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Radiation effects of depleted uranium continue to bring disease and death in Iraq

Fallujah (pop. 300,000) is Iraq’s most contaminated city.

Cancers in Fallujah catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005. In a 2010International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, Busby and two colleagues, Malak Hamden and Entesar Ariabi, reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer, and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait.

Fallujah-babyBusby sampled the hair of Fallujah women with deformed babies and found slightly enriched uranium. He found the same thing in the soil. “The only possible source was the weapons,” he states.

These numbers are probably low. “Iraqi women whose children have birth defects feel stigmatized and often don’t report them,” says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a Michigan-based environmental toxicologist who won the 2015 Rachel Carson Award.

IRRADIATED IRAQ   The Nuclear Nightmare We Left Behind, The Washington Spectator,  By Barbara Koeppel   30 Mar 16 When the United States revealed in January that it is testing a more nimble, more precise version of its B61 atom bomb, some were immediately alarmed. General James Cartwright, a former strategist for President Obama, warned that “going smaller” could make nuclear weapons “more thinkable” and “more usable.”

However, what is little known is that for the past 25 years, the United States and its allies have routinely used radioactive weapons in battle, in the form of warheads and explosives made with depleted, undepleted, or slightly enriched uranium. While the Department of Defense (DOD) calls these weapons “conventional” (non-nuclear), they are radioactive and chemically toxic. In Iraq, where the United States and its partners waged two wars, toxic waste covers the country and poisons the people. U.S. veterans are also sick and dying.

Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps officer in Iraq and United Nations weapons inspector, told me, “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”

The weapons were first used in 1991 during Desert Storm, when the U.S. military fired guided bombs and missiles containing depleted uranium (DU), a waste product from nuclear reactors. The Department of Defense (DOD) particularly prized them because, with dramatic density, speed, and heat, they blasted through tanks and bunkers.

Within one or two years, grotesque birth defects spiraled—such as babies with two heads. Or missing eyes, hands, and legs. Or stomachs and brains inside out.

Keith Baverstock, who headed the radiological section of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Center of Environment and Health in the 1990s, explained why: When uranium weapons explode, their massive blasts produce gray or black clouds of uranium oxide dust particles. These float for miles, people breathe them, and the dust lodges in their lungs. From there, they seep into the lymph system and blood, flow throughout the body, and bind to the genes and chromosomes, causing them to mutate. First, they trigger birth defects. Within five or more years, cancer. Organs, often the kidneys, fail.

At one Basra hospital, leukemia cases in children up to age 14 doubled from 1992 to 1999, says Amy Hagopian, a University of Washington School of Public Health professor. Birth defects also surged, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001, according to a 2005 article in Environmental Health.

Leukemia—cancer of the blood—develops quickly. Chris Busby, a British chemical physicist, explains: “Blood cells are the most easily damaged by radiation and duplicate rapidly. We’ve known this since Hiroshima.”

Dai Williams, an independent weapons researcher in Britain, says the dust emits alpha radiation—20 times more damaging than the gamma radiation from nuclear weapons. The military insists the dust is harmless because it can’t penetrate the skin. They ignore that it can be inhaled.

Fast forward to 2003. When the United States reinvaded Iraq, it launched bunker-busting guided bombs, cruise missiles, and TOW anti-tank missiles. It also fired new thermobaric warheads—much stronger explosives with stunningly large blasts. Many of these, says Ritter, contained some type of uranium, whether depleted, undepleted, or slightly enriched.

Williams says thermobaric weapons explode at extremely high temperatures and “the only material that can do that is uranium.” He adds that while today’s nuclear weapons are nominally subject to international regulations, no existing arms protocol addresses uranium in a non-nuclear context.

While the U.S. government has cleaned up some contaminated sites at home—such as a former uranium munitions plant in Concord, Mass.—it has yet to acknowledge the mess in Iraq.

“Iraq is one large hazardous waste site,” Ritter says. “If it was the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency would declare it a Superfund site and order it be cleaned.

Left behind in Fallujah

Fallujah (pop. 300,000) is Iraq’s most contaminated city. The U.S. military attacked it twice in 2004, and in the November siege, troops fired thermobaric weapons, including a shoulder-launched missile called the SMAW-NE. (NE means “novel explosive.”)

