Alex Constantine - October 25, 2010
By Roddy Newman
Anti-Fascist Encyclopedia Contributor
While there has been much debate about the wars in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan, the most important aspect of those conflicts - the clearly racist, religiously-motivated decision by the American and UK armed forces to use depleted and non-depleted uranium munitions with enough inhalable radioactive material to kill millions of people - is rarely mentioned in the major media, which ought to regard the nuclear wars that the American and UK armed forces have fought over the last 19 years as the biggest scandal of modern times. There is concrete scientific proof that those wars could kill more civilians than the Holocaust, as I will now explain.
The Ministry of Defence is clearly fully aware that depleted uranium, a component of nuclear waste, is dangerous to human health, as an August 13, 1999 BBC News article, "UN probes Balkan depleted uranium", revealed: "UK Ministry of Defence personnel in Kosovo have been warned to stay clear of areas affected by DU weapons if they are not wearing full radiological protective clothing."
The MoD will also, of course, be aware after over 60 years of research into nuclear radiation that radioactive uranium dust from DU munitions could give people who breathe it in cancer. You do not have to be a top nuclear scientist to know that inhaling uranium is carcinogenic, because it is common knowledge, but in case anyone has any doubts about what I have just said, I will point out that a December 14, 2003 article in "The Observer", "Army shells pose cancer risk in Iraq", reported:
"Dr. Chris Busby, who is a member of a government committee examining radiation risks [the Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters, which Busby sat on between 2001 and 2004], expressed concern. 'There is no question that inhaling this radioactive dust can increase the risk of lymphomas [cancers]', he said."
A second scientist who works for the UK Government says, "the Americans and the MoD" are both aware that just one particle of DU dust can devastate the immune system, and thus leave people unprotected against life threatening illnesses: "... Roger Coghill, an experimental biologist who [sits on a Department of Health committee, which examines the risks from mobile 'phone radiation, who runs a research centre in Wales, accused the Americans and the MoD of brushing the "biological truth" under the carpet. "One single particle of DU lodged in the lymph node can devastate the entire immune system"", to cite "Radiation tests for peacekeepers in Balkans exposed to depleted uranium", in the "Daily Telegraph," December 31, 2000.
Roger Coghill's "One single particle" statement is correct, because the US armed forces have known since 1943 that, "The amount [of radioactive material] necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. It has been estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person's body would be fatal. There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty."
The declassified ( in 1974), original October 30, 1943 American military Manhattan Project document that quotation is taken from is here:
The fact that one millionth of a gram of radioactive material could be fatal, and the fact that one single particle of DU can devastate the entire immune system, explains why residents of Fallujah, singled out for two special attacks by the Pentagon in 2004 - after four American military contractors were killed there by insurgents who dragged their burnt bodies through the streets before hanging them from a bridge - have had to put up with even bigger increases in cancer than the survivors of the 1945 American atomic bombing of Hiroshima:
"...The report says that the types of cancer are "similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionising radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout.' Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumours in adults. At Hiroshima survivors showed a 17-fold increase in leukaemia, but in Fallujah, Dr. [Chris] Busby [currently on the MoD's Oversight Committee on Depleted Uranium] says what is striking is not only the greater prevalence of cancer but the speed with which it was affecting people." - "Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah 'worse than Hiroshima'", "The Independent," July 24, 2010.
It is not just Fallujah where Iraqi civilians have had to put up with massively increased cancer, leukaemia and birth defect rates.
In her book, "Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush's America," (Allison and Busby, London, 2004), Molly Ivins, a former "New York Times journalist who has three times been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, pointed out:
"During Gulf War 1, US planes and tanks unloaded 320 tons of munitions made with DU on the people of Iraq. In exactly the areas most heavily hit, health problems have been especially severe. Nationwide in Iraq, the number of cancer cases in children has risen fivefold, and congenital defects and leukemia have tripled, according to Iraqi health officials." (pp.273-274)
When you find out how many people could be killed by the American and UK armed forces' nuclear wars of the last 19 years, you will wonder why the major media are not paying more attention to this greatest scandal of modern times. "It is estimated that 315 tons of DU dust was left in Iraq after the first Gulf War, and an official British report on the toxicity of battlefield DU indicated that just 40 tons of debris from DU munitions could give rise to over 500,000 deaths", to cite a quotation from page 155 of Michael Northcott's book "An Angel Directs the Storm: Apocalyptic Religion and American Empire" (IB Tauris, London, 2004)
If 40 tons of DU debris could kill over 500,000 people, presumably 315 tons of DU dust could kill several million people. An article in "The Guardian," April 17, 2003, "Scientists urge shell clean-up to protect civilians," "... up to 2,000 tonnes of DU have been used in the Gulf, a large part of it in cities like Baghdad, far more than in the Balkans. UNEP [the UN Environment Program] has offered to go to Iraq and check up on the quantities of DU still present and the danger it poses to civilians."
If 40 tons of DU could kill over 500,000 people, and if 315 tons of could kill several million people, could "up to 2,000 tonnes of DU" kill tens of millions of people in just "the Gulf"?
