17/12/04 THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) WEAPONS

www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/1204/du_141204.htm

1.     The Truth About the Use of Depleted Uranium (DU) Weapons by US and UK Troops

The US and UK troops in the attacks on Iraq that started on 21 March 2001 used DU weapons during the battles at various places in Iraq.  The truth of the use of DU weapons by US troop was verified and admitted by Brigadier General Brooks in a press briefing on 26 March of the same year when he said, “DU bombs had been used.” (E1).

Michael Kilpatrick, Deputy Director of Deployment Health Support in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, at a forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on 6 March 2004, said, “The Army fired and used from tanks and armored vehicle 24 tons or less of DU bombs, and the Air Force, 10 tons or less of DU bombs from A-10 planes.  These, when combined, would be equivalent to 115 tons of metallic uranium (E2).

The US troop has not made any further public announcements detailing the use of DU weapons, where they have been dropped, and the quantity of DU weapons used, and this matter has been clarified one by one by evidences on the countless number of DU weapons used in this war based on the efforts and good hearts of world-known journalists and scientists who have conducted surveys on DU in Iraq.

(1)   Asst. Professor Hiroyuki Fujita of Keio University conducted surveys in various places in Iraq, and discovered countless DU bombs in the urban district of Baghdad.  Also, from perforated holes in destroyed tanks, he detected radiation, and confirmed micronized DU oxide collected from the pool of an ice-making factory. (E4).

(2)   A Commissioned Officer of the US Armed Forces, in a US paper, testified that “500 tons of DU bombs had been used,” and “Bunker-Buster GBU-28 is equipped with DU.” (E6)

(3)   Ed Pennel, a US soldier, wrote to his via email that “on 29 March DU bombs were used.” (E7)

(4)   Scott Peterson discovered DU bombs and fine powder believed to be oxidized particles of depleted uranium in the vicinity of the Planning Ministry Building and a destroyed Iraqi tank in Baghdad (E3).

(5)   The Secretary of Defense of Netherlands admitted that DU bombs had been used in Samawa (E8).

Also, before the outbreak of the war, on 15 March 2003, in a press briefing at the Department of Defense, Colonel Naughton, stated that “Abrams tanks had been loaded with DU bombshells,” and “so were A-10 planes” because “there was not other choice” (E9).  Witnesses had repeatedly seen civilian facilities being targeted by A-10 planes starting with Iraq’s Planning Ministry during the aerial bombing of Baghdad. Report on the investigation conducted by Scott Peterson, as a matter of fact, corroborated the statement given by Colonel Naugton at the above-mentioned press briefing.   Abrams tanks were the main battle tanks used in the ground assault of Iraq.  It is, therefore, highly probable that aside from the facts already verified, the US Armed Forces has used in large quantity DU weapons, even exceeding the reported volume, in all areas of offensive operations in Iraq, even at densely populated areas, particularly Baghdad, Basra, etc.  Even the British Defense Ministry has admitted using 1.9 tons of DU weapons (E10). The locations have not been revealed to the public, but as an example, according to a British paper, on 25 March 2003, there has been an indication of the probability that DU bombs were used at the western part of Basra City during an accidental firing by a British military Challenger tank to another British Challenger tank (E11).

2.     Special Properties of Depleted Uranium (DU)

Uranium is found extensively in nature as a mixture of three isotopes.  Natural uranium is not only made up of 0.72% of Uranium 235, which causes nuclear fission, but also is mostly (99.2746%) Uranium 238, which does not cause nuclear fission, and the remaining 0.0054%, is Uranium 234. For this reason, in order to effectively use it in nuclear power plants, or in making nuclear bombs, it is necessary to perform the process called “concentration” by allowing the increase of the percentage of Uranium 235 that causes nuclear fission. The by-product in large quantity of this concentration process is depleted uranium, and is in fact radioactive wastes. The name “depleted” gives the impression that it has very little harmful effect, but its radiation dose is equivalent to 60% of natural uranium, and it emits alpha-ray radiation.  Alpha ray has a weak penetration force, can bounce in the air for only a number of centimeters, and can be blocked off by a piece of paper.  Accordingly, it cannot affect the human body if there is no direct contact with it, but if even just a small particle of it enters the body, it can cause an extremely serious internal radiation exposure.  Also, it is an extremely dangerous material that has the combined properties of not only the toxicity of radiation ray, but also the toxicity of heavy metals. And its half-life is 4.5 billion years, and is said to continue releasing radiation perpetually.

Special Properties of Depleted Uranium (DU) Weapons

Storing depleted uranium is enormously expensive, but disposing it by all means is what the US Department of Energy has wanted to do.  It is in military weapons that depleted uranium is used in extremely large scale, and it is used mainly as penetration body that is attached to bombshells for the sake of increasing its penetration capacity, and also as armor of tanks in order to increase its defense capacity.  Mainly, uranium weapons have the following advantages:

  • Depleted uranium, because of its very heavy density (1.7 times of lead, 2.5 times of iron) and hardness, when used to tip bullets, increases the penetration power of the bullets, and displays such tremendous capacity as to power to open holes in thick iron plates and concrete.
  • Even when there are no explosives inside the bombshell, it explodes upon impact, and the capacity to kill and injure the enemy is high because of the high temperature it causes when it burns.
  • It is very cheap because its raw materials are radioactive wastes (E12).