Ross Caputi was there with the U.S. 1st Battalion 8th Marines. He told me, “We used the SMAW-NE and guys raved about how you could fire just one round and clear a building.” Concrete bunkers and buildings were instantly incinerated and collapsed. The DOD was not disappointed.

Cancers in Fallujah catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005. In a 2010International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, Busby and two colleagues, Malak Hamden and Entesar Ariabi, reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer, and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait.

Busby sampled the hair of Fallujah women with deformed babies and found slightly enriched uranium. He found the same thing in the soil. “The only possible source was the weapons,” he states.

These numbers are probably low. “Iraqi women whose children have birth defects feel stigmatized and often don’t report them,” says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a Michigan-based environmental toxicologist who won the 2015 Rachel Carson Award.

Besides the cancers and birth defects, an Irish pathologist (who asked for anonymity) said an unusually high number of children have cerebral palsy (CP) near the city of Hawija. “I was skeptical when Iraqi doctors told me, but I examined 30 and saw it was classic CP. I don’t know what caused this, but the increase is almost certainly war-related.”

It is often argued that uranium occurs in nature, so it’s impossible to link soil and other samples to the weapons. But, Ritter told me that when experts examine a site, they take samples, study them in a special lab, and can easily tell the difference between uranium that is natural and that which was chemically processed. “The idea that you can’t link soil samples to weapons because of the presence of natural uranium is simply ludicrous. It’s done all the time by experts in the International Atomic Energy Agency and within the nuclear programs of all major nuclear powers,” Ritter says.

Burn pits and toxic clouds

In addition to the weapons’ lethal dust, Iraqis and coalition troops were exposed to poisonous smoke from huge open burn pits, some stretching 10 acres. From 2003 to 2011, U.S. military bases burned waste in the pits around the clock—spewing toxic clouds for miles.

Two were near Fallujah. Caputi says,“We dumped everything there. Our plastic bottles, tires, human waste, and batteries.”

Rubber, oil, solvents, unexploded weapons, and even medical waste were also tossed into the pits. As a 2008 Army Times article noted, Balad Air Base burned around 90,000 plastic bottles a day.

When plastic burns, it gives off dioxin—the key ingredient in Agent Orange…..http://linkis.com/washingtonspectator.org/b2hLC

April 11, 2016 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, health, Iraq | 1 Comment

How the West keeps quiet about radiation effects on Iraqi people

see-no-evilIRRADIATED IRAQ   The Nuclear Nightmare We Left Behind, The Washington Spectator,  By Barbara Koeppel   30 Mar 16 Even as evidence mounts, the DOD and VA steadfastly deny the health effects of the weapons and pits. The Defense Health Agency website states, “No human cancer of any type has been seen as a result of exposure to either natural or depleted uranium.”

From 2003 to 2011, U.S. military bases burned waste in the pits around the clock— spewing toxic clouds for miles.

Further, in a 2011 DOD report, Exposure to Toxins Produced by Burn Pits, the VA adds: “The effects from burn pits are only temporary and the negative health effects dissipate once a soldier is removed from the source.” In 2014, the VA website assured veterans that “So far, no health problems have been found in veterans exposed to DU.”

While the military admits it used DU in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, it has downplayed the extent. U.S. Marine Corps Captain Dominic Pitrone told The Washington Spectator, “The only weapons with DU in the USMC inventory were 120mm tank rounds.” As for the new SMAW-NE warhead, he said it “does not contain uranium.”

But Ritter says these claims are disingenuous. Though other DU munitions, such as aerial bombs and 25mm cannon rounds, may not have been in the USMC inventory, they were still “available to and used by USMC units in Iraq.”

And while the USMC may not label the SMAW-NE and thermobaric Hellfire missile as uranium weapons, Ritter says that “this doesn’t resolve whether the shaped-charge warheads [inside them] make use of uranium-enhanced liners.”

U.S. coalition partners—such as Britain, which also used uranium weapons—echo the denials. So too do the WHO and the Iraq Ministry of Health, which concluded in 2012 that Iraq had fewer birth defects and cancers than developed countries.

But Hagopian says the ministry surveyed households instead of using hospital records. Finding this unscientific, a 2013 Lancet article called for a new study. Last November, the American Public Health Association asked the military to ban burn pits and fund research on their health effects. It also asked the WHO to rethink its conclusion.

