason why they are so protective of their silver bullet is probably encapsulated in the now infamous March 1991 memo from Lt. Colonel Ziehmn of Los Alamos National Laboratory (one of the Pentagon’s main nuclear research centres), stating:
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 be deleted from the arsenal.
If DU penetrators proved their worth during our recent combat activities, then we should assure their future existence (until something better is developed) through Service/DoD proponency.
<!– The memo ends:
I believe we should keep this sensitive issue at mind, when, after action, reports are written. –>Source: Canada’s CBC TV – image of original memo
Translation: DU is militarily useful, so don’t make a fuss about the dangers
At about the same time, Greg Lyle at the US Defence Nuclear Agency sent this memo to Dr Doug Rokke (head of the US cleanup team in the Gulf), indicating their awareness of the dangers:
Alpha particles (uranium oxide dust) from expended rounds is a health concern but, Beta particles from fragments and intact rounds is a serious health threat, with possible exposure rates of 200 millirads per hour on contact.
Source: Canada’s CBC TV – feature on DU
NB: Levels of 200 millirads/hour and more were subsequently measured in the Gulf War battlefields, thus exceeding in 30 mins, the recommended US annual radiation dose of 100 millirads.
An eerily prescient July 1990 US Army report (ie. the month before Saddam invaded Kuwait), called Kinetic Energy Penetrator Environmental and Health Considerations, had already predicted that large amounts of DU oxides could be inhaled, with “potential radiological and toxicological effects”, and had warned that public knowledge of the dangers of DU could lead to pressure to ban it. The report also acknowledged that:
Assuming US regulatory standards and health physics practices are followed, it is likely that some form of remedial action will be required in a DU post-combat environment.
However, after the scale and cost of cleaning up the DU residue in the post-war Persian Gulf region became clear, the US Army Environmental Policy Institute informed American policymakers in a June 1995 report (Health and Consequences of Depleted Uranium use in the US army), that:
no international law, treaty, regulation, or custom requires the United States to remediate the Persian Gulf War battlefields.
Source: Fahey report, Depleted Uranium Weapons – Lessons from the 1991 Gulf War (Lesson 5)
Despite their denials, the Pentagon obviously knew well that DU was dangerous. The June 1995 US Army report referred to above, also stated that:
Depleted uranium is a low-level radioactive waste and, therefore, must be be desposed of in a licensed repository.
As the journalist Felicity Arbuthnot remarked, the report does not advise disposing of it on a school, hospital, TV station or Chinese embassy.
The UKAEA Warning
Back in the UK, Mr Bartholomew, Business Development Manager at UKAEA, sent a classified paper to the Royal Ordnance on 30 April 1991 (ie. 2 months after Gulf War), warning of a health and environmental catastrophe in Iraq and Kuwait. The UKAEA had calculated that if 50 tonnes of DU dust were inhaled, half a million deaths from cancer would potentially result within 10 years, and his covering letter added:
The whole subject of the contamination of Kuwait is emotive and thus must be dealt with in a sensitive manner. It is necessary to inform the Kuwait government of the problem in a useful way.
This memo’s existence was disclosed on 2nd March 1998, by UK Armed Forces Minister Lord Gilbert, in response to information tabled in the House of Lords, but was then downplayed by both the British government and media.
In fact, Gilbert’s reply that day shows a breathtaking level of ignorance (or more likely, dishonesty) of the facts about DU. Furthermore, the UKAEA paper itself relied on the ICRP’s radiation guidelines, which anti-radiation campaigners such as the LLRC bitterly dispute.
Source: Lords Hansard, 02 March 1998 (includes UKAEA paper and Bartholomew’s covering letter)
Also reported by Felicity Arbuthnot, in the Sunday Herald, 14 January 2001
The Cleanup Team – Dying To Decontaminate The Battlefield
During the Gulf War, the physicist Dr Doug Rokke was recalled to active duty 20 years after serving in Vietnam, and he served with the US Army Preventive Medicine Command, helping to prepare for nuclear/chemical/biological exposures.
After the war, he led the Theatre Depleted Uranium Assessment Team (a handful of officers and civilians), cleaning up contaminated American vehicles that had been hit by DU rounds, and in 1994 he was recalled again, as Director of the army’s Depleted Uranium Project.