Michael Northcott's book pointed out (on page 166) that the nuclear wars of the last 19 years are also creating huge numbers of babies with birth defects, evidently the result of their parents' genes being damaged by nuclear radiation:
"Despite extensive documentation on the effects of DU on civilians and soldiers exposed to it, and on their unborn children, the United States and Britain again deployed them in the second Iraq War in 2003. In the state of Mississippi, one report indicated that 67 per cent of children of Gulf War veterans were born with deformities, including missing eyes, ears or fingers or with severe blood or respiratory disorders."
The July 24, 2010 "Independent" article also explained that people in Fallujah now have to put up with large numbers of babies being born with birth defects: "Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs.
Dr. Busby did a survey in Fallujah to find out about the health of its inhabitants.He says that while he cannot identify the type of armaments used by the Marines, "the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggests the use of uranium in some form."
If you have a strong stomach, and want to see photographs of the birth defects which the nuclear wars of the last 19 years have created, put the words "depleted uranium babies" into Google Images, and then wonder even more why the major media are not paying more attention to the biggest scandal of modern times, which will not just affect Iraq, the Balkans, and Afghanistan, as radioactive uranium dust can of course blow across national borders.
A July 30, 1999 BBC News article, "Depleted uranium threatens 'Balkan cancer epidemic'", reported: "In mid-June, scientists at Kozani in northern Greece were reporting that radiation levels were 25% above normal whenever the wind blew from the direction of Kosovo. And Bulgarian researchers reported finding levels eight times higher than usual within Bulgaria itself, and up to 30 times higher in Yugoslavia."
Another BBC News article, "Depleted uranium: The lingering poison" (June 7, 1999), revealed that DU dust is blowing across national borders:
""I [Ray Bristow, British medical theatre technician during the 1991 Gulf War] remained in Saudi Arabia throughout the war. I never once went into Iraq or Kuwait, where these munitions were used.
""But the tests showed, in layman's terms, that I have been exposed to over 100 times an individual's safe annual exposure to depleted uranium.""
Ray Bristow's exposure to very high levels of depleted uranium may be why he has gone from running marathons for charity before the 1991 Gulf War, to walking with a stick, and using a wheelchair to travel long distances. DU can cause a staggering range of illnesses, as Leuren Moret, who has worked at American nuclear weapons laboratories, including the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, pointed out in her article, "Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War" :
The fact that non-depleted uranium, which is 40% more radioactive than DU, has been used in Afghanistan, makes it even more likely that people who inhale uranium dust wherever it blows from that country, will be killed or made ill by it.
A May 22, 2003 BBC News article, "Afghans' uranium levels spark alert", explained:
"A small sample of Afghan civilians have shown 'astonishing' levels of uranium in their urine, an independent scientist [Professor Asaf Durakovic, who used to work as a US Army adviser] says.
"... he found no trace of the depleted uranium (DU) some scientists believe is implicated in Gulf War Syndrome [as ""astonishing" levels of uranium" did not get into Afghan civilians' blood by complete chance, it is thus obvious that NDU munitions have been used in Afghanistan].
"...Without exception, every person donating urine specimens [in Afghanistan] tested positive for uranium internal contamination.
"The results were astounding: the donors presented concentrations of toxic and radioactive uranium isotopes between 100 and 400 times greater than in the Gulf veterans tested in 1999.
"...A spokesman for the US Department of Defense told BBC News online the US had not used DU weapons there [in Afghanistan]."
This US Department of Defense denial that NDU munitions have been used in Afghanistan is not credible, because the Pentagon has lied again and again about DU.
For example, an already cited "Daily Telegraph" article, "Radiation tests for peacekeepers in Balkans exposed to depleted uranium", showed how the Pentagon lied about even using DU in Kosovo:
"Nato said last week that American aircraft fired 10,800 depleted uranium shells in Bosnia in 1994-95.
"...The Pentagon originally denied that uranium shells were used in Kosovo but in March Lord Robertson, the Secretary General of Nato, said that 31,000 shells containing depleted uranium had been used by American A10 ground attack aircraft in Kosovo."
Those aircraft had in fact contaminated 112 areas of Kosovo with DU, according to a March 14, 2001 article in "The Independent", "Water in Kosovo could be poisoned with depleted uranium, says UN". The dust produced when DU munitions impact and explode, can of course blow on to water.
Another example of Pentagon lying was exposed by the research of a former US Army adviser:
"Dr. [Professor Asaf] Durakovic said his research showed that in Afghanistan, coalition forces had also used DU in "bunker buster" bombs, which can penetrate tens of metres into the soil." ("Afghan 'health link' to uranium", BBC News, April 30, 2008)
Professor Durakovic's research was certainly not faulty, as a November 2005 German "Bundeswehr" ("Federal Defence Force") Centre for Communication military manual, "Zentrum fur Nachrichtenwesen der Bundeswehr: Leitfaden fur Bundeswehrkontingente in Afghanistan", Stand: 11/2005, which was passed to German campaigners, stated that American planes had used armour piercing incendiary munitions with a DU core in Afghanistan (pp.1-11). You can read about that manual here:
An American daily newspaper article, "Iraqi cancers, birth defects blamed on US depleted uranium", published in the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" on November 12, 2002, also exposed Pentagon lying:
"Infantry were identified as potentially receiving the highest exposures, and the expected health outcomes included cancers and kidney problems.
