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depleted uranium

"The Iraqi freedom is the freedom for them to accept our radioactive waste," said Rokke, who himself suffers from symptoms he blames on depleted uranium exposure..."

Depleted uranium is a heavy metal, so dense that the 320 tons of it used in the first Gulf War could be compressed into a 8-foot cube. It is also tougher than tungsten and penetrates buildings and armor-plated vehicles. When it explodes and burns on impact it raises smoke and dust...

"...A recent study in Germany suggested that uranium molecules can travel to every part of the body, including to the sperm and eggs and that this increases the probability of cancer and damage to genes. Soldiers who claimed to have been exposed to depleted uranium in the first Gulf war reported that their children had been born with deformed ears and toes and some suffered from bladder problems. Though the work was peer-reviewed, many scientists have dismissed the study as unscientific and not being properly thought out. ..." Guardian Friday April 25, 2003

by Sally CarlessCommon Dreams
July 13th, 2004
American troops are coming home poisoned -- not by Saddam -- but by their own government's weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction.

Robert Fisk on Wednesday March 26, 2003

2may19iraq.html Alice Thomson in southern Iraq , Telegraph 19/05/2003 - Zaira is eighteen months old. Her family comes from the Iran/Iraq border, which is littered with depleted uranium tips. Her mother tells us that she suffered six miscarriages before having Zaira - her only child - who has congenital deformities. The baby became so ill that she refused to breastfeed, so her mother gave her powdered baby milk - and now Zaira has diarrhoea and violent stomach cramps.
In the cancer ward children lie limply on their beds. There are no therapies for them, only pain killers. Unicef hands out milk powder, nutritional biscuits and basic drugs..."

John Pilger 28 Nov 2002 "... Time and again, the real reason for killing innocent people is obfuscated, made to vanish from the news. Who speaks of the depleted uranium that the Americans will use against Iraq, a country already suffering an epidemic of cancer as a result of the last use of this weapon of mass destruction by America and Britain in 1991? Who recalls the truth in the Medical Education Trust report that a quarter of a million Iraqis died during and in the immediate aftermath of the so-called Gulf war? Who knows about the nation of infants who, as Unicef has reported, have perished as a result of a medieval blockade run from Washington and Whitehall?..."

July 3 2006 ~ depleted uranium ".....Depleted uranium aerosols will permanently contaminate vast regions and slowly destroy the genetic future of populations living in those regions, where there are resources which the US must control, in order to establish and maintain American primacy. Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon that keeps killing. The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth. (See Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War )

This is Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, director of the oncology center at the largest hospital in Basra, speaking in 2003 at a peace conference in Japan. .." Free

November 27 2005 ~"You, who have used nuclear weapons against innocent people, who have used uranium ordnance in Iraq, should be tried as war criminals in courts," Ahmadinejad said Saturday in an apparent reference to the United States. The Iranian President was referring to the most recent U.S. scandal of using artillery shells packed with depleted uranium against Iraqi civilians in Fallujah. Since the war was launched in 2003, the U.S. occupying forces fired at least 120 tons of shells packed with depleted uranium. ..."Al Jazeera

September 28 2005 ~ Depleted uranium tests for US troops returning from Iraq Independent "US troops returning from Iraq are for the first time to be offered state-of-the-art radiation testing to check for contamination from depleted uranium...Campaigners such as the British-based Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU), cite other studies which suggest a risk. In 2003,New Scientist reported that a study by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, found that human bone cells could suffer genetic damage when exposed to DU, even at levels deemed to be non-toxic.
Gerard Matthew has no doubts about the effect of DU. The former member of the New York National Guard served in Iraq from April to September 2003. On his return he was not offered testing until a New York newspaper offered to arrange it for him and some friends. "[With the military] it never came up. They suppressed the whole DU thing," he said.
Mr Matthew, who said he was found to have considerable radiation exposure, said two years on he suffers from migraines, erectile dysfunction and a swollen face - conditions that have developed since he returned from Iraq. But his conviction about the dangers of DU was fixed when his daughter, Victoria Claudette, was born with only two digits on her right hand.
Whatever debate may be going on among scientists, Mr Matthew is convinced his daughter - conceived the month after he returned from Iraq - suffered because of his own exposure to DU. "It's concealment," he said. "We have 18 and 19-year-old coalition forces out there fighting and they should not be exposed to this." ...." Independent

December 15 2004 ~ depleted uranium. "veterans of the 1991 Gulf War are signing up to take the world's most precise test for determining exposure to depleted uranium. The U.S. government advertises a test for its veterans of that war too. But the test that it offers can't detect uranium in low amounts, has a high error rate and uses equipment that's less sensitive and accurate than the machines the British are using. ..Randall Parrish, a scientist who played a big role in developing the British test, says he can't understand why the United States is satisfied with an inferior test..Until scientists can reliably determine who was exposed and who was not, they can't prove or disprove links between depleted uranium and individual veterans' health problems....British testing officials say they've had no inquiries about their methods or procedures from the U.S. government, despite a promise by Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to look into these programs and compare them with proce-dures used by the U.S. military."

