Sherwood Ross / OpEd News.com – 2007-11-24 23:30:30
Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Middle East May Claim More Lives Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Sherwood Ross / OpEd News.com
(November 19, 2007) — By firing radioactive ammunition, the US, UK, and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the US atomic bombing of Japan.
So much ammunition containing depleted uranium (DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, “The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed.”
“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,” Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.
Moret is an independent US scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.
Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional Law, “The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is totally out of control.”
Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, “For every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are thousands more that will be expressed.”
She adds, “the (Iraq) environment now is completely radioactive.”
Dr. Helen Caldicott, the prominent anti-nuclear crusader, has written: “Much of the DU is in cities such as Baghdad, where half the population of 5 million people are children who played in the burned-out tanks and on the sandy, dusty ground.”
“Children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults,” Caldicott wrote. “My pediatric colleagues in Basra, where this ordnance was used in 1991, report a sevenfold increase in childhood cancer and a sevenfold increase in gross congenital abnormalities,” she wrote in her book, “Nuclear Power is not the Answer”(The New Press).
Caldicott goes on to say the two Gulf wars “have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people — particularly children — are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity.”
Because of the extremely long half-life of uranium 238, one of the radioactive elements in the shells fired, “the food, the air, and the water in the cradle of civilization have been forever contaminated,” Caldicott explained.
Uranium is a heavy metal that enters the body via inhalation into the lung or via ingestion into the GI tract. It is excreted by the kidney, where, if the dose is high enough, it can induce renal failure or kidney cancer. It also lodges in the bones where it causes bone cancer and leukemia, and it is excreted in the semen, where it mutates genes in the sperm, leading to birth deformities.
Nuclear contamination is spreading around the world, Caldicott adds, with heaviest concentrations in regions within a 1,000-mile radius of Baghdad and Afghanistan.
These are, notably, northern India, southern Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Gulf emirates, and Jordan.
“Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq, Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia and childhood diabetes,” Moret asserts.
Doug Rokke, formerly the top US Army DU clean-up officer and now anti-DU crusader, says Israeli tankers fired radioactive shells during the invasion of Lebanon last year. US and NATO forces also used DU ammunition in Kosovo. Rokke says he is quite ill from the effects of DU and that members of his clean-up crew have died from it.
As a result of DU bombardments, Caldicott writes, “Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time.”
Like symptoms have been reported among infants born to US service personnel that fought in the Gulf Wars. One survey of 251 returned Gulf War veterans from Mississippi made by the Veterans Administration found 67% of children born to them suffered from “severe illnesses and deformities.”
Some were born without brains or vital organs or with no arms, hands, or arms, or with hands attached to their shoulders.
While US officials deny DU ammunition is dangerous, it is a fact Gulf War veterans were the first Americans ever to fight on a radioactive battlefield, and their children apparently are the first known to display these ghastly deformities.
Soldiers who survived being hit by radioactive ammunition, as well as those who fired it, are falling ill, often showing signs of radiation sickness. Of the 700,000 US veterans of the first Gulf War, more than 240,000 are on permanent medical disability and 11,000 are dead, published reports indicate.
This is an astonishing toll from such a short conflict in which fewer than 400 US soldiers were killed on the battlefield.
Of course, “depleted uranium munitions were and remain another causative factor behind Gulf War Syndrome(GWS),” writes Francis Boyle, a leading American authority on international law in his book “Biowarfare and Terrorism,” from Clarity Press Inc.
“The Pentagon continues to deny that there is such a medical phenomenon categorized as GWS — even beyond the point where everyone knows that denial is pure propaganda and disinformation,” Boyle writes.
Boyle contends, “The Pentagon will never own up to the legal, economic, tortious, political, and criminal consequences of admitting the existence of GWS. So US and U.K. veterans of Gulf War I as well as their afterborn children will continue to suffer and die. The same will prove true for US and US veterans of Bush Jr.’s Gulf War II as well as their afterborn children.”
Boyle said the use of DU is outlawed under the 1925 Geneva Convention prohibiting poison gas.
Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, writes in his “The Sorrows of Empire”(Henry Holt and Co.) that, given the abnormal clusters of childhood cancers and deformities in Iraq as well as Kosovo, the evidence points “toward a significant role for DU.”
By insisting on its use, Johnson adds, “the military is deliberately flouting a 1996 United Nations resolution that classifies DU ammunition as an illegal weapon of mass destruction.”
Moret calls DU “the Trojan Horse of nuclear war.” She describes it as “the weapon that keeps killing.” Indeed, the half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5-billion years, and as it decays it spawns other deadly radioactive by-products.
Radioactive fallout from DU apparently blew far and wide. Following the initial US bombardment of Iraq in 2003, DU particles traveled 2,400 miles to Great Britain in about a week, where atmospheric radiation quadrupled.
But it is in the Middle East, predominantly Iraq, where the bulk of the radioactive waste has been dumped.
In the early Nineties, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority warned that 50 tons of dust from DU explosions could claim a half million lives from cancer by year 2000. Not 50 tons, but an estimated two thousand radioactive tons have been fired off in the Middle East, suggesting the possibility over time of an even higher death toll.
Dr. Keith Baverstock, a World Health Organization radiation advisor, informed the media, Iraq’s arid climate would increase exposure from its tiny particles as they are blown about and inhaled by the civilian population for years to come.
The civilian death toll from the August, 1945, US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been put at 140,000 and 80,000, respectively. Over time, however, deaths from radiation sickness are thought to have claimed the lives of another 100,000 Japanese civilians.
Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based free-lance writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and several wire services and is a contributor to national magazines.)
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“We Are Living Through Another Hiroshima,” Iraq Doctor Says
Sherwood Ross / Op Ed
(November 21, 2007) — As a number of Op Ed readers attacked the credentials of authorities Leuren Moret and Doug Rokke cited in my previous article on radioactive ammunition, here are a few more authorities that support their view the US, Great Britain and Israel are turning the Middle East into a slice of radioactive hell.
There’s a ton of data about this on the Internet for the skeptics: from sources such as the 1999 report of the International Atomic Energy Commission to oncologist members of England’s Royal Society of Physicians to VA hospital nuclear medicine doctors to officials at the Basra maternity and pediatric hospital to reporter Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor. Peterson used a Geiger counter in August 2003 to find radiation readings between 1,000 and 1,900 times normal where bunker-buster bombs and munitions had exploded near Baghdad. After all, a typical bunker bomb is said to contain more than a ton of depleted uranium.
For a concise overview on radioactive warfare, read “DU And The Liberation of Iraq” by Christian Scherrer, a researcher at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, published on Znet on April 13, 2003. Scherrer states:
“Based on the report of the 48th meeting issued by the UN Committee dealing with effects of Atomic radiation on 20th April 1999, noting the rapid increase in mortality caused by DU between 1991 and 1997, the IAEA document predicted the death of half a million Iraqis, noting that “some 700-800 tons of depleted uranium was used in bombing the military zones south of Iraq. Such a quantity has a radiation effect, sufficient to cause 500,000 cases which may lead to death.”
“In 1991 the DU ammunition was mainly used against Iraqi tanks in the desert near Basra, while in the present war DU is being used all over Iraq, even in densely populated areas including the heart of Baghdad, Mosul, Tikrit and other cities.” He adds that, based on IAEA estimates and his previous research, “the death toll may surpass a million deaths over the next few years, with more to follow!”
Scherrer notes, “incidentally, the UN’s Human Rights Commission back in 1996 declared DU a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) and that those who use it are guilty of a crime against humanity. Among its users: the first President Bush, President Bill Clinton, who irradiated the Balkans, and the current occupant of the White House.
Now let’s hear it from Iraqi doctors: Oncologist Dr. Jawad Al-Ali of Basra Hospital and Professor Husam al-Jarmokly of Baghdad University “showed a rapidly increasing death toll in Iraq since 1991 due to cancer and leukemia caused by US radiological warfare,” Scherrer writes, based on their presentation of December 1, 2002 at the Peace Memorial Hall in Hiroshima.
