Is a new uranium weapon being used by the US and Israel?
There is growing evidence from samples taken from people and the environment after recent wars that a new weapon is being used that contains slightly enriched (as opposed to depleted) uranium.
“This extraordinary discovery of a new uranium weapon should serve as a wake-up call to the entire world. It is as if the military were at war with humanity, secretively winning their battles with what is effectively a kind of delayed-action radioactive poison gas. They cannot keep denying that these radioactive weapons can discriminate in their effects between military and non-military targets. Because of this, enormous numbers of innocent people have died and will die in the future. Countless parents will watch their children with horror and pity as for several generations children will continue to be born with congenital anomalies as result of the genetic heritable effects induced by this exposure to uranium dust.” Malak Hamden
Between October 1994 and October 1995, the number of birth defects per 1,000 live births in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital was 1.37. In 2003, the number of birth defects in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital was 23 per 1,000 live births. Within less than a decade, the occurrence of congenital birth defects increased by an astonishing 17-fold in the same hospital. A yearly account of the occurrence and types of birth defects, between 2003 and 2011, in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital, was reported.
Another recent study, using mass spectrometry, shows that parents of children in Fallujah born with congenital anomalies had been exposed to significant levels of enriched uranium.
An epidemiological study made in Fallujah shows a disturbing increase in cancers, leukaemia, severe birth deformities and a change in the sex-ratio, with a decrease in the number of boys being born. The conclusion was that something used in the war had created a serious mutagenic effect, worse than the studies on the atomic bomb survivors of Hisroshima and Nagasaki.
A further study shows that “since 2003, congenital malformations have increased to account for 15% of all births in Fallujah, Iraq. Congenital heart defects have the highest incidence, followed by neural tube defects.” It concludes that “the high prevalence of birth defects in Fallujah is impairing the population’s health and its capacity to care for the surviving children. These defects could be due to environmental contaminants which are known components of modern weaponry.”
The History of Uranium Weapons
Uranium is the source of most of the world’s radioactivity. It is believed to have been formed in super novae around 6.6 billion years ago and can be found throughout the earth’s crust and in the oceans. It plays a major role in heating the earth and creating continental drift and over the millennia has played a significant role in evolution by inducing mutations in the genes of plants and animals. Uranium is generally concentrated in rocks at 2-4 parts per million and although slightly radioactive and chemically toxic the human body has adapted to a minimal intake.
Confusingly, uranium found in nature is not the same as ‘natural uranium’ the term given to uranium after it has been mined, milled and concentrated ready for the enrichment process. We are often told that depleted uranium is less radioactive than ‘natural uranium’ which is true. It is however some thousand times more radioactive than uranium found in nature due to its extreme concentration.
The use of uranium as a metal is a recent phenomenon. Depleted uranium metal is made from the waste product of the enrichment process – which concentrates the fissile isotope U-235 for nuclear power or atomic weapons. It is used in both civilian and military products.
Military use of DU
Military experimentation with DU began in the 1950s in the USA, and in the 1960s in the UK. A product of the Cold War, it was used in anti-tank penetrators to cut through heavily armoured Soviet tanks. Its military advantage is that it is a very dense, heavy metal (similar to tungsten) which self sharpens when it hits a hard surface and spontaneously ignites, burning at a phenomenal 3000 -6000 degrees C. It can be used interchangeably with tungsten, especially when an incendiary effect is required (tungsten does not burn) and, as an industrial waste product, it is both cheap and readily available.
DU penetrators were first tested on the battlefield by the Israelis in the Yom Kippur war, in 1973, but were not used extensively until the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq.
Governments argue that DU penetrators are not radiological weapons
“…anti-tank armour penetrating ammunition containing depleted uranium can in no sense be considered a nuclear weapon. Nor is it a radiological weapon. Its effectiveness derives from its mechanical and metallurgical properties.” UK Ministry of Defence, 1979
However, any weapon which has a radiological impact should be classed as a radiological weapon. In 1990, prior to the Gulf War, US military reports stated: “Aerosol DU exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological and toxicological effects.” Depleted uranium is a “low level alpha radiation emitter which is linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage.” U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Training film
Despite this, soldiers during the Gulf War were neither warned nor equipped for this type of exposure. Nor was the Iraqi Government ever officially informed about the type of weapons that had been used.
Mixing Nuclear Wastes?
After the bombing of Serbia/Kosovo in 1999, NATO acknowledged that the DU used in munitions was mixed with small amounts of reprocessed uranium which is highly radioactive.
“The machinery used for the enrichment process was also used in the 1950-1970′s to enrich uranium extracted from recycled reactor fuel. This resulted in the contamination of those facilities with trace amounts of transuranics, uranium-236 and technicium. These trace amounts were picked up in the DU processed in the facility. In addition a small fraction of the raw material used for producing our DU came from the uranium extracted from reactor fuel.“ U.S. Information Paper on Depleted Uranium
What is being persistently denied, is that un-depleted and low enriched uranium may be used in weapon systems.