Researchers tell of attempts by authorities to quash investigations. In 1991, for example, the United States tried to keep the WHO from “surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers,” Hans von Sponek, a former U.N. official, told the Guardian.

Karol Sikora, a British oncologist who headed WHO’s cancer program in the 1990s, told me his supervisor (who focuses on non-communicable diseases) warned him that they shouldn’t speak publicly about the cancers and birth defects “because this would offend member states.”

Similarly, Baverstock says, “I was on a WHO editorial committee and I warned about the uranium weapons’ geno-toxicity effect on DNA. My comments were rejected—probably because the WHO monograph didn’t include this.”

Those who persist fare badly.

Horst Gunther, a German physician, went to Iraq to study the spiking diseases. He saw children play with DU shells on Basra’s battlefield, took one to Germany to study, and found it was extremely radioactive. He told German authorities and was arrested for possessing it.

In 2003, Chief Justice Y.K.J. Yeung Sik Yuen of Mauritius, a delegate to the U.N. Sub-Commission on Human Rights, wrote of “the cavalier disregard, if not deception, on the part of the developers and users of these weapons regarding their effects.” After he refused to reverse his position that DU weapons are illegal and violate the Geneva Convention, the U.S. and Britain campaigned against his reelection to the subcommission. He lost.

Hagopian says researchers can’t study the uranium weapons’ effects because “the U.S. won’t fund the work.”

Why can’t the DOD, VA, Iraq government, and WHO come clean?

Ritter says, “The DOD doesn’t want the public to know about the toxic dust, because of the liability. As for Iraq, it will agree with the U.S. as long as it depends on the U.S. for financial and military support. As for the WHO, the U.S. contributes more to U.N. agencies and the WHO than any other country.”

Williams adds that there’s growing international concern about uranium weapons, since they’re radioactive. As early as 1991, Army Lt. Col. Ziehm warned in a memo that because DU weapons “may become politically unacceptable,” after-action reports must “keep this sensitive issue at mind.” In other words, don’t tell.

Media coverage of uranium weapons and the spiraling sickness has been meager. Malak Hamden said when she and colleagues published the 2010 Fallujah study, “CNN said something, but no newspapers touched the story.” A BBC reporter told Williams the public doesn’t want to know about uranium weapons.

In the meantime, the United States continues to build them. Williams notes that U.S. Patent Office records show Lockheed Martin and Raytheon hold patents for enhanced bombs and cruise missile warheads that include uranium options.

Today, with the U.S., Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, and Russia bombing Syria, and with the Saudis bombing and the U.S. firing drones into Yemen—with some of the same kinds of weapons unleashed in Iraq—it is likely that the people living there, along with fleeing refugees, will suffer just as the Iraqis and veterans have.

As Busby notes, uranium oxide dust is like a bomb that keeps going off. “People’s genes are damaged for generations. Scientists found this in 22 generations of mice, after Chernobyl. The only way mutated genes disappear is when carriers don’t have children.”

Barbara Koeppel is a Washington D.C.-based investigative reporter.  http://linkis.com/washingtonspectator.org/b2hLC

April 11, 2016 Posted by | Iraq, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA’s B-52 nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Iraq and Syria

US sending nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to ISIS fight  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/03/04/us-sending-nuclear-capable-b-52-bombers-to-isis-fight.html  The United States is sending nuclear-capable B-52 aircraft to drop bombs on the Islamic State terror group, defense officials confirmed to Fox News Friday. 4 Mar 16 

The B-52 Stratofortress will start its first bombing campaign against ISIS in April, the Air Force Times reports. It’s not clear how many B-52s or airmen will be involved.

Officials say the aircraft will replace nuclear-capable B-1 Lancers hitting ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.

The Lancers returned to home bases in the U.S. in January. They flew only 3% of all strike missions against ISIS, but had dropped 40% of the bombs and other munitions. B-1s could loiter over the battlefield for 10 hours, much longer than jet fighters, and also could fly supersonic, reaching targets across Iraq and Syria within minutes.

