Uranium Weapons - Does anyone care about our planet?
We have seen governments and military refuse to accept that uranium based weapons have been used in all the theatres of war. Only when independent tests and conclusive evidence is provided do these authorities back down. We have seen this in the Balkans, Kuwait, and Iraq. We now have good evidence from Afghanistan with further news of a leaked German document. Now we only have three more to go, Lebanon, Gaza and Pakistan. We already know what the final outcome will be but it takes time for such authorities to admit to their cover ups and lies
Once the cat is out of the bag we see a rush of activity by those governments to apply pressure to the UNEP and WHO to go out into the field to check the levels of contamination (as if they don’t know already). The respective teams return to their headquarter and in conjunction with the governments, ICRP and IAEA prepare a well worded document declaring that there were no significant findings and that the levels that were found meet with normal background radiation. They then repeat that the traces of depleted uranium or enriched uranium that were found were insignificant and all fall within permitted levels and do not pose any risk to troops or the civilian population. What they don’t tell you is that the figures are all unrealistic and that their methodology of using the ICRP model is totally flawed and outdated when dealing with DU or Low Level Radiation (LLR), especially when it has been inhaled.
Leuren Moret raised awareness in one of her reports regarding the ICRP Model:
Based on 550 epidemiological studies of exposed populations, an independent low-level ionizing radiation report for the European Parliament, the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) report has stated that chronic exposure to low-level ionizing radiation is:
“…up to 1000 times more biologically damaging than the International Committee on Radiation Protection (ICRP) standards and risk model predict”.
The ICRP standards and risk model are based on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb studies, which were deceptively conducted by the U.S. Government, in order to protect the future development of a nuclear weapons program.
Since the commencement of the current series I have copied all these press release to the following : Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations - Dr Riyad Mansour - Ambassador and Permanent Observer.
Dr Hussein Abdel-Razzak Al Gezairy - WHO Regional Director - East Med and Respective Country Representatives. It was my intention to communicate only with those directly responsible for the Middle East region. I had hoped that in doing so this would generate some form of response as they work and live in the areas where Depleted and Enriched weapons have been used. One would also assume that they would pass these reports up to their higher authority in the UN and WHO headquarters. All of my emails have also been copied to the respective country representatives for The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Red Crescent, Norwegian Refugee Council and the Middle East Media. I have since emailed the Islamic Human Rights Commission with copies of the series as it is the Islamic Nations that have taken the full brunt of this onslaught.
To date I have not heard from any of those who control the region or the media despite the fact that each and every day weapons with uranium components are being used, Each and every day people are dying from their usage and the medical statistics in each of their respective regions are showing sharp rises in many forms of cancers, diabetes, infertility and genetic mutations resulting in gross birth defects. I concluded my email to the above as follows:
“All my emails to you will be kept on record as evidence that you all have been notified along with your respective lack of responses......maybe one day you will be called to give evidence in an International Court.......then what will you say?
I believe the use of depleted and enriched uranium must now be labelled as the greatest genocide ever to exist and will be ongoing. With a half life of 4.5 billion years the future is rather bleak to say the least.
There is a direct link between the inhalation, ingestion and absorption of depleted and enriched uranium contamination in the entire Middle Eastern region and the corresponding medical statistics that are showing up since these weapons were used. The contamination as we have learnt does not respect international borders and therefore the problem has now become a global issue.
I spoke with Leuren Moret about these frightening statistics and her response gave me a full account of the medical implications. She gave particular reference to the inhalation of Low Level Radiation Nanoparticles:
"Uranium and phosphate structures have a strong chemical affinity for each other. The DNA and the mitochondria are phosphate rich and therefore there is a strong attraction between uranium, the DNA and the mitochondria. Once the uranium has attached to the DNA and or the mitochondria it does damage from the chemical heavy metal effect, the radioactivity released and the particulate effect.