In accordance with his directives, Dr Rokke compiled training manuals and videos for assessing, containing and cleaning up DU munitions, and caring for contaminated casualties. His team also made several explicit recommendations: the immediate clean-up of all affected sites, medical screening for anyone possibly exposed to DU, strict use of protective and detection equipment, and prevention of recycling of any materials possibly contaminated.
However, the US military declined to disseminate these instructional materials amongst the US and Allied forces, or to the civilian medical personnel treating affected populations. Nor did the US military comply with any of his recommendations. Rokke asserts that this is motivated by financial concerns, and fears of massive settlements and war reparations.
Dr Rokke now calls for a permanent ban on DU (including on the recycling of it for use in civilian products) and for the US to shoulder the cleanup and medical costs of using DU in Iraq.
At the time of their cleanup operation in the Gulf, Rokke and his team were not equipped with protective gear, or given training about what to expect. They only wore surgical masks rather than gas masks (which might have kept out the DU particles, but then again, they had never been advised to wear them), due to the desert heat.
They measured radioactive emissions inside destroyed vehicles at 2.6 to 10 mSv/hour. The maximum permissible radiation dose to members of the public is 1 mSv per year, so Iraqis (and the many US vets) who entered these vehicles received this in less than an hour.
Dr Rokke’s team also discovered that DU projectiles fragmented in the same way when fired at wooden targets, contradicting official claims that the uranium oxide dust would only result from impact with the most heavily armoured Iraqi tanks. The implications of this, are that there are much larger quantities of DU oxide floating around southern Iraq.
Within weeks of returning to the US, Rokke’s cleanup team began to fall ill. Over 20 of the 100-strong team died in the following 8 years (so said Dr Rokke at the November 1999 CASI conference, where he summarised his findings in the Gulf as “Oh my God !” – Rokke’s presentation is Session 6), and virtually all the rest are ill. Rokke himself suffers from several ailments, including short-term memory loss, breathing difficulties and vision problems.
He reports a catalogue of obstruction, interference, deception and the discarding/destruction of evidence, by US officials. He describes how one 1994 checkup revealed that he had 5,000 times the permissible level of uranium in his body, but he was not told for another two and a half years (thus preventing correlation of symptons with this known exposure – a common experience of sick Gulf War vets).
If Rokke’s experience in the Gulf demonstrates one thing, it is that the cleanup cost is incalculable – if indeed it’s still physically possible. His team took three months to clean up 24 tanks for transport back to the US. The army then took another three years to fully decontaminate them, in a purpose-built vacuum-sealed plant in South Carolina.
Dr Rokke addresses US Senate, 10 November 2000
Hansard, 15 December 1999 – Dr Rokke gives evidence to UK Parliament’s Select Committee on Defence
Disaster News Network interview with Dr Rokke, 28 December 2002 – updates the number of subsequent deaths on his 100-strong cleanup team to 30.
The January 2001 book, Depleted Uranium: The Invisible War by Martin Meissonnier, Federic Loore and Roger Trilling (published by Robert Laffont, France), was among the first to report that uranium at the US plants which process DU was contaminated with transuranics – highly radioactive elements including plutonium. The plants were meant to process natural uranium, but in the 1950s, without notifying the workers or surrounding communities, the US Department of Energy decided to reprocess spent fuel from military nuclear reactors.
In other words, the many hundreds of tonnes of DU fired in the Gulf and in the Balkans contained elements many thousands of times more dangerous than U238. It was in response to a 17th January 2001 question from Roger Trilling, that the Pentagon (in the the shape of spokesman, Kenneth Bacon) first acknowledged the plutonium contamination which independent scientists began to suspect in the early 1990s.
Lara Marlowe – Irish Times, 1st February 2001
On 20th January 2000, the US Energy Secretery revealed in a written response to Tara Thornton of the MTP that:
One would have to assume depleted uranium includes traces of plutonium.
Der Spiegel – 23rd January 2001
Traces of U236 (a highly radioactive man-made isotope of uranium), plutonium and other transuranics have since been found in American DU munitions. DU produced by other countries such as Russia and Pakistan may be even “dirtier” than the US stockpile. Indeed, depleted uranium should perhaps be better known as uranium-plus.
See The Fire This Time’s plutonium page, for more information on the plutonium contamination.
Disinformation and Sophistry in Collusion
In a brazen illustration of the power of the nuclear industry to evade inspection, the WHO is bound by a 1959 agreement with its fellow UN agency, the IAEA, which gives the unequivocally pro-nuclear IAEA a veto over any attempts by the WHO to research the effects of radiation.