November 17 2004 ~ Gulf War Syndrome - What are the possible causes?

November 2 2004 ~ The British have admitted to the use of 9 tons of uranium in the 2003 war

Oct 10 2004 ~ Presidents lies feed terrorism

By ROBERT KOEHLER New Hampshire Sunday News "....the case for pre-emptive invasion, carpet-bombed cities, occupation, torture; open-ended imprisonment, the slaughter of women and children, and the contamination of two countries with several thousand tons of depleted uranium dust, exposure to which is linked to a ghastly array of health problems, including leukemia, lung cancer, liver disease, bone disease and birth defects. In my opinion, terrorism begins with murdered language. Whats intolerable about listening to Bush is the airtightness of the lie he constructs out of the shredded language of human hope. ..."

Sept 24 2004 ~ U.S. troops and Iraqi citizens have high uranium levels in their bodies

from the tons of U.S. munitions containing depleted uranium that have been deployed in Iraq; Pressing Issues

Sept 13 2004 - "....While Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have touted the "clean" weapons used in Iraq, the fact is that aerial cluster bombs and free-fire zones have continued to be part of present day military operations.

Villages throughout Iraq, from Hilla to Fallujah, have borne and are bearing US attacks that take a heavy civilian toll. Occasionally, criticisms of the type of ordnance used in Iraq found its way into the mainstream press, especially when left-over cluster bomblets looking like yellow food packages blow up in children's hands or depleted uranium weapons are dropped inadvertently on British soldiers. However, questions about the immorality of "shock and awe" bombing strategy have been buried deeper than any of the cluster bomblets."

Sept 1 2004

San Francisco Bay View

Where is the PSR position paper on depleted uranium?

An open letter to Physicians for Social Responsibility concerning the issues raised in Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets by Leuren Moret (Bay View 8/18), which has drawn thousands of internet responses

Dear Friends,

We all agree that the use of DU (depleted uranium) by the U.S. military should be suspended until it is conclusively proven that this material does NOT cause cancer and birth defects. The index of suspicion is too high to ignore. Somehow the debate has gotten focused on personalities rather than on practical steps to reduce the potential for irreversible harm by DU to the gene pool of all species.

Physicians for Social Responsibility is in a unique position to influence public debate on this issue and bring it to the fore. I approached the leadership of PSR in January 2002, prior to the invasion of Iraq, and begged for some public statement by PSR on the dangers of DU. At that time I was told that a paper was in preparation and that the subject was too controversial to take on strongly and that PSR funders were sensitive on the issue and must not be offended.

Now, two and a half years and untold amounts of radioactivity in Iraq later, new and terrifying data are coming out and being promulgated by Leuren Moret and others. Instead of responding to the urgency of the situation suggested by her figures, she is attacked, and the PSR leadership is trying to undercut her credibility and squelch the debate. Bob Gould tells me that a PSR position paper on DU is in preparation - same thing I heard in January 2002.

Given PSRs prestige and history as a leader in controlling nuclear weapons, the silence is unconscionable. It amounts to collusion with the Pentagon line that DU is harmless. Meanwhile, children in Iraq play on radioactive tanks and women carry water to their families in radioactive buckets. The military even refuses to post warning signs on these objects because to do so would admit that the stuff is dangerous and would have many other consequences.

The stakes are high. DU is a convenient way to get rid of nuclear waste, as a weapon it is cheap and very effective, and a large portion of the U.S. arsenal, both offensive and defensive, now incorporates DU. Admitting its harmfulness would lead to skyrocketing costs in replacing materiel, cleaning up contaminated sites and reparations to victims, at home and abroad.

Yet the alternative, continuing to pollute the planet with DU residue, as we are doing, is running the risk of irreversibly damaging the precious reservoir of DNA on which all life depends.

Where is the PSR position paper?

Carol Wolman, M.D.,, member of PSR since 1964

August 19 2004 "...These pictures are just a few examples of what happens when humans are exposed to vast amounts of depleted uranium, said Dennis Kyne, a former US Army sergeant ....Capt. Doug Rokke, who was part of the DU cleanup team, blew the whistle on the use of DU and its fatal effects. The military removed him from his rank and Rokke became a schoolteacher. "People who know about it get railroaded out," Kyne said.
The military, which is still using DU, doesnt want to acknowledge that its killing its own people, Kyne said...."