But the greatest damage to the DNA and mitochondria by uranium is the photo-electron effect. Uranium not only releases its own energy in the form of alpha particles and gamma rays, but it absorbs other energy released in the cell and releases that absorbed energy as a shower of photo-electrons that annihilate whatever the uranium is attached to. This was first described by Dr Chris Busby, a Low Level Radiation (LLR) expert for the British Government and the European Parliament.
As a result the very dangerous health effects of uranium exposure it has been reported that large increases in diabetes since 1945 is linked to radiation and specifically uranium exposure. Pregnant women with diabetes, that is untreated, produce very weak babies that develop cancer, heart defects and other birth defects and illnesses. Uranium exposure causes a web of diseases such as neuro muscular disease, diseases of the brain, gastro intestinal illnesses, heavy metal poisoning, skin rashes and dermal contact with the skin causes high increases in melanoma and other skin cancers.
The greatest damage from radiation exposure is to the unborn foetus and this genetic damage to the foetus is passed on to all future generations. Basically uranium exposure is a slow painful death from long lingering illnesses. Surprisingly with depleted uranium (DU) exposure cancers and diabetes have been reported to develop as early as two months after exposure. That is a new feature associated with depleted uranium (DU) as well as multiple cancers in patients that are genetically unrelated. In other words individual cancers form from the effects of individual particles in the victims tissues. This is due to the particulate effect from the very tiny nanoparticles of depleted uranium.
Burning uranium from dirty bombs, dirty missiles and dirty bullets produce a radioactive gas composed of very tiny particles of uranium oxide that are produced when the shells leave the gun barrel and throughout its trajectory to the impact sites. From this impact site large volumes of radioactive gas are produced that escape into the atmosphere where they are carried locally, across border, and around the world in a few weeks. They remain suspended in the atmosphere until they are rained out into the earth’s environment, usually within two months. The depleted uranium (DU) particle contaminates the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.
The tissues in our bodies filter out the depleted uranium particles from the blood and cause a web of diseases called “Gulf War Syndrome”. Radiation is different. It respects no borders, no socio economic class, and no religion. There is no way to turn it off and no way to clean it up. It’s the weapon that keeps giving and keeps killing. The half life of depleted uranium is 4.5 billion years. It is the “Trojan Horse” of nuclear war. All of the above information has been provided by Leuren Moret and Dr Chris Busby for whom I have great respect.
Professor Katsuma Yagasaki, a scientist at the Ryukyus University, Okinawa, Japan. In his article - Depleted Uranium Shells, the Radioactive Weapons - Perpetuation of War Damage by Radiation wrote:
Internal Exposure - When uranium burns into particles, it will enter human bodies ingested with drinking water and food, or inhaled with air. In this case, the whole radiation and chemical toxicity will be released in the body. Effects of chemical toxicity differ according to the state of uranium, whether it is water-soluble or not, but there is no difference in its harmfulness as radiation.
A depleted uranium particle of ten micrometers in diameter would release one alpha particle in every 2 hours, totalling more than 4,000 in a year. Alpha rays continue to injure human cells, giving no time for the injured cells to heal. Further, Uranium-238 decays into a daughter nucleus thorium-234, whose half-life is 24.1 day, and Th-234 decays into a granddaughter nucleus protactinium-234, whose half-life is 1.17 days. Pa-234 then becomes another element (U-234; 0.24 million years of half-life), forming a radioactive chain. Th and Pa release electrons to decay (beta decay). Six months later, Th and Pa will have reached “radioactive equilibrium,” having the same radiation dose as U-238. At this stage, the penetrated DU particles now emit alpha particles, beta particles twice as much as alpha, and gamma rays accompanied with each decay.
As alpha particles do not travel farther than 40 micrometers, the whole damage will be given to the flesh 40 micrometers in radius. The annual radiation dose received by the exposed area of the flesh 40 micrometers in radius would amount to 10 sievert (as described later) only by alpha ray emitted from a depleted uranium particle of ten micrometers in diameter, ten thousand times higher than the dose limit.