However, when depleted uranium explodes upon impact, and burns with high temperature, it becomes micro-particles of oxidized uranium (ceramic form aerosol of diametrical-micron; a micron is equivalent to 1/1000mm), discharged heavily, and are packed in tanks.  Also, the particles diffused in the atmosphere and whirled up in the sky, pollute vast range of the atmosphere, and also, the particles that fall on the ground pollute the environment such as the soil and water, etc.

4. Dreadful Negative Effects of Depleted Uranium Weapons on the Human Body

Once the uranium particles are inhaled into the body, the particles attach first to the trachea and the respiratory system.  As the particles are practically insoluble, they are difficult to dissolve in the blood, and stay there for a long period of time.  Eventually these clinging particles continue to expose the neighboring organs to radiation. By that, they cause the cell and the gene to go into some transformation, and cause cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, congenital disorders and defects.  Then, gradually, they are absorbed into the blood and lymph, and cause various illnesses and damages to the whole body. Also, aside from inhalation, they get into the body and enter the bloodstream by oral ingestion and through wounds.

This kind of very dangerous weapons are being diffused in large quantity all over Iraq by the US and British troops. Not only during the war, but also after the war, and an unimaginable length of time of 4.5 billion years hereafter, the people of Iraq will have to bear the burden of living in this vast polluted land and learn how to survive with this grim reality.  The British and US troops, at the instance that they drop DU weapons, do not just snatch away precious lives but cause the Iraqis further and eternal miseries.

Physical Damages in Iraq After the Gulf War

During the Gulf War in January 1991, the US Armed Forces dropped 320 tons of depleted uranium weapons on Iraq.  Since after the war, there has been a high incidence of strange phenomenon not seen in Iraq before the war. There have been several incidences of such phenomenon as several members of one family developing cancer, or one patient having several types of cancer, etc., cancer that spreads fast, the outbreak of infectious diseases due to fast spreading cancer, leukemia, aplastic anemia, and malignant tumor, and immunodeficiency, massive herpes, and herpes zoster pain, symptoms resembling AIDS, syndrome due to liver and kidney dysfunction, hereditary dysphasia (hereditary damage) due to gene defects. Children, especially infants, who cannot fight back and are blameless, have become the number one victims of this war. The southern City of Basra, which is near the battleground of the Gulf War, has been very seriously damaged, and according to a doctor at the Basra Educational Hospital, the number of people who have succumbed to cancer rose from 34 in 1988 prior to the Gulf War to the astonishing figure of 603 in 2001 that was 17 times larger. (E15).

(1)    Basra Maternity and Pediatrics Hospital. Mohammed Hoji (5) was diagnosed with leukemia just a year after his own mother, who was also confined in the same hospital, died of leukemia. The physician in charge of this case, Dr. Surin Shirub, related, “What makes this case to stand out is that the whole family and the brothers one by one have succumbed to cancer and leukemia.  This kind of phenomenon never existed before the Gulf War.”  The aunt, Abed (32), who was caring for the boy lamented, “Why do we have to suffer like this even when the war is over?” (E16).

(2)    Zein (5), who was confined in the Basra Maternity and Pediatrics Hospital, 5 months before, suddenly developed a swollen abdomen, and was diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, he had become weak and lost his gaiety.  His mother, Semal (25), sighed, “I would like America to know how the war has caused us so much miseries for many generations to come.” (E15)

(3)    Abbas (5), who was diagnosed with leukemia 3 years ago, was sleeping soundly beside his mother Hamdi (30). The hair on his head had become extremely thin as an effect of drugs administered to him.  Hamdi said, “It’s hard when you are helpless to do anything to save your child from his sufferings.” Dr. Jasem (32) of this hospital related, “The damages of the war are not a temporary matter.  Even after that, its innocent victims will suffer for generations to come.” (E15)

These innocent children of Iraq, in fact, have been deprived of their rights to be born with good health and grow normally because of the effects of these DU weapons.  Furthermore, the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN from August 1990 had contributed more to this pathetic situation.  The UN Resolution 661 had exempted from the embargo materials to be used for medical purposes.  However, the committee that was charged with the implementation of the embargo in accordance with the provision of the Resolution 661 could not make this exemption operative due to opposition by commissioners from the US and UK, and thus, there arose a shortage of medical supplies, vaccines, syringes, anesthetics, and medical apparatuses necessary for medical treatments. (E67). According to a UNICEF report, by February 1991, medical supplies had reached 1/6 of the normal level of stockpile.  Also, UNICEF, in a 1993 report, announced, “at the beginning of the Gulf War, the number of children dying was more or less 100,000, but after the war, the rate of death has increased 3 times of the number before the war.  Medical care, and insurance service were rendered useless due to the shortage of supplies and apparatuses for medical care and treatment. And also, due to depleted uranium bombs that were used during the Gulf War, the number of cancer patients suddenly increased after the war. If proper treatment had been provided at the early stage of the disease, death could have been avoided, but due to the shortage of medical supplies and appliances because of the economic sanctions, patients could not be treated properly resulting in the great increase in the number of afflicted victims.” (E17).