As if to reinforce the point, the US Government, supported by some 40 countries including the UK, voted to cancel a WHO study into the effects of DU on civilians in Iraq in November 2001 – even if the WHO limited itself to the toxicological effects. However, the UN Sub-Committee on Minorities and Human Rights has charged three times that DU is a weapon of mass destruction.
Which is not to say there’s no official research going into the effects of DU. The Olin Corporation is the main US manufacturer of DU anti-tank rounds, and its foundation is generous in funding DU research – “research” which purports to show that DU has no harmful effects …
In December 1984, the FAA issued Advisory Circular 20-123 – Avoiding or Minimizing Encounters With Aircraft Equipped With Depleted Uranium Balance Weights During Accident Investigations.
It is still in effect, and states:
If particles are inhaled or digested, they can be chemically toxic and cause a significant and long-lasting irradiation of internal tissue.
It advises investigators to wear protective clothing at crash sites, and dispose of them afterwards as radioactive waste.
Source: From The Wilderness – November 2001
So the FAA didn’t and doesn’t think DU is safe either !
Bill Mesler writes in the The Nation, 13 May 1997, about how the Pentagon covered up the test-firing of DU in its bases on allied territory.
Pentagon Poison: The Great Radioactive Ammo Cover-Up
But why would they want to conceal such a perfectly harmless activity ?
In 1997 the Pentagon established OSAGWI, and after 5 years it had spent nearly $150 million without ever publishing one medical research report or offering a single treatment program for ill Gulf War veterans.
In fact, as of 1998, only 24 GWS victims had ever been examined for uranium in their lungs – and that was prior to OSAGWI’s establishment. Using old insensitive equipment, Dr Belton Burroughs and Dr David Slingerland of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Boston, were able to identify 14 of the 24 as having measurable amounts of DU in their lungs.
Their testing was then ordered to stop, and all their records were subsequently “lost”. Some urine samples were sent to the US Army Radiochemistry Laboratory in Maryland, for testing. Some of them never reached the laboratory, and the results of those that did were supposedly “lost”. After Dr Asaf Durakovic, an internationally recognized expert in internal radioactive contamination, testified about this to the US Congress, he subsequently lost his job with the VA (a Pentagon agency) in 1997.
from Dr Bertell’s 7th May 1998 address at University of Toronto
As concern over GWS and the disaster in Iraq began to grow, an OSAGWI-funded RAND report, A Review of the Scientific Literature as it Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses, Volume 7: Depleted Uranium, was issued in April 1999 and (in contradiction of all the prior official reports and memos I’ve already quoted) repeated officialdom’s public denials that DU was harmful. It also employed a recurring trick, by obfuscating the meaning of the term “natural” uranium, eg. at one point they state that DU is less radioactive than natural uranium (which can only be true if by “natural”, they mean the post-mining but pre-enrichment metal), and then they go on to state that the natural level of uranium concentrations in our water have never done us any harm (but this type of “natural” uranium is millions of times more diffuse than the refined metal – in fact, uranium does not even exist as a solid metal in nature).
Dan Fahey (Gulf War vet who served as a naval officer, and is now an anti-DU and veterans-rights activist with the NGWRC, MTP and Swords to Plowshares) responded with a series of four reports: Dod Analysis I in April 1999, Dod Analysis II: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in June 1999, A Fear of Falling in August 1999 and Don’t Look, Don’t Find in March 2000.
Fahey attacked the RAND report as biased and incomplete, charging that it made no reference to over 100 relevant information sources, and ignored known studies which demonstrated a clear relationship between DU and harm to human health – for example, those carried out by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute. He demonstrated that the RAND authors (one of whom was a member of OSAGWI staff) were clearly ignorant of much existing literature about DU hazards and previous experiments (literature which the RAND report claimed to have reviewed) and they had also based their conclusions on faulty DU exposure estimates provided by the Pentagon. Furthermore, significant information from OSAGWI interviews was also missing from the body of the RAND report.
In a broader critique of the Pentagon’s track record, he points out that not one of the US friendly-fire casualties hit by DU munitions was even tested till the DU Program was established in 1993, and then only a handful were monitored. Even when one of that handful later developed a tumour, the RAND report didn’t mention that, and in fact when VA doctors removed the tumour, they refused to release it to the patient, for independent testing.