One alpha particle passes hundred thousand atoms before it stops, blowing out hundred thousand electrons constituting a molecule. The destruction (ionization) of molecules will damage DNA, or will induce mutation in the cellular structure itself. There will be a great possibility of only one depleted uranium particle causing cancers and organ disorder. With the half-life of DU being 4.5 billion years, there will be almost no change in the rate of alpha emission 10,000 or 100,000 years later. This means once DU is inside the body, one will remain exposed to radiation as long as he/she lives unless it is discharged, while the
environment continues to be polluted forever.
Regrettably, investigations carried out by the World Health Organization and other institutions do not go deep into the realities of internal exposure. For example, the U.S. Department of Defense states that it does not find relationship between DU and the cancer incidence in Iraq (from a scientific report made by the Research and Development Corporation on cancers and DU on the Pentagon budget).
The investigations conducted by the WHO and European Community made the same conclusion. These researches determine that the radiation level found in Balkan and Iraq is not harmful to health. Yet in reality in both places there are many cases of babies born with birth defects and the high incidence of cancers. What is the purpose of those researches? It is fair to say that their role
is to cover up the facts about the damage caused by DU and the responsibility for the use of atrocious weapons. Meanwhile, a non-governmental organization called Uranium Medical Research Center conducted a urine test instead of the environmental research, and found the presence of high levels of uranium in Afghan citizens.
Looking into DU munitions in terms of radiation they produce, they have two
(A) First, the used amount of radioactive atoms of DU weapons dispersed into environment in the real wars was far beyond that of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is estimated that in the First Gulf War, 320 to 800 tons of DU were used, scattering indeed 14,000 to 36,000 times more radiation than in Hiroshima. In the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, at least 500 tons of DU shells were said to be dropped.
(B) Second, while most of the radiation released by the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki had very short half-life periods, DU has an extremely long half-life of 4.5 billion years. Dose amount of DU will last in the same level of as ever even after tens of thousands years. Residents in the DU-affected area will have to live forever, for generations to generations, under threat of radiation. Humankind has never experienced such horrible damage of war. Any radioactive weapons, as well as nuclear weapons, must never be allowed to use.
I would like to thank Prof Katsuma Yagasaki for his help and dedication in trying to prohibit uranium based weapons, especially DU.
Professor Malcolm Hooper, advisor to British Gulf war vets and Emeritus Professor of Medical Chemistry provided an overview of possible paths of toxic DU exposure to veterans. Most of these paths have been poorly studied if at all. Hooper noted the significance of recent research demonstrating that alpha-radiation induced cell damage can be passed on by biological action to adjacent cells, multiplying the damage. He underlined the “don’t look, don’t find” problem with current medical research and the reality experienced by veterans.
Baghdad University Professor of Molecular Biology Huda Ammash reviewed studies undertaken since 1996 by Iraq to inventory soil, water, air, plant, and wild animal samples from 200+ sites for evaluation for DU. She showed tables describing increased cancer incidence statistics, and informed us that Basra province, where most DU munitions were fired, accounts for 2/3 of the recorded increases in Iraq’s post-war cancer mortality.
UK Ministry of Defence quote on their webpage: “Inhalation of insoluble material presents a third and predominantly radiological risk from material lodging in the lung and increasing the lifetime risk of cancer. There may also be cause for concern arising from the transport of DU from the lung to the lymph nodes”. “Inhaled DU particles, dependent on their size, may not rapidly disperse by natural processes and may remain lodged in the lungs. The consequences of this in humans are uncertain. Animal studies have shown some evidence of radiation induced fibrosis of tracheo-bronchial lymph nodes after inhalation exposures to U. McDiarmid suggests that further studies of the potential neurocognitive effects of DU are warranted in the light of evidence that DU crosses the blood-brain barrier in rats”,
Tedd Weyman, BSW, MEd (HROD), Deputy Director and Field Investigations
Team Lead - The Uranium Medical Research Centre – Toronto, Canada with field studies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.
Tedd during his investigation in Afghanistan collected post-ballistic debris samples at a Taliban army depot bombed by Operation Enduring Freedom on the outskirts of Jalalabad. The bombsite was confirmed by laboratory analysis to contain non depleted uranium at levels elevated 57 times normal.