Likewise, the postwar depredation had driven the best of doctors in Iraq out of country.  A lot many of the doctors and scholars, who stayed behind, were actually classified with world-class academes, and had participated and presented the results of their researches in international scientific and academic conferences. However, due to the economic sanctions, they were unable to obtain visas so that they could participate in international conferences and have the opportunity to continue to establish scholarly exchanges necessary for the advancement and improvement of the level of medical practice and treatment in Iraq.  Even if they wanted to go overseas to receive training on radiation exposure, for example, or perhaps just to procure the necessary medical supplies, they could not do so because they could not get visas.  Data of Iraqi victims were indispensable in coping with the inexperience with regard to the effects of radiation due to DU weapons, and while Iraqi doctors could be in a position to provide those data and materials, the economic sanctions hampered their progress and development. (E18)

Dr. Junan, a cancer expert at the Ibn Gaswan Hospital, a Maternity and Pediatrics Hospital in the city of Basra related, “Children’s leukemia, if treated thoroughly at the early stage, has a 70% chance of being cured, but the kind of medicine for this ailment is not available, and so, the patients cannot be treated well, and lamentably just end up dying.  But under the present economic sanctions, we are allowed only to procure food supplies in exchange for oil, and we are forced to make do with only 20% of needed medical supplies.  How then can we cure the sick?” In 2001 alone, 256 cases had been confirmed to be born with congenital defects in this hospital.  (E19).

Health Hazard on Veterans of the Gulf War

Apparently, it is not only the people of Iraq but also veterans of the Gulf War in 1991 that have suffered from the effects of the use of these hazardous weapons. Among them, there has been a high incidence of various ailments in different parts of the body ranging from loss of hair, migraine, arthralgia, gastralgia, diarrhea to defective memory, insomnia, etc., actually chronic symptoms of cancer, leukemia and immunodeficiency to start with.

According to the year-end survey conduced by the National Gulf War Resource Center, Inc. (NGWRC) in 1999, of the 504,047 ex-servicemen, who retired from the service after the war, and were eligible for pension from the Veterans’ Affairs Administration, 263,000 or more than 52% of these veterans had complained of some abnormality in their physical condition, and had demanded for medical care from the US government and the Veterans’ Affairs Administration.  Also, 185,780 or 37% of these veterans had demanded for compensations for incapacity to work, etc. due to illness and physical disability.  Nearly half of these veterans complained of some kind of health hazard, and more than 9,600 of these veterans in fact are now dead.  Although there were only 147 casualties involved in direct combat during the Gulf War, after returning home, they started showing manifestations of some grave health problems (E20).

Moreover, since last year, there are among the US soldiers stationed in Iraq those who are having strange ailments and diseases of unknown nature. In a recent survey, the number of soldiers, who have already taken leave for medical reasons has reached 18,000, and in all manifestation, the cause seems to be depleted uranium (E21).

However, even when this kind of tragedy continues to happen, the US State Department insists that “the claim that DU is the cause of cancer of infants in Iraq is groundless,” or that “it is highly probable that the use of chemical weapons containing carcinogen by the Iraqi military, etc. is the real cause of cancer and birth defects.” But similar symptoms can be observed in Bosnia and Kosovo where such chemical weapons mentioned by the US have not been used.

Health Hazards After the Balkan War

NATO troops used depleted uranium by firing about 10,800 shots (2750kgs) at Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1994 to 1995, and about 31,000 shots (ton) in 1999 at the Kosovo Province of the Yugoslavian Republic. After the conflict, among the personnel of the PKO and the local people, countless numbers of them have turned out complaining of symptoms similar to those of veterans of the Gulf War.

(1)   According to the Jovanovich Health Center in Bosnia, out of the 5,000 villagers who escaped from the Hajici Village of Bosnia-Herzegovina, by January 2001, about 400 people had died mainly of cancer.  At Hajici, there was a weapon factory of the old Yugoslavian military, and a large quantity of depleted uranium bombs must have been used to destroy it. (E22).

(2)   People connected with the Kosovska Mirtovia in the Kosovo Province had pointed out that by on January 11, 2001, after the bombing raid conducted by the NATO in Kosovo, the number of cancer patients in the said hospital increased by about 200%, and last year, the number reached 160. They denounced the use of DU bombs that they believed was the cause of the increase in the number of cancer patients based on the fact that 40% of these patients were native of regions that were bombarded with DU bombs. (E23)

(3)   The people of Iraq and Bosnia as well as the veterans of the Gulf War and the Balkan War all show the same manifestations of grave physical sufferings and injuries, and there is no doubt that these are the effects of depleted uranium.

Furthermore, the truth about the use of DU weapons by the US Armed Forces in the war on Afghanistan in 2001 and the reality of the exposure to DU and the hazards to the health of the people there were all made clear in the closing argument of the prosecutor during the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan.  

Clinical Cases of US Veterans in this Iraqi War

As for Samawa, where the Self Defense Force is stationed, it is strategically located between Basra and Baghdad.  The US army, when marching to Baghdad passing through this route, met with stiff resistance from Iraqi troops, and it took them a week to quell the insurgencies in towns and roads they passed by.  Depleted uranium weapons were used during the fighting.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a specialist on Nuclear Medicine, adviser of the National Science Foundation, and director of the nuclear medicine clinic created by the US Veterans Department after the end of the Gulf War, established the Uranium Medical Research Center, which is an independent research agency based in Canada, and for several years has continued to examine evidences of depleted uranium contamination of American, British and Canadian soldiers.

