Uranium Weapons - Does anyone care about our planet? – 6
by Peter Eyre on 12 Sep 2009 0 Comment

This final article is dedicated to the millions who have become victim to the US, UK, NATO and IDF continued use of weapons containing uranium. It is in support of all war veterans and innocent civilians in the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza and now Pakistan. It is dedicated to those thousands that have suffered terrible pain and since died. Can we ever imagine the pain of a mother who has lost her baby at birth or born with terrible disfigurement? Each and every day they are reminded of the consequences of having DU dumped in their backyard. Finally, we have the pain of all those who know DU caused their problem and who are afraid to speak out. If they do, the American Government will not support them or their families.

Americas burning desire to use DU/EU

This article is the most difficult to write as it explains in detail how a country has become contaminated and individuals had their lives turned upside down by the deplorable use of weapons containing uranium. Beyond this human factor, we also have to look at how such local conflicts become a global issue and how the instigators have no regard for their own military forces or the masses of innocent civilians.

I think it appropriate to repeat those terrible words once uttered by Henry Kissinger (former US Secretary of State): “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Perhaps a similar understanding exists when our respective governments use uranium based weapons knowing their own troops are going to become victim of its aerosol contamination. Doug Rokke put this in true perspective when he said that if you send your sons or daughters into a war zone “They will die.”

I find incredible the massive recruitment drive currently underway in the UK; recruitment teams set up in main shopping centres and are always surrounded by young guys. This is particularly relevant in low income / high unemployment areas. They target these young guys and before they are 19 years (or less) they are out in the battlefield with nerves of steel but no experience. Particularly saddening was a new soldier only 18 years of age who arrived in Afghanistan and within one week went out on his first patrol and was killed (lambs to the slaughter).

So what lies ahead for these soldiers, both young and old? They will be placed in an environment over which they have no control and no protection from the ravages of uranium based weapons. Why are they fighting in far away places? Is it really to protect America or could it be something more sinister like economic greed for a very lucrative TAPI pipeline? Either way your country truly doesn’t care for you or for what happens to you.

Dustin Brim died at 22 of very aggressive cancers. Just ask the many thousands of returned vets, some of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice, how they are being cared for? Will their government accept that WAR SYNDROME is a direct result of uranium aerosols used extensively in all theatres of war? Let’s look at this in more detail.

Inhalated nano-particle aerosols of DU/LLR are extremely complex. Insoluble DU particles deposited in the respiratory bronchioles and alveoli are cleared much more slowly, and, therefore, would be expected to deliver a higher radiation dose to the lung from alpha radiation. Once DU/LLR has entered the blood an irreversible cycle commences. The tissues in our bodies filter out the depleted uranium particles from the blood and cause a web of diseases called “Gulf War Syndrome.”  What can a victim of such a syndrome expect? 

Leuren Moret was once asked if exposure to depleted uranium affects the psychological makeup when veterans come home. Her response: Depleted uranium are particles that form at very high temperatures. They are uranium oxides that are insoluble. They are at least 100 times smaller than a white blood cell, so when the soldiers breathe, they inhale them. The particles go through the nose, through the olfactory and into the brain, and it messes up their cognitive abilities, thought processes. It damages the mood-control mechanism in the brain. Four soldiers at Fort Bragg came back from Afghanistan, and within two months, those four had murdered their wives. This is part of the damage to the brain from the radiation and the particles.

“The soldiers from Gulf War I in a group of 67 soldiers who came back, they had DU in their equipment, in their clothes, in their bodies, in their semen, and they had normal babies before they went over there to war. They came back and the VA did a study. Of 251 Gulf War Veterans in Mississippi, in 67 percent of them, their babies born after the war were deemed to have severe birth defects. They had brains missing, arms and legs missing, organs missing. They were born without eyes. They had horrible blood diseases. It's horrific”.

“If you want to look at something, Life magazine did a photo essay which is still on the Internet. It’s called ‘The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm.’ You should look at that - oh, my God, the post-Gulf War babies playing with their brothers and sisters who are normal. Basically, it’s like smoking crack, only you’re smoking radioactive crack. It goes straight into the blood stream. It’s carried all throughout the body into the bones, the bone marrow, and the brain. It goes into the foetus, it’s a systemic poison and a radiological.”

It is fact that no matter who turns up with evidence that uranium based weapons are a significant danger to our health, they still keep manufacturing them and using them in every theatre of war. Even hardline critics refuse to accept peer reviewed journals such as that by biochemist Diane Stern of the Northern Arizona University who stated that “recent studies should make the issue hard to ignore”. Her results - published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at a recent Society of Toxicology conference - established that when cells are exposed to uranium, the uranium binds to DNA, and the cells mutate. She said “exposure during the Gulf wars may link to increased cancers and birth defects in soldiers and in civilian survivors of exposure in the Middle East”. I have no doubt that Diane, like many before her, will be removed from office for revealing the truth (her research was published in the journals Mutagenesis and Molecular Carcinogenesis).