Again we see evidence emerge that follows the same pattern time and time again. Tedd’s samples revealed Non DU which corresponds with Dr Chris Busby’s findings in both Lebanon and Gaza. It is remarkable that the governments responsible for these respective attacks still deny the use of uranium based weapons. The victims in these areas of conflict are not only the innocent civilians but also the military forces taking part. Basically the military is killing its own men by contamination. It was interesting when Doug Rokke once made a statement regarding the troops “If you go to war you will die”. When I spoke with Doug recently he told me that we are looking at a potential figure of around one million military men being disabled. Many of them will fall victim to the consequences of uranium based weapons. These men that risked their lives have been totally abandoned on the issue of Low Level Radiation inhalation. Why would anyone want to join the armed forces under the current US weapons programme? When will the respective governments accept their liability?
Tedd Weyman in his “Twelve Year Too Late “ article pointed out that two governments reports from the US and Canada are an acknowledgement how these two governments failure to conduct reliable DU studies is a calamity for veterans. Both Defense Departments admit significant limitations in their laboratories’ abilities to carryout radiological and bio-assay screening programs and glaring weaknesses in clinical, DU follow-up programs. These papers and the U.S. DOD’s Environmental Exposure Reports on DU in the Gulf and the Balkans reveal, by their own admissions, the use of inadequate testing equipment, a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of metabolised uranium and radiation dose effects, and sub-standard scientific procedures.
Later in his article he draws reference to NATO, CDC, NRC, IOM the UN’s subsidiary agencies (WHO, UNEP, IAEA), and the U.S. Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments. He points out that veterans have to face a myriad of biased opinions and carefully constructed “facts”. The supposed, responsible objectivity of these organisations is belied over and over again by their incessant efforts to write reports to substantiate pre-determined conclusions.
Chris Busby gave more convincing evidence when he reported new findings of Uranium in the air filter from the engine of an ambulance which was driven in the Lebanon in 2006 until it was shot up on day 16 of the conflict between Hizbollah and the Israel Defence Force. The report also contains further analysis of soil samples which confirm the presence of enriched uranium. Analysis of the filter contents by Harwell Scientifics unequivocally reveals the presence of enriched Uranium (EU), confirming findings of the same material in two bomb craters in the Lebanon. As previously reported on his web site, the crater samples have been analysed by two laboratories in England and Wales with very similar results.
Chris Busby’s report is impressive to say the least. It clearly shows factual evidence as follows - The image below reveals the presence of a hot particle, probably about 80 microns in diameter. Two such particles were found by exposing half of a single piece of CR39 plastic the size of a microscope slide to part of the air filter for 15 hours. (The other half of the CR39 was used as a control and was not in contact with the filter.) In other words, two particles were found in about one square inch of the filter medium.
Most of the Uranium particles created by the impact of Uranium weapons are far smaller than 80 microns. Smaller particles will have passed through the filter fabric, especially those around 1 micron in diameter which are the greatest part of the particles arising from Uranium weapons. We are therefore seeing only the merest indication of the material that is available for people and animals to inhale. In the interests of public health it is vital that methods of monitoring the entire region are deployed with urgency
Because of the complexity of the evidence and the broad area that it covers I will issue another article on the medical/ health aspect of both DU and EU weapons (Part 5). After that I will dedicate one whole section to the very large group of War Vets from the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza and of course we can now expect War Vets from Israel who will be adding their problems to the long list of other international military personnel. I also know that as a result of uranium based weapons being used more recently in Pakistan their members will soon be added to the list. It is also essential that we cover the huge civilian populations around the many areas of conflict which amount to millions.
To conclude: This war against government neglect and lack of credibility will only be won by the combined effort of the independent experts and those that bring such horrific stories into the open. People power can also play a significant role by lobbying your own governments and members of Congress/Parliament. It is your duty of care as a global citizen to protect our planet and all those that live in its environs.
Peter Eyre – Middle East Consultant 11/8/2009