Al-Ali, who is also a member of England°¶s Royal Society of Physicians, is quoted in Feb. 5, 2001, “CounterPunch” as stating, “The desert dust carries death. Our studies indicate that more than 40% of the population around Basra will get cancer. We are living through another Hiroshima.” (Basra is a city of 1.7 million. Does that mean 680,000 people will be stricken?)
The same article also reported since 1990, the incident rate of leukemia in Iraq has grown by more than 600 percent and, similarly, “The leukemia rate in Sarajevo, pummeled by American bombs in 1996, has tripled in the last five years” and “NATO and UN peacekeepers in the region are also coming down with cancer.”
Dr. Zenad Mohammed, employed in the maternity department of the Basra teaching hospital, said in the three-months beginning in August, 1998, 10 babies were born with no heads, eight with abnormally large heads and six with deformed limbs, according to a report on World Socialist Web Site of September 8, 1999. And the British Guardian newspaper reported Basra maternity reported cancer cases shot up from 80 in 1990 to 380 in 1997.
Reporter Phil Gardner quotes Dr. Basma Al Asam, a gynecologist, at Al Manoon hospital, Baghdad, stating: “I’ve been watching this for seven years now and it’s increasing. We’re not just seeing babies born with congenital abnormalities, but very late spontaneous abortions because of congenital defects. In the past we used to see, maybe, one a month. Now it is two or three cases per day.” (Two to three cases a day, h-m-m-m, does that equal about 1,000 a year at this one hospital?)
And from an American doctor: Colonel Asaf Durakovic, formerly chief of nuclear medicine at the VA hospital in Wilmington, Del., said he found uranium isotopes in the bodies of Persian Gulf War veterans. The New York Times reported on January 29, 2001, Dr. Durakovic said he found “depleted uranium, including uranium 236, in 62 percent of the sick gulf war veterans he examined.
He believes that particles lodged in their bodies and may be the cause of their illness.” Once inhaled, Dr. Durakovic noted, “uranium can get into the bloodstream, be carried to bone, lymph nodes, lungs or kidneys, lodge there, and cause damage when it emits low-level radiation over a long period,” the Times reported. The Times article also called attention to the cancer deaths of 24 European soldiers that served as peacekeepers in the Balkans “and the illnesses reported by many others.”
And from a US researcher: Roberto Gwiazda, of the environmental toxicology department at the University of California Santa Cruz, was the lead researcher examining returned Gulf War veterans that had radioactive shrapnel wounds. The university’s “City On A Hill Press” newspaper quotes him as saying, “Of those with radioactive shrapnel wounds, all had significant levels of uranium in their urine seven to nine years after the explosion. Of those who only inhaled the incendiary uranium, a statistically significant number also had high uranium levels.”
And from US veterans: Tom Cassidy, of the 1st Cavalry Division who saw service in Iraq in 2003-05: “After the first gulf war, the level of radiation was 300 times what is considered normal. In this invasion we used even more DU bullets. The effects there are horrible,” he told the UCSC paper. Added Dennis Kyne, from the US Army’s 18th Airborne division and Desert Storm veteran and who suffers from an “undiagnosed illness”: “The scientists call it cell disruption, and they don’t know why it’s happening to veterans, but it’s really radiation sickness, and it’s because the DU is all over.”
Sherwood Ross (email@example.com) has worked as a publicist for the City of Chicago and Nassau County, N.Y., governments; as a news director for the National Urban League; as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News; as a workplace columnist for Reuters; as a media consultant to colleges, universities, law schools and more than 100 national magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Business Week, and Foreign Policy; as a speechwriter for mayors, governors and presidential candidates, and as a radio news reporter and talk show host at WOL, Washington, D.C. He holds an award for “best spot news coverage” for Chicago radio stations in 1963. His degree from the University of Miami was in race relations and he has written a book, “Gruening of Alaska,” a number of national magazine articles and several plays, including “Baron Jiro,” produced at Live Arts Theatre, Charlottesville, Va., and “Yamamoto’s Decision,” read at the National Press Club, where he is a member. His favorite quotations are from the Sermon on The Mount.
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