“The B-1s are rotated out, so they’re not here right now, they’ve gone back to do some upgrades,” Lieutenant General Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander at U.S. Air Forces Central Command, told reporters. Each B-52 can carry up to 70,000 pounds of payload, officials say. The aircraft, sometimes nicknamed the “Big Ugly Fat Fella,” first took to the skies in 1954 and regularly takes part in military exercises around the world.

The B-52s are based in Louisiana and North Dakota.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

March 5, 2016 Posted by | Iraq, Syria, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Stolen Radioactive Material: What Is Iridium-192?

 Live Science, by Tia Ghose, Senior Writer   |   February 18, 2016 Some security experts are worried that a cache of radioactive material reportedly stolen from an oil field in Iraq could be used by organizations such as the Islamic State group to produce a dirty bomb.

A laptop-size case with about 0.35 ounces (10 grams) of the material, called iridium-192, allegedly went missing from an oil field storage facility in Basra that is run by the American company Weatherford,Reuters reported. Both the company and the Iraqi government declined to confirm the report.

“We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh,” a senior security official with the Iraqi government, told Reuters, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, also called ISIS. “They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb.” [Doomsday: 9 Real Ways Earth Could End]……..http://www.livescience.com/53773-what-is-radioactive-iridium-192.html

February 22, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Iraq | Leave a comment

Stolen nuclear material in Iraq – risk of an Islamic State “dirty bomb”

dirty bombSecurity firms deny responsibility for stolen nuclear material in Iraq, Islamic State dirty bomb fears linger , ABC News 19 Feb 16 Swiss inspections group SGS has denied any responsibility for security at the site in southern Iraq where radioactive material disappeared from last year, prompting fears it could be acquired by Islamic State militants……

Reuters released an exclusive report showing that Iraq is searching for “highly dangerous” radioactive material which the theft of has raised fears among Iraqi officials that it could be used to make a dirty bomb if acquired by IS militants.

A dirty bomb combines nuclear material with conventional explosives to contaminate an area with radiation, in contrast to a nuclear weapon, which uses nuclear fission to trigger a vastly more powerful blast.

“We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh,” a senior security official with knowledge of the theft, using an Arabic acronym for IS militants, said.

“They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-19/sgs-denies-responsibility-for-missing-nuclear-material-in-iraq/7182482

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iraq war is a bonanza for US weapons salesmen

weapons1Even as the Obama administration stumbles and bumbles along in search of a magical political strategy in Iraq that would make sense of everything, American weapons-makers can expect a bountiful future. In the meantime, Washington is putting forces in place that, by doing more of the same for the third time in a disintegrating Iraq in the middle of a fracturing region, guarantee more of the same. In that sense, you might say that American forces are partly in place to help promote the investment. If one needed an example of how the military-industrial complex works today, that might be it. Every mistake by Washington is a boon for future arms sales.

Once Again, American Weapons-Makers Are Making a Killing in Iraq Our battle with ISIS lacks goals and direction, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a profit to be made.Mother Jones—By  Fri Jan. 16,his story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

The current American war in Iraq is a struggle in search of a goal. It began in August as a humanitarian intervention, morphed into a campaign to protect Americans in-country, became a plan to defend the Kurds, followed by a full-on crusade to defeat the new Islamic State (IS, aka ISIS, aka ISIL), and then… well, something in Syria to be determined at a later date.

At the moment, Iraq War 3.0 simply drones on, part bombing campaign, part mission to train the collapsed army the US military created for Iraq War 2.0, all amid a miasma of incoherent mainstream media coverage. American troops are tiptoeing closer to combat (assuming you don’t count defensive operations, gettingmortared, and flying ground attack helicopters as “combat”), even as they act likearchaeologists of America’s warring past, exploring the ruins of abandoned US bases. Meanwhile, Shia militias are using the conflict for the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis and Iran has become an ever-more significant player in Iraq’s affairs. Key issues of the previous American occupation of the country—corruption,representative government, oil revenue-sharing—remain largely unresolved. The Kurds still keep “winning” against the militants of IS in the city of Kobani on the Turkish border without having “won.”…….

there is one bright side to the situation. If you can’t create Victory in Iraq for future VI Day parades, you can at least make a profit from the disintegrating situation there.
Team America’s Arms Sales Force

In the midst of the December holiday news-dumping zone, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) quietly notified Congress of several pending arms deals for Iraq. DSCA is the Pentagon office responsible for coordinating arms agreements between American defense contractors and foreign buyers.