The First Gulf War was when Depleted Uranium (DU) was used extensively. It became apparent to US senior military staff that DU had created a major problem. Military, DU was extremely effective, but it had severe consequences on the environment and health effects on military personnel and innocent civilians.

Doug Rokke said: “I was assigned to the DU assessment team as the team health physicist and medic by directive of Headquarters Department of the Army in Washington, DC via a message sent to the theatre commander during March 1991. What we found can be explained in three words: ‘OH MY GOD.’

“According to official documents each uranium penetrator could loose up to 70% of its mass on impact creating fixed and loose contamination with the remainder passing through the equipment or structure to lie on the terrain. On-site impact investigations suggest that the mass loss is about 40% which forms fixed and loose contamination leaving about 60% of the initial mass of the penetrator in the solid or pencil form.

“Equipment contamination included uranium oxides, other hazardous materials, unstable unexploded ordnance, and by-products of exploded ordinance. US Army Materiel Command documents sent to us during ODS stated the oxide was 57% insoluble and 43% soluble with at least 50% was respirable. In addition other radioactive materials were detected that could pose a risk through inhalation, ingestion, or wound contamination. In most cases except for penetrator fragments, contamination was inside destroyed equipment or structures, on the destroyed equipment, or within 25 meters of the equipment.

“After we returned to the United States myself and two others with assistance wrote the Theater Clean up plan which was reportedly passed up through US Department of Defense officials to the US Department of State and consequently to the Emirate of Kuwaiti. Today, it is obvious that none of this information regarding clean up of extensive DU contamination ever was given to the Iraqis. Consequently, although we knew there were and still are substantial hazards existing within Iraq they have been ignored by the United States and Great Britain for political and economic reasons”.

Iraqi, Albano-Kosovar, and Serbian representatives have asked numerous times for DU contamination management and medical care procedures, but they have been continuously rebuffed by USofficials. Although residents of Vieques, who are US citizens, have also asked for medical care and completion of environmental remediation, DOD officials have not responded. Dr. Bernard Rostker, Assistant Secretary of the Army, recently said that he did not see any reason why the United States should tell anyone where DU was used in Kosovo. Consequently military personnel and civilians have been exposed.”

Doug’s article went on to say: The probable hazards were known before the use of depleted uranium munitions during the Gulf war as official documents substantiate. A United States Defense Nuclear Agency memorandum written by LTC Lyle that was sent to our team in Saudi Arabia stated that -
As Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), ground combat units, and civil populations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq come increasingly into contact with DU ordnance, we must prepare to deal with potential problems. Toxic war souvenirs, political furor, and post conflict clean up (host nation agreement) are only some of the issues that must be addressed. Alpha particles (uranium oxide dust) from expended rounds is a health concern but, Beta particles from fragments and intact rounds is a serious health threat, with possible exposure rates of 200 millirads per hour on contact.

This memorandum, the reports that we prepared immediately after the Gulf War as a part of the depleted uranium assessment project to recover DU destroyed and contaminated US equipment, the previous research, and other expressed concerns led to the publication of a United States Department of Defense directive signed by General Eric Shinseki to quote:
"Provide adequate training for personnel who may come in contact with depleted uranium equipment.
Complete medical testing of personnel exposed to DU contamination during the Persian Gulf War.
Develop a plan for DU contaminated equipment recovery during future operations."

It is thus indisputable that United States Department of Defense officials were and are still aware of the unique and unacceptable hazards associated with using depleted uranium munitions.

Consequently, I was recalled to active duty in the US Army and assigned to the US Army Chemical School located at Fort McClellan, Alabama as the DU Project Director and tasked with developing training and management procedures. The project included a literature review; extensive curriculum development project involving representatives from all branches of the US Department of Defense and representatives from England, Canada, Germany, and Australia; and basic research at the Nevada Test Site located northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, to validate management procedures.

The products of the DU project included three training curricula:
Tier I: General Audience
Tier II: Battle Damage and Recovery Operations
Tier III: Chemical Officer / NCO

Three video tapes:
- Depleted Uranium Hazard Awareness
- Contaminated and Damaged Equipment Management
- Operation of the AN/PDR 77 Radiac Set and
- The draft DU and LLRM contamination management procedures including a United States Army Regulation: Management of Equipment Contaminated with Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities and an United States Army Pamphlet Handling Procedures for Equipment Contaminated with Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities.

Although, these products with approval of all participants were all completed and ready for distribution by January 1996, US Army, US Department of Defense, British, German, Canadian, and Australian officials disregarded repeated directives and did not implement or only implemented portions of the training or management procedures. Only a few US personnel have been trained. The training and management plan have not been given to all individuals and representatives of governments whose populations and environment have affected by DU contamination. These failures have been verified by US General Accounting Office investigators and the report was published during March 2000. 