In A Fear of Falling, Fahey damns the Pentagon thus:
US military leaders are trying to ensure the unrestricted future use and proliferation of depleted uranium weapons, while attempting to conceal their past failures to prevent DU exposures. Through public relations campaigns disguised as investigations, military leaders promote the illusion of the ‘clean’ war where no one dies, and no one gets sick.
In Don’t Look Don’t Find, Fahey brings up the issue of plutonium contamination, and refers to a 1963 study that showed plutonium levels in the DU stockpile to be hundreds of times above established limits. He concludes that the burden of proof is on the Pentagon, as to whether DU ammunition contained high levels, or merely trace amounts, of plutonium and other transuranics.
Some earlier DU papers by Dan Fahey include:
September 1996: Collateral Damage: How US Troops Were Exposed to Depleted Uranium During the Persian Gulf War
(link is an excerpt only – full report is in the IAC book, Depleted Uranium: Metal of Dishonour)
September 1998: Case Narrative – DU Exposures (3rd Edition)
UK Royal Society
In May 2001, the UK Royal Society – an establishment body, manned by a cosy self-congratulatory coterie of the great and good in waiting for their knighthoods – got in on the denial game, by publishing its own report on DU, Health Hazards of Depleted Uranium Munitions. This report was based on a review of existing literature, rather than any new investigations of their own, and contained the astounding claim that a soldier inside any vehicle struck by a DU penetrator – the most dangerous scenario – has only a slightly increased risk of lung cancer.
Their report was derided by the LLRC, which described their findings as “absolute nonsense” and “lying” and also criticised their methodology, for not taking into account the specific hazards of internal radiation sources.
The Laka Foundation’s June 2001 review gave the Royal Society credit for at least allowing Dr Chris Busby of the LLRC to address them, but was otherwise no kinder to their report.
Dr Malcolm Hooper, advisor to the British Gulf War vets, also criticised their report, on 14 June 2001.
In March 2002, the Royal Society produced a follow-up report on the health effects of DU, concentrating on the chemical and long-term environmental risks. It concluded that even for soldiers on the battlefield, exposure levels would be too low to have any adverse effect on any organ. Dr Chris Busby of the LLRC made a series of suggestions to the report’s draft copy all of which were ignored in the final copy, and which led him to conclude that:
There was no real intention to research the area except in ways that were guaranteed not to find anything.
Similarly Malcolm Hooper, Chief Medical advisor to the British Gulf War Veterans commented that:
This is an attempt to give a scientific imprimatur to the stance of the government, which is unacceptable.
See CADU and NRPB comments on the Royal Society’s work.
Canadian DU Researchers Pay The Price – The Case Of Sharma And Horan
In April 1999, Dr Hari Sharma, a nuclear chemist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, found DU traces in the urine of 14 British vets, out of a group of 30 who had send him their samples. Based on his findings, he predicted 1,500 to 10,500 extra cancers among the UK cohort of 53,000 vets.
Soon after, he was sent soil and urine samples by some Wolverhampton prison officers after a fire at a neighbouring DU factory (see Featherstone fire, on UK page), but was sacked from his 30-year university post before they arrived. The samples then went “missing”.
Patricia Horan, a geochemist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, later backed up Dr Sharma’s results for the British vets, using more sensitive equipment. She worked on DU from 1999, but was forced out of her job in July 2002 (and her assistant was dismissed on the same day), having already experienced break-ins and burglaries, and harrassment by her new boss. In August 2002, she co-published her findings with Dietz and Durakovic of the UMRC.
BBC, 27 August 1999
The references to the handling of GWS on the other pages of this site, provide many more examples of the official obstruction of any investigations.
Indeed, they often went beyond that, into intimidation and coercion. The 7th September 2001 Big Issue even reported that Dr Doug Rokke had been shot at, the journalist Felicity Arbuthnot rammed off the road on the A11 in Cambridgeshire by an unmarked car, and British vet Ray Bristow’s DU research stolen in a burglary.
However, I have been unable to find alternative corroboration of any of these stories, apart from Ray Bristow’s burglary (which was actually a raid by MoD police, and is documented in Arbuthnot’s September 1999 New Internationalist article, Poisoned Legacy). This undated Squall article gives a bit more detail, but appears to be based on the same source.
There are also reports of unknown authenticity, that Dr Guenther was seriously injured by a drive-by shooting in Germany.