According to a survey conducted by Dr. Durakovic published in the New York Daily News dated 3 April 2004, after the Iraqi War, he detected depleted uranium from the urine of 4 out of 9 US soldiers who were stationed to keep peace and order in Samawa after the Iraqi War, and returned home due to bad physical condition after complaining of chronic migraine, nausea, bloody urine, partial hearing and vision impairment, etc. (E24). The 442nd MP Company, where the surveyed soldiers belonged, was in charge of convoy and training of Iraqi policemen, and was not involved in direct combat. Depleted uranium was detected in these soldiers, who were doing such mission, and it was probable that they had been exposed to uranium by inhalation of depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere.  Sgt. Juan Vega, Chief Medical Orderly of this company related, “One night, 10 to 15 people just suddenly fell ill and developed symptoms such as fever of as high as 39.4oC, chill and other symptoms of unexplained nature. More than a dozen people out of 160 soldiers suddenly had been having kidney stones.” He said, “Samawa is like hell.”

The Dutch Company stationed at Samawa after that decided to set up camp in the middle of the desert because the radiation level in the environs where the US military set up camps was just too high.

Medical Verification

For the sake of argument that the above-mentioned damages have been due to DU, we shall have to prove that there is a correlation between DU and its effects on the human body based on medical findings on the existence of this crisis pertaining to DU. Now, regarding Iraq after the Gulf War that has reported the most number of DU-related casualties, we shall use as reference the data gathered by Fasy TM that were presented at the International DU Symposium held in New York in June 2003 as a medical paper never before published.

The Teratogenicity of Depleted Uranium

(1)  The Children of Iraq

According to the data gathered by Fasy TM the frequency rate of congenital dysphasia is 3.04 per 1000 monitored in Basra, but in 2000, it rose to 17.6 that was 5-6 times higher than previously reported.  This is particularly true in many reported cases where the parents were soldiers who participated in the Gulf War. (E25)

(2)  Children of Veterans of the Gulf War

The result of a survey conducted to determine the frequency rate of congenital dysphasia on veterans of the Gulf War by the US Military Research Institute was published in a New England Journal of Medicine, a medical journal, according to Cowan in 1997. The conclusion was that there was no difference in the rate of frequency of congenital dysphasia of children of veterans of the Gulf War with veterans who did not go to the Gulf War (E26).

However, 5 months later, the result of the research conducted by three British researchers, Pat Doyle, Eve Roman, Noreen Maconochie, refuting the evaluation made only on children who were born and lived, disregarding aborted births and stillbirths due to massive congenital deformities, excluding 1/3 of overall number of discharged soldiers, and the inaccuracy of these investigations was published in the same journal (E27).

In 2001, Kang of the Veterans Affairs Administration announced a research that would not exclude aborted births/stillbirths, and veterans in their research.  The result was that compared to veterans who did not go to the Gulf War, congenital dysphasia on children of veterans who served in the Gulf War was 2.3 times for male, and 2.4 times for female (E28).  The truth about this increase in number even just on those who participated in the Gulf War is indeed astonishing.

(3)  Animal Experiments

Based on the 2001 research conducted by Domingo JL of Spain, et al., when male rats were ingested for a period of 16 weeks with natural uranium, rate of pregnancy decreased, a degeneration of the testicles (male gonads) occurred, and there was a decrease in the production of sperms (E29).  Also, it was confirmed that 10 days before and after giving doses to pregnant mice, ossification is 3 times to 5 times lower compared to control group in litters, and there are numerous instances of birth defects of the extremities. (Note: the radioactivity of natural uranium is 25.9 kilobecquerel, and that of depleted uranium is 16.3 kilobecquerel).

In 2002, McClain DE, et al. of the US Armed Forces embedded depleted uranium in rats, and investigated to determine the effects of DU on the embryo. It was confirmed that the sizes of the embryos of rats are smaller after more than 6 months of being embedded with DU passing the placenta (E30).

The congenital dysphasia and various diseases in children of soldiers who participated in the Gulf War resemble the conditions of Iraqi children, and this can be traced to the teratogenicity in DU.

Carcinogenicity of Depleted Uranium

(1)  Iraqi Children

Based on the data gathered by Fasy TM, in 1990 in Basra, out of 100,000 children, there were 3.98 cancer cases, but in 2000, the number increased to 13.1 cases (E25).

(2)  Veterans of the Gulf War

There is no medical report showing that there is a statistical increase of cancer in veterans of the Gulf War, but there is a need for a detailed investigation on the rate of incidence of cancer in children of veterans.

(3)  Experiments on Animals

To sum up the series of animal experiments done by Miller, et al. of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, DU increases the oncogene expression per human cell and cell disorder growth, etc., and causes the existence of cancer forming operation.  Also, they explain that DU, more than even nickel that is known to cause tumor, largely increases more chromosomal abnormality linked with carcinogens (E31). Hahn, et al reported that thorotrast and DU produce much more sarcoma (malignant tumor) when they conducted experiments by embedding tungsten, which is a heavy metal but non-radioactive material, and radioactive material thorotrast in rats (E32).  This indicates that DU is not only cancer causing as a heavy metal but is also cancer causing as a radioactive materials.

