There are now many websites that are discussing the use of weapons by the US military in Iraq that contain Depleted Uranium (DU). It should be a serious concern for anyone who is interested in the global dominance of the
DU is used in bombs, tank shells and bullets because it heavier than lead and stronger then tungsten. That means it can penetrate a target easily (e.g. a tank) and after impact creates an intense fireball. The result after the fire is a fine radioactive dust. Those radioactive particles will stay in the environment for 4.5 billion years!
DEPLETED URANIUM - WHAT IT IS:
Depleted uranium is a highly dense, toxic and radioactive metal. It is collected when highly radioactive uranium is separated from natural uranium that comes out of the ground. The
WHAT IT DOES:
Depleted uranium contains the highly toxic U-238 isotope, which has a radioactive half-life of about 4.5 billion years. As U-238 breaks down, an ongoing process, it creates protactinium-234, which radiates particles that may cause cancer as well as mutations in body cells. That could lead to birth defects.
HOW IT SPREADS:
When a depleted uranium shell hits a hard target, as much as 70 percent of the projectile can burn on impact, creating a firestorm of depleted uranium particles. The toxic residue of this firestorm is an extremely fine insoluble uranium dust that can be spread by the wind, inhaled and absorbed into the human body and absorbed by plants and animals, becoming part of the food chain. Once in the soil, it can pollute the environment and create up to a hundredfold increase in uranium levels in ground water, according to the U.N. Environmental Program.
The Pentagon and United Nations estimate that U.S. and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks in Iraq in March and April -- far more than the estimated 375 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War.
US FORCES' USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS IS 'ILLEGAL'
BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately ignoring a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.
Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.
Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about
According to a August 2002 report by the UN subcommission, laws which are breached by the use of DU shells include:
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- the Charter of the United Nations;
- the Genocide Convention;
- the Convention Against Torture;
- the four Geneva Conventions of 1949;
- the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980;
- and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'.
All of these laws are designed to spare civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.
DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.
It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of birth deformities and cancer in
'Cancer appears to have increased between seven and 10 times and deformities between four and six times,' according to the UN subcommission.
The Pentagon has admitted that 320 metric tons of DU were left on the battlefield after the first Gulf war, although Russian military experts say 1000 metric tons is a more accurate figure.
In 1991, the Allies fired 944,000 DU rounds or some 2700 tons of DU tipped bombs. A UK Atomic Energy Authority report said that some 500,000 people would die before the end of this century, due to radioactive debris left in the desert.
The use of DU has also led to birth defects in the children of Allied veterans and is believed to be the cause of the 'worrying number of anophthalmos cases -- babies born without eyes' in Iraq. Only one in 50 million births should be anophthalmic, yet one
A study of Gulf war veterans showed that 67% had children with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers.
Rokke told the Sunday Herald: 'A nation's military personnel cannot wilfully contaminate any other nation, cause harm to persons and the environment and then ignore the consequences of their actions.
'To do so is a crime against humanity.
He added: 'We can't just use munitions which leave a toxic wasteland behind them and kill indiscriminately.
'It is equivalent to a war crime.'
Rokke said that coalition troops were currently fighting in the Gulf without adequate respiratory protection against DU contamination.
The Sunday Herald has previously revealed how the Ministry of Defence had test-fired some 6350 DU rounds into the Solway Firth [in
30 March 2003
“Sixty-seven percent of babies born to the 400,000 vets who suffer from Gulf War Syndrome have birth defects,” said Joyce Riley, a former nurse who flew in
DU shells were also used in the Bosnia War by NATO.
“Between 30,000 and 50,000 DU shells were fired”
“In Kosovo some 2 million civilian men, women and children have been exposed to the radioactive fallout since the beginning of the bombing in March 1999. In the Balkans, more than 20 million people are potentially at risk”
“A British expert predicted that thousands of people in the Balkans will get sick of DU. The radioactive and toxic DU-oxides don't disintegrate. They are practically permanent.”
Both the Pentagon and the British Ministry of Defence officially deny that there is any significant danger from exposure to DU ammunition.
"Soldiers may be incidentally exposed to DU from dust and smoke on the battlefield. The Army Surgeon General has determined that it is unlikely that these soldiers will receive a significant internal DU exposure. Medical follow-up is not warranted for soldiers who experience incidental exposure from dust or smoke. [...] Since DU weapons are openly available on the world arms market, DU weapons will be used in future conflicts. […] No international law, treaty, regulation, or custom requires the
- Report by the US Army Environmental Policy Institute: 'Health and Consequences of Depleted Uranium use in the
The United States Department of Energy currently has an inventory of 704,000 tonnes of depleted uranium hexafluoride (stored in 58,000 metal cylinders), corresponding to 476,000 tonnes of uranium . It encourages the use of DU as a means of disposing of the stock, and plans to eventually convert the remaining inventory to a less toxic form, probably either uranium metal or oxide.
WARNING: SCARY PHOTOS. Photos of the deformed babies are available at the following website:
Children of US Soldiers with Birth Defects
Cost of War to US Taxpayers
Research paper with photos and graphs:
US forces' use of depleted uranium weapons is 'illegal'
Iraqi cancers, birth defects blamed on
Website: Information from Occupied
Campaign Against Depleted Uranium
Against the War in
June 10, 2000 International Tribunal for U.S./NATO war crimes in
Sub-Commission resolution 1996/16
(resolves and states DU to be "incompatible" with human rights and international law; lists DU as "particularly" one "weapon of mass destruction or indiscriminate effect")
UN High Commission for Human Rights, 1998
(statement that DU is prohibited and contravenes prior UN resolutions)
Depleted Uranium Human Health Fact Sheet from Summary Fact Sheets for Selected Environmental Contaminants to Support Health Risk Analyses by
Uranium Human Health Fact Sheet, also from
U.S. Soldiers Contaminated With Depleted Uranium Speak Out - Democracy Now!, April 5, 2004
Depleted UF6 Management Information Network, Online repository of information about the U.S. Department of Energy's inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride.
Proposal for Research on Depleted Uranium ( U.K. Ministry of Defence )