Any scientific study on DU that doesnt support the militarys agenda is brushed aside and considered invalid, Kyne said.

Depleted Uranium: America's Silent Weapon of Mass Destruction

by Sally Carless, Common Dreams

July 13th, 2004

American troops are coming home poisoned -- not by Saddam -- but by their own government's weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction.

The first reports from soldiers returning from Iraq have come in, and they are testing positive for depleted uranium (DU) in their systems. And these are not just random soldiers many are police officers and fire fighters from New York who serve in the NY Army National Guard. These are the very symbols of what this war was supposedly about.

Depleted uranium is a component of toxic nuclear waste. As such, it is extremely cheap. It is also very effective -- the densest material available on the market, it can smash through tanks as if they were butter. When DU weapons explode, a fine aerosol of radioactive dust (uranium oxide) is formed. This dust -- which remains radioactive for billions of years -- is small enough to be inhaled. Once inhaled, uranium oxides lodge in the body and emit radiation indefinitely. The U.S. military has used hundreds of tons of these weapons - not just in the Iraqi conflict, but also in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, and in the first Gulf War. This dust attaches itself to tanks, clothing and equipment, becomes absorbed in the soil, plants, and water, and is propelled around every time the wind blows. DU powder does not discriminate; it gets into the lungs of Iraqi men, women, and children, as well as in the lungs of American service people. The recently tested soldiers from New York were not even in combat - imagine the amounts of DU waiting to be found in those who were in the midst of fighting and deploying these weapons. Many of the troops currently in Iraq are suffering from "mysterious" symptoms.

Why is it that so many of the troops do not even know what depleted uranium is? Why were they told to camp in areas where DU weapons were used? Why weren't they told that the destroyed Iraqi tanks they pass on their patrols are highly radioactive?

The rates of birth defects and cancer in Iraq have skyrocketed since the first Gulf War. Thousands of veterans from that war have fallen ill with a range of symptoms that have come to be known as Gulf War Syndrome. Common complaints include chronic fatigue, multiple cancers, musculoskeletal pain, neurological damage, signs and symptoms involving skin (including skin rashes and unusual hair loss), sleep disturbances, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal weight loss, upper and lower respiratory problems, memory loss, and chemical sensitivities. Veterans' children suffer increased rates of sickness as well.

Babies whose fathers served in the first Gulf War are 50 percent more likely to have physical abnormalities than those born to soldiers who were not sent to that region, according to a recent study funded by the UK's Ministry of Defense. The study cited increased risks of genital, urinary and renal abnormalities, deformed limbs, bones and muscles. The Gulf War Veterans Association reports that at least 300,000 Gulf War vets have developed incapacitating illnesses. This is the fallout from the supposedly "quick and easy" war that lasted only a few weeks.

While the U.S. military claims Gulf War Syndrome is a mystery, many vets -- and scientists -- believe that depleted uranium is one of the major causes of their ailments. It took the U.S. thirty years to admit that Agent Orange actually did harm our Vietnam vets, so perhaps the military believes it can put off admitting what is already known about DU for many years to come. In the meantime, service people are denied proper care.

Major Doug Rokke (Ret.) led the Pentagon's depleted uranium assessment team, which spent several months in the Persian Gulf in 1990-91 involved in DU cleanup, research, and follow-up medical care for U.S. personnel exposed to DU. Rokke has since become seriously ill, and many on his team have already died. He published his research in an Army pamphlet which, according to Rokke, was never distributed to NATO troops operating in the Balkans or to civilians living in areas bombarded by DU shells. Rokke's research concluded that anyone who comes in contact with DU must get medical attention, including those who fired the weapons, as well as anyone who has been near equipment or structures struck with DU shells.

In 1999 a United Nations subcommittee called for an initiative banning the use of DU worldwide. The initiative died in committee where it was blocked by the U.S. In 2003 the European Parliament called for a moratorium on the use of depleted uranium. Despite the fact that the U.S. Army acknowledges the hazards of DU in a training manual, the Pentagon continues to deny that DU is dangerous.

Saddam's WMDs were not found. But, America's DU weapons continue to contaminate our soldiers and are likely to contaminate the planet for billions of years to come. Our troops have not been informed of the danger they face from DU. The American corporate media remains silent. The politicians are looking the other way. These weapons are being used in our name; these are our tax dollars at work. Who is keeping watch here?

Sally Carless is the founder and director of Global Village School for Peace and Diversity Studies, an international K-12 distance-learning diploma program dedicated to teaching about peace and justice. She can be reached at Additional resources as well as articles documenting the facts stated in this article can be found at and