Will Gaza residents succumb to the same fate as Basra residents – I
by Peter Eyre on 19 Aug 2009 0 Comment

We have seen and heard many sad stories from victims of uranium based weaponry covering so many theatres of war Balkans – Kuwait – Iraq – Afghanistan – Lebanon – Gaza, and now possibly Pakistan. But do we really understand the consequences of these evil weapons that are manufactured in the US and used by all NATO and Israeli forces.

To find the answer we have to look further afield to Iraq, where extensive use of such weapons has decimated the civilian populations at many locations.

The uranium story is so horrific it is extremely difficult for anyone to come to terms with it. The intense pain and suffering for its victims and the final death toll amounts to many thousands, if not millions. We will now look into the experience of medical practitioners in Basra and Southern Iraq, and the data that they provided that was so crucial in painting the uranium story.

Before looking into the evidence provided by the specialists, I would like to pay tribute to those who dedicated their lives into investigating Depleted Uranium and other Uranium weapons, and paid the ultimate price under mysterious circumstances.

We must fully understand that in all of the above theatres of war, the uranium contamination has not only affected their own NATO/IDF military forces, but also innocent civilians in the respective target areas and adjacent countries (including Israel itself). It is the indiscriminate nature of these weapons and the fact that their associated contamination has the ability to travel vast distances that surely labels them as the most horrific evil act against mankind.

The terrible consequences of Depleted Uranium were made available to the media by a Dr. Leonard Dietz who had worked for the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory for 28 years. He was an experimental research physicist in mass spectrometry, and was responsible for developing advanced mass spectrometer instrumentation and new analytical techniques for isotope ratio analysis of uranium and plutonium.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Dr Dietz provided physics support on airborne uranium particles from depleted uranium munitions to Congress, and to environmentalists and researchers investigating the spread and health risks of these radioactive particles. He produced an extremely interesting report titled “Contamination of Persian Gulf War Veterans and Others by Depleted Uranium.”

In his Abstract, he stated: “We develop background information about depleted uranium (DU) and use it to describe a physical model of how on the battlefields in Kuwait and Iraq, a large number of unprotected Gulf War veterans could easily have acquired dangerous quantities of DU in their bodies.”

He concluded: “Alpha, beta and gamma radiations produce the same biological effects on cells and organs, and much of their radiation damage to body tissue can accumulate over the time of exposure. Therefore, it seems reasonable that not only the continuous radiation of body tissue by alpha particles from U-238, but the energetic beta particles and gamma rays from its decay progeny Th-234 and Pa-234, must also be considered when assessing possible cancer risk and genetic damage.”

He was very critical of US Army reports: “The fallout range of airborne DU aerosol dust is virtually unlimited. These micro-particles can be inhaled and ingested easily and that makes them dangerous to human health. Environmental assessments for sites which process DU or test fire DU munitions typically downplay the potential for widespread fallout of DU particles.” 

One such environmental impact study in 1992 by the US Army Ballistics Research Laboratory stated, “Because of the mass and density of the DU particle, it only travels short distances when airborne. These two factors alone preclude the off-site release of DU.”

Dr Dietz disagreed, “This is not true for micrometer-size particles of uranium metal or its oxides. In fact, the transport of airborne DU aerosol particles was well known long before the Army Ballistics Research Laboratory environmental impact study was written, since in 1976 it had been measured up to a distance of 8 km. What may not have been fully appreciated in 1976 was that DU aerosol particles could be transported by wind action over much greater distances.”

We may also note the information provided by British Expert Dr Chris Busby, who under the British Freedom of Information Act managed to bring to British public attention the high rate of airborne uranium contamination registered at the UK’s AWE at Aldermaston, as a result of heavy DU activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. This contamination reached the UK within 7-9 days and resulted in an urgent alarm being passed on to the British Environmental Agency.

Dr Dietz concluded his report stating, “The US Army and the Veterans Administration have shown an unwillingness to investigate health issues associated with the toxicity and radioactivity of inhaled and ingested DU aerosol particles that have become absorbed in the body. Both have refused to test large numbers of veterans for the presence of DU in their bodies”

An astonishingly high rate of birth defects in the families of Gulf War veterans is especially troubling. Laura Flanders reports that the Veterans Administration conducted a state-wide survey of 251 Gulf War veterans’ families in Mississippi. Of their children conceived and born since the war, 67% have illnesses rated severe or have missing eyes, missing ears, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers. Flanders says the birth defects are consistent with the effects of radiation from DU.

Dr Dietz’s Conclusion:
We have shown how easily micrometer particles of DU can spread over a large region and poison many people both radiologically and chemically. The promotion and sale of DU munitions by US arms manufacturers (with US government approval) and by other arms manufacturers to the armies and air forces of many nations, will guarantee that in future conflicts, thousands of soldiers on both sides will inhale and ingest acute doses of DU aerosols, and many in armoured vehicles struck by DU penetrators will receive dangerous doses of non-removable uranium shrapnel in their bodies.

The human cost of using DU munitions in conflicts is not worth the perceived short-term advantages, especially if it results in US veterans and others becoming ill and in genetic defects in their offspring. A comprehensive epidemiological study should be made of all Gulf War veterans and their families, searching for evidence of residual DU in their bodies and for causes of genetic defects in their children. The health issues associated with DU munitions should be investigated and evaluated by independent medical and scientific experts separated completely from the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, National Laboratories, US military services and their contractors.

(To be continued…)


Peter Eyre, a former British Naval officer, worked at NATO headquarters in cryptology, and spent a lot of time in the Middle East and South East Asia as a petroleum consultant; he lives in the UK and writes regularly for the Palestine Telegraph

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