(4) Effects on the Human Cell

In 2003, Schroeder, et al of Germany analyzed the chromosomal abnormality of the lymphocytes of 16 soldiers who served in the Gulf War and Balkan War, and these soldiers were proven to have been exposed to radiation. They confirmed that the rate of specific c chromosomal abnormality among these soldiers was 4.2 higher when they compared the chromosomal abnormality ([dicentric] and [centric ring] chromosomes) that was said to be specific in ionizing radiation with non-specific chromosomal abnormality. They hinted and concluded that despite the fact that the specific chromosomal abnormality cell could not survive for long (half life being up to the extent of 3.5 years), they observed that even after a lapse of more than 10 years since the Gulf War, the body continued to be exposed to radiation due to the DU that had accumulated inside the body for long years (E33).

On top of this, they noted based on available data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki the fact that this exposure to radiation could cause chromosomal abnormality in lymphocytes.

Thus, there is no doubt that the cause of cancer such as the increase in the number of cases of leukemia in Iraq today is connected with DU.

Verification of Gulf War Syndrome

The Gulf War syndrome shows chronic symptoms such as fatigue, headache, muscle and osteoarticular pains, insomnia, neuropsychiatric symptom, impaired memory, impaired vision, etc.

(1) Physical Condition of Gulf War Veterans

It is evident that based on the data of Fukuda in 1998, which are data comparing the physical condition of soldiers who participated in the Gulf War (hereinafter referred to as GWV) with soldiers who did not participate in the Gulf War (hereinafter referred to as non-GWV), the frequency of various symptoms of chronicity is 39% in GWV against 14% in non-GWV of light and medium, etc. symptoms, and 6% in GWV against 0.7% in non-GWV of serious illness (E34).  It is evident that frequency of such symptoms is higher in soldiers who participated in the Gulf War. It cannot be far from the truth that based on the data of Kang in 1996,  the rate of death in GWV is 10.4 against 9.6% in non-GWV showing statistically a difference (E35). However, in the 2002 data of Kang, it shows that the number of accidental deaths is more numerous among GWV than among the non-GWV (36).  Also, in 1997, Gray reported that hospitalization rate was 10% higher among soldiers who participated in the Gulf War (37).

It is true that going to war is accompanied by a great risk, and the appearance of various symptoms after returning from the war is designated as “war syndrome.”  However, based on the report of Harvey RW, et al. of 2002, among the soldiers returning from the war, the number of the disabled persons, who have received services after that, 8.6% served in World War II, 5% in the Korean War, 9.6% in the Vietnam War and in the case of the Gulf War, it has reached 16% (estimated at 110,000 persons) (E38).  It is evident that the Gulf War, compared with other wars, has caused a lot many damages, and they cannot be categorized simply as some risk of going to war.

Countless researches are being conducted on the causes of these symptoms, but no massive investigation placing primary focus on DU has been done.  There exist, however, an extensive literature relating to depleted uranium

(2) Experiments on Animals. 

Pellmar TC, et al, in 1999, revealed evidences of DU causing brain damage by embedding it in rats (E39), and they arrived at the conclusion that DU produces neurological disorder. Also, as for effects of depleted uranium on peripheral nerves, they observed the occurrence of cramps, pain in the extremities, gait disorder, shiver, etc., and that there is damage of calcium metabolism of the neuromuscular junction.

(3) Psycho-neuron Abnormalities

McDiarmid, et al. of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in a research paper published in 2000, tested 29 people in 1997 out of the 33 veterans with fragments of DU in their body they had put under observation since 1993.  They observed the neurocognizance test becoming bad in proportion to the high concentration of DU in their urines, and abnormality in the hormone function of the reproductive system.  Also, they reported the genetic damage and the sperm count abnormality (E40). Yet, while they recognize this sort of health problems, they made it look that there were not much complaints about the symptoms when comparing them with the 21 Gulf War veterans who had not been exposed to DU (E40).  However, 11 out of the 21 were in fact suffering from some neuron abnormality and were in extremely bad condition, and a terrible deception was evidently carried out. Similarly, tests were conducted in 1999, and in the report published in 2001, 29 people with incomparably low concentration of DU in their urines to the 21 out of the previous 33 people tested were added, and this was to intentionally dilute the results in an attempt to eliminate the difference abnormal neuron and reproductive hormone levels (E41)

(4)  Chromosomal Abnormality

As previously stated, the chromosomes of 16 people who have been suffering from Gulf War syndrome are 5.2 times higher of [dicentric] and [ring centric] chromosomes. Others also, according to Uranobitz, et al, have verified seeing the chromosomal abnormality in veterans of the Gulf War who have shown such symptoms (E42).

(5)  Increase of Depleted Uranium Density in Urine

P Horan, et al of Canada examined the urines of 27 American, British and Canadian patients, and detected a high density of DU in 14 people. This data proves the fact that even after 8 or 9 years after exposure to DU, high density of DU are being discharged in the urine (E43).

In addition, Durakovic, et al have examined the uranium in the urine of 8 residents of 8 regions in Afghanistan who have symptoms similar to Gulf War syndrome, published in 2003 data on the detection of high density of uranium in the urine of all of them (E44).  Furthermore, in 2004, they published the data on the detection of DU in the urines of 4 out of 9 American soldiers, who were in charge of maintaining public order after the Iraqi War, and returned home due to poor physical condition (E24).

