Wednesday, September 15, 2004

DU: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weapons of Self Destruction

Washington's secret nuclear war
By Shaheen Chughtai
Tuesday 14 September 2004, 22:17 Makka Time, 19:17 GMT
Aljazeera

Illegal weapons of mass destruction have not only been found in Iraq but have been used against Iraqis and have even killed US troops.

But Washington and its allies have tried to cover up this outrage because the chief culprit is the US itself, argue American and other experts trying to expose what they say is a war crime.

The WMD in question is depleted uranium (DU). A radioactive by-product of uranium enrichment, DU is used to coat ammunition such as tank shells and "bunker busting" missiles because its density makes it ideal for piercing armour.

Thousands of DU shells and bombs have been used in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and - both during the 1990-91 Gulf war and the ongoing conflict - in Iraq.

"They're using it now, they're using it in Falluja, Baghdad is chock-a-block with DU - it's all over the place," says Major Doug Rokke, director of the US army's DU project in 1994-95.

Scientists say even a tiny particle can have disastrous results once ingested, including various cancers and degenerative diseases, paralysis, birth deformities and death.

And as tiny DU particles are blown across the Middle East and beyond like a radioactive poison gas, the long-term implications for the world - DU has a shelf-life of 4.5 billion years - are deeply disturbing.

Sick soldiers

Only 467 US soldiers were officially wounded during the 1990-91 Gulf war.
But according to Terry Jemison at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), of the more than 592,560 discharged personnel who served there, at least 179,310 - one third - are receiving disability compensation and over 24,760 cases were pending by in September 2004.


This does not include personnel still active and receiving care from the military, or those who have died.

And among 168,528 veterans of the current conflict in Iraq who have left active duty, 16% (27,571) had already sought treatment from the VA by July 2004.

"That's astronomical," says Rokke, whose team studied how to provide medical care for victims, how to clean contaminated sites, and how to train those using DU weapons.

Rokke admits the exact cause for these casualties cannot be confirmed. But he insists the evidence pointing to DU is compelling.

"There were no chemical or biological weapons there, no big oil well fires," he says. "So what's left?"

Cradle to grave

Dr Jenan Ali, a senior Iraqi doctor at Basra hospital's College of Medicine, says her studies show a 100% rise in child leukaemia in the region in the decade after the first Gulf war, with a 242% increase in all types of malignancies.

The director of the Afghan DU and Recovery Fund, Dr Daud Miraki, says his field researchers found evidence of DU's effect on civilians in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan in 2003 although local conditions make rigorous statistical analysis difficult.

"Many children are born with no eyes, no limbs, or tumours protruding from their mouths and eyes," Miraki told Aljazeera.net. Some newborns are barely recognisable as human, he says. Many do not survive.

Afghan and Iraqi children continue to play amid radioactive debris. But the US army will not even label contaminated equipment or sites because doing so would be an admission that DU is hazardous.

Full Story

DU Weapons: 40% of 2003 troop unit developing cancer

Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets
A death sentence here and abroad
by Leuren Moret

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.

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