Sunday, July 25, 2010
Posted 2:11 PM
The Tehran Times, The Raw Story, and Russia Today are reporting today that the US and UK used depleted uranium during bombings of Iraq in 2003 and 2004. They are also reporting that the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by U.S. atomic bomb strikes in 1945.
In the wake of America's "shock and awe" bombing campaign to take Baghdad, radiation detectors as far away as the United Kingdom noticed a fourfold spike in radioactivity in the atmosphere. At the time, the US Department of Defense bragged that the substance, a nuclear byproduct with a fraction of the radioactivity as standard uranium, is commonly ingested by Americans, in food, drinking water and the air, allegedly with no ill effects. Officials went on to say its use would cause "no impact on the health of people and the environment."
The U.S. military uses depleted uranium, also known as spent nuclear fuel, in armor-piercing shells and bullets because it is twice as dense as lead. Once these shells hit their target, however, as much as 40 percent of the uranium is released in the form of tiny particles in the area of the explosion. It can remain there for years, easily entering the human bloodstream, where it lodges itself in lymph glands and attacks the DNA produced in the sperm and eggs of affected adults, causing, in turn, serious birth defects in the next generation.
According to the authors of “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009” the Iraqi authorities attempted to scuttle their survey. “[S]hortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested,” the study reports.
Why is the Iraqi government trying to hide the high rates of deformities, cancer and infant mortality? Some reports claim that the Iraqi government is trying to avoid embarrassing the US government, but you have to wonder if this is a deliberate cover-up by allied forces and the Iraqi government is simply cooperating with the cover-up. I also find it very strange that none of the prominent US media outlets seem to have covered any aspect of this story.
The RT news story above also discussed the fact that depleted uranium was used during the first gulf war also. Many have attributed many of the symptoms of "Gulf War Syndrome" to exposure to depleted uranium. Over the years, there have been many reports about the long-term risks of using depleted uranium in weapons. A BBC report from 2001 reported that a team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) was study the links between depleted uranium (DU) and the high incidence of certain diseases in the Iraqi population. But later reports indicate that the WHO report said that depleted uranium weapons posed only a small contamination risk. Dr Mike Repacholi, who oversaw work on the WHO report, said, "You would have to ingest a huge amount of depleted uranium dust to cause any adverse health effect."
These are also not the first reports about the birth defects and cancer in Fallujah. Several stories about the birth defects where previously reported, but the cause was unknown. One report said that the locals thought the cause to be the use of white phosphorus during the bombings.
BBC News Report On Birth Defects:
The Iraqi government, which people have said doesn't want to embarrass the Americans, says there are maybe one or two cases of birth defects per year. BBC went to the hospital in Fallujah, found a pediatrician, and she said she sees 2 or 3 new cases every day, and that adds up to about 1000 per year. Americans are able to say, quite honestly that they are unaware of any official investigation.
The Guardian Also Reported On This Problem:
Every week the Fallujah hospital deals with at least seven cases of birth defects, and the hospital is being overrun with more problems than they can address. Many problems require treatment outside of Iraq. One mother in this video who's daughter needed treatment by a specialist said, "Neither the Americans or anyone else are willing to perform the operation. She's in a lot of pain."
Sky News Also Reported On The Birth Defects:
In this video, the mother of a baby born with two heads described the death of her child. ANother mother described how they made a journey to neighboring Jordan to seek treatment at great expense.
"For years, Fallujah was well-known for being a stronghold for insurgency. Today, these parents have gathered along with their children to send a message, that the town has now become a stronghold for birth defects. Most of the children have brain damage related, limb and eye deformities."
"Some babies are born so deformed that their parents wish their children dead."
"Most of the newborn babies die shortly after birth. Most of them are deformed."
"We have recorded around 200 cases in our organization. Most of these cases are incurable in Iraq. Cataracts are very common here as well, as nerve damage and entire orbit deformity. We call on International charity organizations to help these people."
"We try to help them by filing complaints against US forces, but the US forces say they swill only consider complaints within 3 months of the incident. The problem is how to deal with the birth deformities. In Fallujah, these deformities only turn up after birth. The problem is how to tackle these cases. We call on the International community and International court of justice to set up a tribunal to consider these cases."
"Most of the locals attribute the rise of birth deformities to the use of white phosphorus by the US troops when they launched the biggest bombardment in Fallujah in November 2004. US troops denied the use of phosphorus to kill their enemies in a statement to The Independent newspaper, however they confirmed using it for this purpose in another statement to ABC News."
"Local lawyers are trying to sue the US troops, but there is a legal problem deterring their efforts. Despite the US troop's denial, there is still lack of medical equipment, facilities and expertise to diagnose the real cause of these deformities. Children keep paying heavily for the mistakes of elders."