It is clear from the investigations conducted by Horan and Durakovic that DU remains in the body for several years.  There is no doubt about the DU being more or less in part the cause of the Gulf War syndrome, and its toxicity.

There are researchers who recognize the toxicity of DU even within the US Military

Arfsten DP of the Naval Health Research Center and Rictchie GD, et al of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base have studied in detail all US military researches, etc. up until then, and in 2001, in their joint names, published their dissertation (E45).

(1)    High density of DU in the urine was detected after a lapse of 10 years from soldiers, who had inhaled particles or pierced with fragments of DU during the conflict at the Gulf War and Kosovo

(2)    In mice, the DU accumulated in the testicles, bone, kidneys, and brain.

(3)    In test-tube experiments, there were the genetic disorder characteristic and teratogenicity, and the rat, when embedded with DU, developed brain tumor.

(4)    It is possible to say that whether it is as a heavy metal or radioactivity, it has strong effect on the reproduction of rats.

In this treatise, there is the remark that “the opinion expressed here does not reflect the opinion of the military but are based on the point of views of the authors.”  However, even as researchers of the military, they have sufficiently recognized the damages caused by DU. Recognizing the risks is not limited to their researches. As previously stated, numerous medical researches relating to DU are being conducted even with grants from the military. Even when they are being conducted under the direct supervision of the military, these researches are being given emphasis even when they may verify the  danger of DU.

Suffice it to say, it is clear from existing medical dissertations that DU is an extremely dangerous substance that does not only cause temporary disorders, but chronic health breakdown, congenital defects, carcinogens, and other disorders.

Effects to the Human Body Exposed Internally to Radiation

1 Official Stand of WHO

The World Health Organization has taken the stand of consistently denying the danger of depleted uranium. Its basic statement has been that if exposure has not exceeded the permissible limit of radiation dosage (In case of the general public, 1millisievert per year), even if one is exposed to radiation, it will not pose any danger.  However, in a public statement in January 2003 it expressed its most recent stand on DU radiation and recommended that “there would be a need for places where contamination to depleted uranium has exceeded the tolerable level to be cleaned up” and that “children are in danger, so they should be protected,” and this conceivably is admission of the fact that substantially, DU can cause health hazards (E46).2 Method of Evaluation of Present-day Exposure to Radiation Just how much dosage is the tolerable limit one can be exposed to radiation is being calculated today on the basis of the Radiation Risk Model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).  If we follow the Radiation Risk Model of ICRP, the low dosage of DU, and being of the same degree of exposure to those of other radiation sources and radiation of the natural world, will make it less harmful to the health.  Also, ICRP’s admission of the effects of radiation to the human body is limited to leukemia, solid cancer, congenital defects, and effects on genes, and on this theory, it is saying that symptoms resembling the Gulf War syndrome has nothing to do with DU exposure. Contentions by WHO, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) or governments of countries dependent on these agencies and are denying the danger of DU weapons are founded on this.3 What kind of agency is the ICRP?

According to Rosalie Bertell of Canada, a scholar in the field of Radiology, in 1952, physicists, who took part in the Manhattan Project, tried to intervene in the National Committee on Radiation Protection of the International Congress of Radiology, and approached the members of the radiology commission calling for a collaboration, and the organization called “ICRP” was created from this merger.  The ICRP, with members designated reciprocally within the group, and with no fixed tenure of office, is a sort of a non-governmental organization (NGO), and is composed of physicists and radiologists of nuclear-capable countries, biophysicists, and administrative officials in charge of medical care.  And out of the 13 members of the Main Committee of the ICRP, several of them were having additional posts also in the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, and use faces of both parties.  ICRP and UNSCEAR are not official public health and sanitation organizations.  ICRP is supposed to be making the decisions regarding political and economic gains of the use of atomic energy (including development and actual testing of nuclear weapons) and the tolerance level to prevent predictable health hazards by exposure to radiation, and the UNSCEAR is supposed to permit society to make this choice (E47).

ICRP is neither an agency of the United Nations nor is it agency having responsibility to the U. N., and yet, despite the fact that it is no more than a private group composed of people of with vested interests of nuclear-capable countries and atomic energy industry, this agency behaves in the manner as if the recommendations it releases are of solemn conclusions of experts, and even manage politically to have them formulated into laws of various countries starting with those in the agencies of the U. N. Moreover, that theory, like the theory established in connection with the effects of the exposure to radiation, released by universities and research agencies even now, are being used for educating the young people.

The application of ICRP Radiation Risk Model to internal exposure is not valid.

The ICRP Radiation Risk Model was created by using data obtained from surviving atomic bomb victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The surviving victims of the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were exposed mainly by being bathed externally with high dosage of gamma ray (external exposure).  The Radiation Risk Model has been created on the basis of data obtained on this one specific condition that is called “acute dosage of external exposure,” and ICRP is making something like this risk model to conform deductively and applied even to internal exposure (exposure from within the internal body) of varying chronicity of all conditions (E48).

Whether or not the ICRP Radiation Risk Model is applicable also to internal exposure, it can be confirmed by investigating the real damages.  However, this model that has been created by using data of external exposure cannot possibly accurately evaluate the effects of internal exposure. A classical example that this model could not totally evaluate real damages was the nuclear power accident at Chernobyl.