Before those thousands of not-boots-on-the-ground troops started hemorrhaging back into Iraq late last year, DSCA personnel made up a significant portion of all US military personnel still there. Its staff members are, in fact, common in US embassies in general. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the sales of weaponry and other kinds of war equipment are big business for a range of American companies, and the US government is more than happy to assist. In fact, there is even ahandbook to guide foreign governments through the buying process.

The DSCA operates under a mission statement which says the “US may sell defense articles and services to foreign countries and international organizations when the President formally finds that to do so will strengthen the security of the US andpromote world peace.” While the Pentagon carries out the heavy lifting, actual recommendations on which countries can buy US gear are made by the secretary of state, and then rubber-stamped by Congress………

Would You Like the Extended Warranty?

Iraqis have a saying: “The rug is never sold.” It means that there’s always more money to be made from any transaction. General Dynamics would agree. Arms sales work remarkably like consumer electronics (and Iraqi carpets). Want the extended warranty for your new smartphone? Extra battery? Accessories? Insurance against loss or damage? Suddenly the cost of your phone doubles.

Same for tanks. The M1 is a complex beast. You’ll need to pay General Dynamics for trainers to teach your guys to operate its systems. You’ll need lots of spare parts, especially operating in the desert. And it won’t be long before you’ll want to do some upgrades—maybe better computers or a faster engine. The US is currently working on “urban warfare” upgrades for the 140 M1s the Iraqis have hung onto. In the defense world, these after-sales are known as the “tail.” And the longer the tail, the bigger the profits.

For example, built into the contract for the new M1 tank sale is the provision that “approximately five US Government and one hundred contractor representatives [will] travel to Iraq for a period of up to five years for delivery, system checkout, program support, and training.” And that isn’t going to come cheap from General Dynamics, though the five government employees may be a bargain financed by American taxpayers.

None of this even touches on the potential for repeat sales. ………..

from any point of view except General Dynamics’s, the Islamic State’s, or maybe the Iranians’, these tank sales don’t add up.
Call Your Broker

It’s easy enough to toss around terms like “military-industrial complex” and equally easy to slip from there into what some might consider blood-for-oil conspiracy theories or suggestions that Iraq War 2.0 was all about the mega-contractor Halliburton’s bottom line. While oil and Halliburton were certainly part of that past war’s calculus, they can no more account for it than the piles of money General Dynamics is about to make selling tanks can alone account for Iraq War 3.0.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the way defense companies find themselves buried in cash from selling weapons that aren’t needed to people who can’t use them, sales that are, in the end, likely to harm, not help, America’s geopolitical interests. Perhaps it is better to see the immediate profits from such deals as just a part of a muchbigger process, one that demands America have enemies to crusade against to ensure the survival of the national security state.

To such a “wartime” paradigm one just needs to plug in new bad guys from time to time, which is proving an ever-easier venture, since each of our previous wars and conflicts seems to offer a remarkably helpful hand in creating them. In this way, radical Islam has proven, with Washington’s help, a worthy successor to the Soviet Union, itself once a superb money-making venture and a great way to build a monumental national security state.

Even as the Obama administration stumbles and bumbles along in search of a magical political strategy in Iraq that would make sense of everything, American weapons-makers can expect a bountiful future. In the meantime, Washington is putting forces in place that, by doing more of the same for the third time in a disintegrating Iraq in the middle of a fracturing region, guarantee more of the same. In that sense, you might say that American forces are partly in place to help promote the investment. If one needed an example of how the military-industrial complex works today, that might be it. Every mistake by Washington is a boon for future arms sales.

So if you’ve got money to invest in General Dynamics, you might want to call your broker. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/iraq-military-win-business-not-war

January 15, 2016 Posted by | Iraq, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Genocide” by birth defects, cancers, in Iraq, due to depleted uranium weapons

Fallujah-babyIraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut  14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail,  | Report Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.

Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.

The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Birth defects – the effects of depleted uranium on the city of Basra, Iraq

du_roundsIraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut  14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail

“………..Basra   Iraq’s southern city of Basra was heavily bombarded with DU munitions by US warplanes during the 1991 war.