"...But today the Pentagon plays down the effects. Officials refer queries on DU munitions to the latest government report on the subject, last updated on Dec. 13, 2000, which said DU is "40 percent less radioactive than natural uranium.""
The above article includes a world map with most of the places where DU had been used up to 2002. I said "most", because it does not include the Ministry of Defence Dundrennan firing range at Kirkcudbright in Scotland, and does not include the Pentagon's test firing of DU munitions in Australia, for example, at Rockhampton in Queensland. A July 3, 2001 BBC News article, "Uranium shell tests halted", discussed the MoD's testing of DU munitions in Kirkcudbright, which has polluted the Solway Firth, as shells have been fired into it. The Australian documentary film "Blowin' in the Wind" (short clip on YouTube and Google Video) is about the Pentagon's testing of DU munitions in Australia.
Two BBC News articles have also proved that the Pentagon lies about the dangers of DU.
"Depleted uranium threatens 'Balkan cancer epidemic'" (July 30, 1999) pointed out, "Just six months before the Gulf War, the [US] Army released a report on DU predicting that large amounts of DU dust could be inhaled by soldiers and civilians during and after combat."
So the US Army knew 6 months before the 1991 Gulf War, that soldiers and civilians could inhale lethally large amounts of DU dust, but in the just cited November 2002 "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" article, the Pentagon was playing down the effects of DU on human health.
The second BBC News article, "US to use depleted uranium" (March 18, 2003), stated: "Colonel James Naughton of US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium (DU) shells had no medical basis. ... A 1995 report from the US Army Environmental Policy Institute, for example, said: "If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences.""
So again, we see that the Pentagon lies about the medical consequences of inhaling DU dust.
"The Guardian" reported on April 17, 2003: "Scientists urge shell clean-up to protect civilians." Even the Royal Society, the UK's leading science organisation, has accused the Pentagon of lying after the Pentagon claimed that the Royal Society backed its claims that DU is not dangerous.
Anyone who wonders how the Pentagon could be run by people who are inhuman enough to kill possibly tens of millions of people with DU should be aware that a number of American Cold War generals were in favour of using nuclear weapons that could kill possibly tens of millions of people.
The "Daily Telegraph" magazine of June 12, 2010, revealed in its "Deadly payload" article about the Pentagon's possible secret use of germ warfare during the Korean War that,
"Even before Chinese troops had entered the fray in October 1950, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff had authorised the use of atomic weapons against targets within China if their troops became embroiled in the conflict. And even though the famously aggressive Gen Douglas MacArthur argued for their use, President Truman witheld permission."
(If the correct description for General Douglas MacArthur is "famously aggressive", it is difficult to know how to describe a former Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, General Curtis LeMay, who inspired the "General Buck Turgidson", pro-nuclear war with the Soviet Union character in the Peter Sellers film "Dr. Strangelove." And his Strategic Air Command (bomber fleet) chief, General Thomas Power, who inspired the "General Jack D. Ripper" character who actually starts a nuclear war with the Soviet Union in "Dr. Strangelove", as they both made MacArthur look like a pacifist.)
Not only the Pentagon, but the George W. Bush Administration has been exposed for lying about the Iraq War, so no one should be surprised by the Pentagon's serial lying over the DU issue.
Then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said during a June 2003 security conference in Singapore: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil." (Wolfowitz's admission was cited in William Engdahl's book, "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order", Pluto, London, 2004, p.257)
So the Bush Administration lied about the invasion of Iraq. Of course, telling American service personnel that they had to risk their lives to enrich the wealthy people who run the Bush election campaign like Exxon-Mobil, would not have sounded so appealing, so various lies were told to convince them to fight, and to convince the US public to support the invasion. In his 1935 book, "War Is a Racket" (Roundtable Press, New York), Major General Smedley Butler, the former head of the US Marine Corps, and the most decorated soldier in US history, revealed that during his 33 year career in the Marines, he spent most of his time fighting wars to ensure that big business could make money as a result of them.
If you have never heard of his important book, and do not believe that such a man would write such a book, you can look at three photographs of the first edition here:
You can also read the whole book for free here:
The more than 500 above-ground nuclear bomb tests of 1945 to 1980, the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, the Chernobyl disaster, and other nuclear power plant and nuclear weapon accidents, have created radioactive dust, still lethal today (former US Army Major Doug Rokke, interviewed by "Yes" magazine for a March 31, 2003 article entitled "The War Against Ourselves", pointed out that the consequences "last for eternity. The half life of uranium 238 is 4.5 billion years [which means of course, that in 4.5 billion years, the uranium which the US and UK armed forces have left in Iraq, will only be half as radioactive as it is now]. And we left 320 tons all over the place in Iraq."). However, the amount of radioactive dust which has been created by those sources, may have been dwarfed by the amount which the nuclear wars of the last 19 years have created.