As a consequence of the Chernobyl nuclear power accident, various symptoms of low dosage exposure in disaster areas in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine wereconfirmed.  Despite the release of numerous studies made on the manifestation of additional ailments, the IAEA, UNSCEAR and WHO have concluded that the causes of those ailments are due to psychological reasons and stress.  The remarkable increase in the rate of occurrence of cancer of the thyroid gland uniquely among children has been verified, but even when there is this increase of cancer of the thyroid gland, UNSCEAR has underestimated the real damages by insisting on following the ICRP model (E48, 49).  

In the first place, the Radiation Risk Model is nothing but a theory. By traditional scientific methodology, data obtained from actual cases will have more bearing than theory, and that is, reality should have more priority. In other words, theory should be dismissed if it is not applicable and no conformity with the reality that can be seen.  However, in the case of its estimation of radiation damages, if the ICRP theory is not applicable and does not conform to the reality, then, it is rejecting reality (E50). This is the current status over the damages of radiation, and after the war, the ICRP theory has been used to hide from the eyes of the world the truth about victims of radiation of the Three-Mile Island nuclear power accident and the Chernobyl nuclear power accident, and even today, it is being brought out to repudiate the hazards of DU weapons once again.

The effects on the human body by depleted uranium are proven in the aforementioned medical papers, and various symptoms besides cancer and congenital defects are being confirmed.  The general principle of the scientific methodology, namely that the truth should have more priority over theory is once more being affirmed now, and we insist that the ICRP theory should be abandoned on the basis of its denial of the danger of DU.

ECRR Radiation Risk Model

Anti-nuclear movements that could not turn their eyes from the damages prevalent in such places of the environs of heteroatom facilities, etc. as the regions polluted with depleted uranium, the Chernobyl nuclear power accident, and scientists cooperating with those movements have insisted that damages caused in reality by low dosage of exposure to radiation cannot be connected to the traditional ICRP Radiation Risk Model, and have pointed out the danger to health by low level radiation exposure.

In the midst of this, on the occasion that the European Union Parliament was greatly arguing about these issues, the problem of low dosage radiation exposure likewise prompted the promulgation of measures for the recycling and reuse of radiation wastes, and in this connection, the European Committee on Radiation Risk was established for the purpose of reviewing the traditional ICRP Radiation Risk Model, and in 2003, the ECRR announced its recommendations.  Those recommendations have pointed out that the effect to the human body of internal exposure cannot be assessed with the ICRP Radiation Risk Model.  And as for internal exposure, it examined the mechanism of biological damages on cells and DNA, and created a new Radiation Risk Model (E48).  Chris Busby, a member of the ECRR, calculated the doses of radiation in the case of having 1 micrometer of a (alpha) emitting micro particles absorbed into the body on the basis of this risk model, and the dose given to the structure that was in the range of 30 micrometers of micro particles showed 500 to 1000 millisievert per 1 year (E51). This numerical value, by far, exceeds the radiation tolerance level (in the case of ordinary people, 1 millisievert per year) shown by WHO.

In the case of applying the ICRP Radiation Risk Model, even with the absorption into the body of micro particles of depleted uranium, the radiation level will be low, but based on the Radiation Risk Model of the ECRR, the same exposure will most likely be evaluated with high level of exposure.

The ECRR has recognized also the various health hazards caused by radiation.  Asaf Durakovic, in his treatise (Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare) published in the Croatia Medical Journal, verified the medical thesis on DU, and reported that contamination inside the body by depleted uranium could cause various cell mutation and DNA damage (E44). This report substantiated the legality of the theory of the ECRR Radiation Risk Model.

Awareness on the Toxicity of DU weapons of the US Armed Forces

The following are the explanations about the fact that the US Military is fully aware that DU weapons are harmful to the body by the development process of these weapons:

Letters to General Groves

In October 1943, 3 physicists, A. H. Compton, et al., sent a letter proposing “research on development and protection of radioactive weapons” to General Groves who took part in the Manhattan Project (E52).

In this letter, the 3 doctors proposed the organization of a team for the sake of doing researches on the handling and preparation of radioactive materials as weapons, and also, the preparation in case the Nazi Germans would be ahead in developing similar weapons, and on protection from these weapons. They hypothesized that these are weapons behaving just like toxic gas weapons.

In the letter, they proposed, “as a gas warfare instrument the material would be grounded into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs.  In this form personnel would inhale it into the lungs. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small.  It has been estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person’s body would be fatal.”  Also, it mentioned, “Two factors appear to increase the effectiveness of radioactive dust or smoke as a weapon.  These are:

1 It cannot be detected by the senses;

2 It can be distributed in a dust or smoke form so finely powdered that it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging.  An off-setting factor in its effectiveness as a weapon is that in a dust or smoke form the material is so finely pulverized that it takes on the characteristic of a quickly dissipating gas and is therefore subject to all the factors (such as wind) working against maintenance of high concentrations for more than a few minutes over a given area.”

Moreover, in the letter, they stated the method of using weapons of this type,

1 As a terrain contaminant, these are spread on the ground through the air or from the ground, and depending on the amount, the effects of the radiation on a person would probably not be immediate, but would be delayed for days or perhaps weeks and lead to death…for average terrain, no decontaminating methods are known.