Al-Ali, an expert oncologist at the Basra Cancer Treatment Center, was heavily involved in working on two birth defect studies carried out in the wake of that war.

“The types of birth defects were hydrocephaly [an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain], anencephaly [the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull], cleft lip and phacomelia [loss of limbs],” al-Ali told Truthout. “Other consequences are the cancers which increased three-fold during the last two decades.”

He said that clusters of cancers occurring at higher incidence within the same family were another new phenomenon seen in Iraq only after the 1991 and 2003 wars.

“Other diseases related to effects of DU were the kidney failure of unknown cause and stone formation,” he added. “Respiratory problems like asthma and also myopathy and neuropathy are now very common as well.”

In Babil Province in southern Iraq, cancer rates have been escalating at alarming rates since 2003. Dr. Sharif al-Alwachi, the head of the Babil Cancer Center, blames the use of depleted uranium weapons by US forces during and following the 2003 invasion.

“The environment could be contaminated by chemical weapons and depleted uranium from the aftermath of the war on Iraq,” Alwachi told Truthout. “The air, soil and water are all polluted by these weapons, and as they come into contact with human beings they become poisonous. This is new to our region, and people are suffering here.”

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, there was a sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.

In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among newborns is six times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.

Childhood cancer also appears to be unusually prevalent in Basra.

“We have noticed bouts of malignant tumors affecting children’s limbs,” an Iraqi doctor who has worked in various parts of the country for 20 years told Truthout. He requested anonymity for security reasons. “These malignancies are usually of very aggressive types and in the view of the shortage of facilities we are running in our hospitals they usually have a fatal outcome.”

His prognosis was grim.

“The only help we can provide to those children is amputation, which sometimes does nothing but prolonging their suffering, in addition to the great psychological impact on both the child and the parents,” he said. “We know that it is possible to save most of these children in specialized oncology centers by advanced salvage surgery, with the attendant chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Unfortunately, this seems to be a kind fantasy for our government and health administrations, which are currently busy with the large amount of trauma overwhelming our hospitals’ resources.”…….http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26703-iraqi-doctors-call-depleted-uranium-use-genocide

October 15, 2014 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq | Leave a comment

The risks of stolen nuclear materials

safety-symbol-Smflag-IraqStolen uranium compounds not only dirty bomb ingredients within ISIS’ grasp, say experts By  July 15, 2014 FoxNews.com   Plenty of materials for a potential dirty bomb are likely scattered throughout the area of Iraq controlled by ISIS, and pulling off an attack that spreads even a minor amount of radiation could be a huge PR coup for the terror group, experts told FoxNews.com.

Last week, the Iraqi government in Baghdad warned the UN that ISIS operatives had stolen 88 pounds of uranium compounds from Mosul University. Even though many experts said the research materials were not enough to cause widespread harm, spreading fear is even more important to terrorists than a big body count, one terrorism expert said. And with ISIS in control of a huge swath of northern Iraq and parts of Syria that includes research labs, hospitals and industrial sites, ingredients for radiation-spreading bombs are within its grasp.

“Obtaining radiological material from places like universities or hospitals is relatively easy if you have the firepower, a chaotic situation and jihadists willing to sacrifice their health handling it,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for The Clarion Project, a think tank that studies Islamic extremism. “We aren’t talking about producing a nuclear bomb; just combining an explosive with radioactive material.”……..

text-radiationthe risk posed by the lower-level nuclear materials potentially within ISIS’ reach is shared by the group itself. Handling of nuclear materials is extremely dangerous, a fact underscored last December when a truck containing highly radioactive cobalt-60 was stolen en route from a Mexican hospital to a disposal site. The theft triggered alerts throughout Mexico, as well as international notifications to the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and stoked fears the material could have been stolen to make a dirty bomb. …..http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/15/stolen-uranium-compounds-not-only-dirty-bomb-ingredients-within-isis-grasp/

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Iraq, safety | Leave a comment

Dirty bomb could be made from stolen Iraqi uranium

safety-symbol-Smflag-IraqStolen Iraqi uranium could make dirty bomb THE AUSTRALIAN  THE TIMES JULY 12, 2014 INTERNATIONAL fears increased yesterday as it was revealed that Islamic State terrorists have seized 40kg of radioactive uranium in Iraq, which some experts say could be used to make a dirty bomb.