Doug and his team were put under tremendous pressure by the careful wording of a memo that placed an emphasis on how important DU weaponry was to the US military and that their final report should not jeopardise DU usage by revealing such sensitive issues.  

A second memo around the same time was written by Gregory K. Lyle of the Defense Nuclear Agency: “Alpha particles (uranium oxide dust) from expended rounds is a health concern but, Beta particles from fragments and intact rounds is a serious health threat, with a possible exposure rate of 200 millirems per hour on contact.” The memo warns that “specific DoD guidance concerning the disposition of DU material in the post combat period/restoration phase is currently lacking.”

We see time and time again serious attempts by the powers that be to cover up, not only the extreme dangers of DU, but also in the creation of their own chosen experts that tell the world that DU is safe. They manipulate the UNEP, WHO and DOD’s and leave us with their hidden agenda of WMD. However, the world is now waking up to their evil intentions by saying enough is enough! Educated people around the world now see that WMD has a different meaning: “Weapons of Mass Deception and Weapons of Mass Dependency”. 

Let’s now turn our attention to the war vets returned to their respective countries from many theatres of war. The soldiers that had children prior to going to war fathered perfectly normal children. However since their return there is a higher that normal incidence of still births or babies with terrible disfigurements. This strengthens the link between inhalation of DU aerosols and its ability to alter DNA. The US, UK, NATO and IDF are subjecting their own military personnel to high levels of contamination from the very weapons they are using whilst having no regard for the civilian populations living nearby. These aerosols do not identify international borders and are creating thousands of indirect casualties elsewhere.

Bud Deraps, 82 year old WW2 Navy veteran, said: “Prior to the current war, the Birth Defect Research for Children based in Florida produced a study showing 31 specific birth defects that radiation and other Gulf War exposures could cause in birth defects. They found that the Gulf veterans parented on average 2 to 4 times more defected babies than those who had not served there.”

The Medical Journal of the Basra hospital reported that from 1991 to 2001, there was an increase of 426% in general malignancies, 366% in leukemia’s and 600% in birth defects. With respect to birth defects, the doctors explained that when a person becomes DU contaminated, his or her DNA can be altered, thus, the person is potentially subject to parenting a child with minor to extreme birth anomalies.”

Bud highlighted the fact that in the initial short war a relatively low number of troops died in action (148) but since around 13,000 had died as a result of DU related illnesses. During 2003-2004 massive amounts of DU weaponry were used and contaminated a vast area. Millions of troops and civilians entered this contaminated zone and one can imagine the fallout from aerosol contamination. Other factors would enhance the situation by way of secondary contamination such as from dust storms and helicopter down wash etc. Bud lost his grandson in Iraq at the tender age of 19. 

American, British and NATO soldiers are returning from the battlefield with numerous health problems - cancers, lung and skin problems, cerebral lesions, and badly deformed new-born babies. Prof Selma Al Taha, Director of a genetic laboratory said “since the war we have significant increase in congenital deformities: hydrocephalus (an abnormal increase in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the cranial cavity, accompanied by enlargement of the skull, forehead and atrophy of the brain), encephalitis, spinal bifida (incomplete closure of the bones of the spinal column, depriving the spinal marrow of protection), but also monstrous deformities of the limbs, and infants born without a head or a heart.”  His colleague, Al Askri, a specialist in nuclear medicine, emphasized “a large increase in thyroid problems and cancers.”
Extensive use of DU by NATO forces in the Balkans has dramatically changed the health statistics. Before the war many locations had typically normal statistics. Since the war things have changed significantly. Kosovo for instance had a 3 x increase in cancers and Bosnia-Herzegovina a 5 x increase, resulting in hundreds of people dying from cancer related illnesses. Many NATO peacekeepers contracted cancer and died.

Doctor Slavko Zdrale said: “a few years ago we started noticing that there was as many as five times the number of people dying of different kinds of cancer as compared to the number of people who had been sick before the war. We worked out that 90% of them came from areas NATO had bombed and from areas where ammunition with uranium was used. Nobody in the international community took much notice until Italian soldiers who were stationed in those areas started dying from cancer-related illnesses.”

Simo Tusevljak, coordinator of the Research and Documentation of War Crimes, stated that “we believe that this was a deliberate attempt by NATO forces to kill as many people as possible. It was also a chance for the West to test new weapons.”

Time and time again we see a dramatic increase in cancers immediately following the use of weaponry containing uranium components. This deception by the authorities has gone beyond the realms of gross neglect and is one of the greatest crimes against humanity ever to have existed and has the potential to exceed the Holocaust many times.