After the bombing of Afghanistan in 2002, a team from the Uranium Medical Research Center in Canada, took urine samples from civilians suffering symptoms of ‘fatigue, fever, musculoskeletal neurological alterations, headaches and respiratory impairment’. Soil and water samples were also taken from the bombed sites. The mass spectrometry results showed no DU, but high levels of un-depleted uranium, 100 times that of the normal range. 7 residents of Kabul were also contaminated with U-236 which meant that although the uranium had a similar isotopic ratio to natural uranium, it could not have come from a natural source. Uranium Contamination of Afghanistan
Again, samples taken from bombed areas in Lebanon in 2006, tested at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, showed both un-depleted and low enriched uranium but no depleted uranium. Evidence of Enriched Uranium in Guided Weapons Employed by the Israeli Military iLebanon in July 2006 and Further Evidence of Enriched Uranium in Guided Weapons Strikes on Lebanon in July 2006
US patents cite depleted uranium or uranium metal as a preferred metal in a number of weapons systems. Jane’s Defence Weekly has confirmed the use of DU in shaped charge liners as has the MOD website. Unofficial US military sources have stated its use in large bunker busting weapons such as the GBU-28. Under the radar: identifying third-generation uranium weapons The use of uranium in larger weapon systems would have a wider contaminating effect. Did the use of Uranium weapons in Gulf War 2 result in contamination of Europe?
Health Crisis in Iraq
“Children suffer the greatest risk from depleted uranium exposure, yet they have no voice in the DU debate. Those children, as well as the broader civilian and military population exposed to DU, deserve the utmost consideration when determining the scientific basis for assessing risk.” Dr Helen Caldicott,
There has been a health crisis in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, with severe increases in congenital deformity, cancers, leukaemia, renal and hepatic failure, and other illnesses. This has got progressively worse, especially since the 2003 invasion and aftermath. It is directly linked with the weapons being used by the US and allies. The most obvious contender is the use of uranium metal in weapons systems but there is urgent need for an independent, scientific investigation and transparency regarding US, UK and Israeli weapons systems.
Shortly after the Gulf War, Professor Guenther, a German doctor who had been living and working in the region for many years, noted disturbing health trends affecting the Iraqi population. These included immune deficiency with an increase in infectious diseases, herpes and zoster afflictions and AIDS like syndromes; a hitherto unknown syndrome causing renal and hepatic dysfunction; leukaemia; cancers, and congenital deformities in animals as well as humans.
Gulf War veterans in Britain and America also suffered from an undiagnosed syndrome and a number of children conceived after the war were born with congenital deformity.
Studies made by Iraqi doctors and scientists throughout the 1990s, showed significant increases in neural tube defects, Downs syndrome births, cancers and leukaemias. Heightened radioactivity was found in the soil, water, and food chain. The contamination and health problems were not confined to southern Iraq, but were found in many areas including in Baghdad, Babylon, Mosul and Al-Tamim. A summary of measurements carried out in Iraq by Iraqi scientists between 1996-2001
In March 2003 a spokesperson for the US military stated that DU penetrators would be the weapon of choice for the invasion of Iraq. They were the standard round for the Abrams tanks and A-10 aircraft. They were routinely used throughout Iraq on any number of soft targets including buildings and ordinary vehicles. Mass spectrometry of human and environmental samples also shows enriched uranium contamination. This indicates a novel and undeclared use of uranium in weapon systems. Cancers and congential anomalies have increased significantly since 2003.
Child with spina bifida, Basrah 2004 (photo by Jenny Matthews)
Child with hydrocephalus, Basrah 2004 (photo by Jenny Matthews)
9 year old boy with leukaemia, Basrah 2004 (photo by Jenny Matthews)
Boy with rare kidney and liver failure, Baghdad 2003
Baby with multiple birth defects, Baghdad 2010
Health Crisis in the Balkans
The war in Bosnia(1992-1995) and the NATO bombardment of Serbia/Kosovo 1999 also left a radioactive legacy. In Sarajevo, cancer cases rose from 43 in 1995 to 248 in 2000. Professor Trifko Guzino, surgeon and former director of the urological clinic in Sarajevo, stated that his “patients who were suffering from multiple, independent malignant tumors lived in immediate proximity to the bombing sites or were in these areas at the time the bombings occurred.” Veterans from these wars are suffering similar symptoms to their Gulf war counterparts. One study showed a severe increase in Hodgkins lymphoma amongst Italian peacekeepers from Bosnia and Kosovo. Other veterans are suffering from a multitude of illnesses including cancers, acute and rare forms of leukaemia, Crohn’s disease, hepatic disorders and nervous systems disorders. In Serbia and Kosovo cancer and leukaemia rates are also rising. According to local doctors, leukaemia in Kosovo has risen from 1 per 1000 to 1 per 100. The cancer rate in Kosovo before 1999 was 10 among 300,000 people, and “today it stands at 20 among 60,000″ Fallout of Serbia Bombing ‘Continues to Kill’