The revelation followed reports this week that they may have obtained chemical weapons when they seized a factory in Iraq.

The jihadists from the Islamic State (known formerly as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) seized the uranium after they overran a university complex in the city of Mosul, in their swift offensi­ve across northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government has appealed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for international help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”……http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/stolen-iraqi-uranium-could-make-dirty-bomb/story-fnb64oi6-1226986185204

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Iraq, safety | Leave a comment

ISIS insurgents get hold of nuclear materials in Iraq

safety-symbol1flag-IraqIraq tells UN that ‘terrorist groups’ have seized nuclear materials  SMH, July 10, 2014 – Michelle Nichols New York: ISIL insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq has told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.

Nearly 40 kilograms of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter this week.

“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Mr Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction”. However, US security sources said it would be difficult to make weapons from the material.

“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” Mr Alhakim said.

He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

A US government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon………http://www.smh.com.au/world/iraq-tells-un-that-terrorist-groups-have-seized-nuclear-materials-20140710-zt2eb.html#ixzz378WRoppD

July 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, Iraq | Leave a comment

Internal radiation emitters causing cancers, birth deformities: depleted uranium’s legacy in Iraq

Fallujah-babyDepleted Uranium And The Iraq War’s Legacy Of Cancer, Mint Press News,  Depleted uranium was used in Iraq warzone weaponry, and now kids are playing in contaminated fields and the spent weapons are being sold as scrap metal. By   @FrederickReese | July 2, 2014 As instability in Iraq is forcing the United States to consider a third invasion of the Middle Eastern nation, the consequences of the first two invasions are coming into focus. For large sectors of the Iraqi population, American intervention has led to sharp spikes in the rates of congenital birth defects, premature births, miscarriages and leukemia cases.

According to Iraqi government statistics, the rate of cancer in the country has skyrocketed from 40 per 100,000 people prior to the First Gulf War in 1991, to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.

The culprit behind all of these health issues is depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment. With a mass fraction a third of what fissile uranium would have, depleted uranium emits less alpha radiation — up to 60 percent less than natural uranium, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This “relative” safety offered a rationale for many nations — particularly, the U.S. — to put the waste material to use.

As depleted uranium is 1.67 times denser than lead, a depleted uranium projectile can be smaller than an equivalent lead projectile but produce similar results. This smaller size means a smaller diameter, less aerodynamic drag and a smaller area of impact, meaning that depleted uranium bullets can travel faster and inflict more pressure on impact, causing deeper penetration. Additionally, depleted uranium is incendiary and self-sharpening, making depleted uranium ideal for anti-tank ammunition. It is also used as armor plating for much of America’s tank fleet.

The problem with using depleted uranium, however, lies in the fact that depleted uranium is mostly de-energized. In practical terms, depleted uranium can have — at a minimum — 40 percent the radioactivity of natural uranium with a half-life that can be measured in millennia (between 703 million to 4.468 billion years). While the depleted uranium presents little to no risk to health via radiation due to its relatively weak radioactivity, direct internal contact with the heavy metal can have chemical toxicity effects on the nervous system, liver, heart and kidneys, with DNA mutations and RNA transcription errors being reported in the case of depleted uranium dust being absorbed in vitro.

While depleted uranium is not as toxic as other heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, pronounced toxicity is still possible through repeated or chronic exposure………http://www.mintpressnews.com/depleted-uranium-iraq-wars-legacy-cancer/193338/

July 9, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Netherlands reveal facts on US use of depleted uranium weapons in civilian areas

depleted-uraniumUS fired depleted uranium rounds in civilian areas during 2003 Iraq campaign – report http://rt.com/news/167220-depleted-uranium-us-iraq/ June 20, 2014 US-led forces in Iraq used depleted uranium weapons in civilian-populated areas during the 2003 military campaign, according to a new Dutch NGO study that also exposes a lack of adequate cleanup efforts by the invading troops.

Depleted uranium used by US forces blamed for birth defects and cancer in Iraq

For the first time the location of several sites where the invaders fired some 10,000 depleted uranium rounds were released by the Dutch Defense Ministry, and published in a study by Dutch peace group PAX.