Those who suffered are now creating another Holocaust on their neighbours and themselves (Israelis killing Israelis) as contaminated aerosols do not identify international borders and drift over from Lebanon into Northern Israel and Gaza to adjacent Central and Southern Israel. The world must prohibit without delay the use of any weapon that contains uranium components… these are certainly not conventional. So far only Belgium has had the courage to stand firm against these evil weapons. 

Of all theatres of war, Iraq must take centre stage. This country has been blasted so heavily with uranium based weapons that one cannot even contemplate its future. One man with tears in his eyes accused the West of taking away the “Genetics” of his country. How can we as responsible citizens allow our governments to get away with this mass murder?

Just look at the statistics coming out of Iraq. The level of cancers in children became so high that USAID and an American NGO called Project Hope decided that a specialist children’s hospital had to be built in Basra. Child mortality rates saw 150 out of 1,000 children dying before reaching the age of five. The incidence of childhood cancer was found to be eight to 10 times more common than in the West, and cancer rates in southern Iraq were even higher than the National average.

It seems hypocritical that US/UK forces create this major problem with DU weaponry in Southern Iraq and turn this into a huge PR exercise. The “Basra Children’s Hospital Project” comes under the watchful eye of the US Corps of Engineers. The project was funded through the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund; Project HOPE; and the Spanish government through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project was given to that notorious US Company Bechtel.

In memory of Stefano Melone

Stefano Melone began his service in the Italian Army in 1977. For many years he had been deployed on a host of missions abroad: Lebanon, Albania, Somalia, ex-Yugoslavia and Kosovo. He was a helicopter pilot, but was also assigned to NBC troops.

In February 2000, he was diagnosed with cancer (Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma of the bone, lung and pleura). In August 2000, a military commission acknowledged the link between his illness and the military service abroad, so he applied for a pension. But after many operations, he died on 8 November 2001 in Milan, at the age of 40.

Since then, his wife engaged in a battle to obtain compensation from the Ministry of Defence, together with many other soldiers and families in similar situations. To date, 25 Italian soldiers have died of lymphoma, cancer or leukemia, and 260 are currently ill after missions abroad. Many missions were in countries where depleted uranium has been used, including Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

After three reports and many mistakes, a commission nominated by the Ministry of Defence, eventually acknowledged an increase in lymphoma among soldiers assigned to missions in the Balkans.

Despite that, the Italian Ministry of Defence refuses compensation to their families, let alone admit that depleted uranium has a role in these cases. Hardly any information is given to soldiers currently on missions abroad about the risks they're facing; whoever complains about lack of information is treated as a traitor and marginalised. It’s too expensive and difficult to obtain medical tests and therapies for this kind of health problems. Only few soldiers or families have the courage to stand up and ask for compensation after illness or death.

Paola Melone, Stefano's wife, finally won her battle. On 26 June, in Rome, the magistrates of a local court asked the Ministry of Defence to pay 500.000 Euros in compensation to Stefano Melone's family. For families struggling all these years for their rights, this is a major achievement.

Another promising report came from Anes Alic (Oct 2007), a senior correspondent for ISN Security Watch in Southeastern Europe. Anes revealed an increase in the number of Italian soldiers who served in the Balkans during the 1990s falling seriously ill due to depleted uranium exposure. This is causing public outrage in Italy as the government downplays the problem, widely referred to as ‘Balkan Syndrome.’ The Italian government passed a decree allocating €170 million (US$245 million) in compensation for military personnel who have contracted diseases during service - some 28,000 of them in Balkan missions alone.

Some time ago, an independent enquiry was set up in the UK which called on the Ministry of Defence to admit the existence of Gulf War Syndrome and set aside millions of pounds to compensate sick veterans. Lord Lloyd of Berwick, former law lord heading the inquiry, said it was time for defence staff to stop “assuming blithely that everyone else was wrong” and start restoring the trust and confidence of the Gulf War veterans, who felt “let down and rejected.”

Ian Townsend, secretary general of the Royal British Legion, said: “We asked for an independent public inquiry. The government denied us that.”

Prevailing winds continue to transport these toxic aerosols to every corner of the globe; Europe takes a significant amount of fallout from the Middle East. Wind currents take these aerosols to the US via the polar region. Only the public can object to this outrageous crime.

Finally we come to those many governments, departments and organisations that must be held responsible for their gross neglect in safeguarding the peoples of the world –  to care for their health and environment namely:  United Nations (UN) - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - World Health Organisation (WHO) - International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) -  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - Governments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) – respective Departments of Defence/ Military - The Nuclear Industry - The Pharmaceutical Industry and all those Medical Experts and Institutions who accepted that DU was safe.

One must also add the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to this list, not because of any connection to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) but because of the suffering they have caused around the world by Weapons of Mass Deception and Weapons of Mass Dependency. Shame.

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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