Most of the DU rounds fired by the US-led coalition were in heavily populated areas, the group says. Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basrah are just some urban areas where ammunition was deployed – with around 1,500 anti-armor rounds fired directly at Saddam Hussein’s infantry forces. The GPS coordinates of DU rounds were initially handed over to the Dutch Defense Ministry because the Netherlands was worried about the potential contamination of its own troops in the country. The ministry later shared the information with PAX under a freedom of information law.

Most of the firing locations remain unknown, as more than 300,000 DU rounds are believed to have been fired by US-led coalition.

NGO says that the health risks of more than 440,000 kg of DU fired by Western forces remains unclear, as “neither coalition forces nor the Iraqi government have supported health research into civilian DU exposure.”

“Coalition forces were aware of the potential health and environmental impact of DU munitions, yet refrained from undertaking the necessary clean-up of DU outside their own bases,” a summary of the report reads.

Wim Zwijnenburg, the author of the report, said the US Air Force knew of the consequences of using DU ammunition.

“The use of DU against these targets questions the adherence of coalition forces to their own principles and guidelines. They should be held accountable for the consequences,” Zwijnenburg said, citing a 1975 memo from the Air Force Office of the Judge Advocate that restricted the use of such ammunition.

“Use of this munition solely against personnel is prohibited if alternative weapons are available,” the memo said, because of “unnecessary suffering and poison.”

According to an earlier PAX report, more than 300 sites in Iraq are currently contaminated with depleted uranium and it would cost at least $30 million to clean up.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iraq, USA | Leave a comment

World Health Organisation now distancing itself from dodgy report on Iraq birth defects?

there are signs that the WHO has sought to distance itself from the findings. The interim report, which was published on September 11th, is unsigned by its authors and, while published on the WHO’s website, is apparently the sole responsibility of the Iraqi WHO-and-IAEAMinistry of Health.

Fresh revelations cast doubt over reliability of Iraq birth defect study http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/fresh-doubts-over-reliability-iraq-study 16 Oct 13  Trust in the findings of a study into rates of congenital birth defects in Iraq, undertaken by the WHO and Iraqi Ministry of Health, has continued to decline after interventions from three former UN officials. ICBUW continues to argue that full transparency is the only way for the WHO and Iraqi Ministry of Health to rebuild the study’s credibility. Continue reading

October 17, 2013 Posted by | Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Cover-up by World Health Organisation, of Iraq birth defects?

IAEA-and-WHOThe publication of this ‘summary document’ on the World Health Organisation’s website has raised questions from independent experts and former United Nations and WHO officials, who question the validity of its findings and its anonymous authorship.

There is definitive evidence of an alarming rise in birth defects, leukaemia, cancer and other carcinogenic diseases in Iraq after the war. Looking at the stark difference between previous descriptions of the WHO study’s findings and this new report, it seems that someone, somewhere clumsily decided that they would not release these damning findings, but instead obscure them.”

How the World Health Organisation covered up Iraq’s nuclear nightmare http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/oct/13/world-health-organisation-iraq-war-depleted-uranium by Nafeez Ahmed  Ex-UN, WHO officials reveal political interference to suppress scientific evidence of postwar environmental health catastrophe

Last month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a long awaited document summarising the findings of an in-depth investigation into the prevalence of congenital birth defects (CBD) in Iraq, which many experts believe is linked to the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by Allied forces. According to the ‘summary report’:

“The rates for spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital birth defects found in the study are consistent with or even lower than international estimates. The study provides no clear evidence to suggest an unusually high rate of congenital birth defects in Iraq.”

Jaffar Hussain, WHO’s Head of Mission in Iraq, said that the report is based on survey techniques that are “renowned worldwide” and that the study was peer reviewed “extensively” by international experts.

Backtrack

But the conclusions contrasted dramatically from previous statements about the research findings from Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) officials involved in the study. Earlier this year, BBC Newsspoke to MOH researchers who confirmed the joint report would furnish “damning evidence” that rates of birth defects are higher in areas experiencing heavy fighting in the 2003 war. In an earlypress release, WHO similarly acknowledged “existing MOH statistics showing high number of CBD cases” in the “high risk” areas selected for study. Continue reading

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Iraq, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

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