2 As a gas warfare instrument, inhalation of infinitesimal volume of substances distributed in the form of a dust or smoke or dissolved in liquid can be fatal.  And regarding the effects of these, “as for the terrain contaminated with radioactive dust and smoke…radioactive materials can be stirred up as a fine dust from the terrain by winds, movement of vehicles or troops, etc., and would remain a potential hazard for a long time.  Especially in the case of the latter,  “These materials may also be so disposed as to be taken into the body by ingestion instead of inhalation.  Reservoirs or wells would be contaminated or food poisoned with an effect similar to that resulting from inhalation of dust or smoke…..Particles larger than 1 [micron] in size are likely to be deposited in nose, trachea or bronchi and then be brought up with mucus on the walls at the rate of 1/2 – 1 cm/min.  Particles smaller than 1 [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatic or blood.,,,,that while chemical gas weapons may exhibit faster effect, the radioactive substance has more permanent effects.”

Here we should exercise special caution regarding the fact that this letter evidently hypothesize internal exposure, and though it did specify it to be Uranium 238, it recognized the danger of internal exposure caused by micro-particles of radioactive materials.

Some of the U.S. Government’s Documentation of Harmful Effects of D.U. Weapons

Documents provided by the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU) of UK are cited below to prove the harmful effects of DU (E53):

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory circular by M. C. dated 20 December 1984 warning FAA crash site investigators about encounters with planes laden with depleted uranium, aircraft balance weights at sites, when investigating plane crashes accidents that “if particles are inhaled or ingested, they can be chemically toxic and cause a significant and long-lasting irradiation of internal tissue.”

On March 7, 1979, the US Army Mobility Equipment, Research and Development Command stated, “Not only the people in the immediate vicinity, emergency and fire fighting personnel, but also people at distances downwind from the fire are faced with potential over exposure to air borne uranium dust.” (This was disclosed in accordance with request based on the Freedom of Information Act to the National Gulf War Resources Center by Chris Kornkven, et al.)

U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute, in a June 1995 report to Congress, says depleted uranium has the potential to generate “significant medical consequences” if it enters the body. “The radiation dose to critical organs depends upon the amount of time that depleted uranium resides in the organs. When this value is known or estimated, cancer and hereditary risk estimates can be determined.”

On May 26 1997, the Nation Magazine published an article about the U.S. Army Armaments, Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM) report in July 1990 that depleted uranium is a “low level alpha radiation emitter, which is linked to cancer when exposures are internal, and that chemical toxicity causes kidney damage.” Also, AMCCOM’s radiological task group has stated, “Long term effects of low doses (of DU) have been implicated in cancer…there is not dose so low that the probability of effect is zero.”

On August 16, 1993, Col. Robert G. Claypool of the U.S. Army Surgeon General’ s Office, in a letter, says, “When soldiers inhale or ingest DU dust, they incur a potential increase in cancer risk. The magnitude of that increase can be quantified if the DU intake can be estimated.  Expected physiological effects from exposure to DU dust include possible increase in the outbreak of cancer and kidney damage.”

Health hazards data, (the Materials Safety Data Sheet:MSDS) from the U.S. Department of Labor says that the “(DU) increases the risk of lung carcinoma and chemical toxicity to kidney. Decay products of U-238, U-235, and U-234 are just as hazardous.”

These documents indicated that before the Gulf War, and even after that, the US Armed Forces and the US government have long been doing investigations repeatedly on the danger of depleted uranium, and the hazards of internal irradiation, and knew fully well about its carcinogenicity and teratogenicity.

After the Gulf War, this awareness spread to the US Congress.  In 1992, the US General Accounting Office and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended the probe on the effects to the human body and environment of depleted uranium to the Department of Defense and the US Army respectively, and in June, 1993, in response, the Department of the Army, submitted the plan for such course of action, namely,  “complete medical testing of personnel exposed to DU contamination,” “provide adequate training for personnel who may come in contact with DU contaminated equipment from now,” etc. (E54).

However, this plan up to now has not been enforced, and as stated below are deliberately being ignored and distorted:

Testimony of Doug Rokke

Doug Rokke was a professor of Physics and Environmental Science at the Jacksonville University, an Army major (Reserve), and in 1994-95 was in charge of the DU Project of the Pentagon. He took the stand and answered questions from the prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan regarding the said project.  As to the background of the formation of this DU Project team of the Pentagon, he said, “Commissioned officers from the UK, Australia, Canada and Germany participated in the project to study the risk of DU weapons and I was tasked by the Army to direct the team. The objective of the project was to ensure that adequate information and training to soldiers being deployed to the battlefield are provided by making it clear to them the risks and hazards when DU bomb weapons are used, and to know what kind of countermeasures and precautionary measures should be adopted, and to make proposals as to how to clean up the DU bullets. Also, we submitted recommendations, which were completely ignored. Up to this day, the US Armed Forces the US army has not taken any measures to protect the soldiers.”  He also mentioned, “We made a proposal that clean-up was essential, but in reality, complete clean-up was impossible. Therefore, we proposed not to use DU weapons any longer. However our proposal was ignored by the upper level of the government and completely ignored by NATO, UK, Australia and others.”

Furthermore, Doug Rokke said that as part of the DU project, they made several videotapes that were supposed to be produced as videotapes on DU bombs of the Pentagon.  “The first one was an advisory on what kind of danger was there when a DU bomb would explode, the second about a manual on when a clean up was being done, and the third one was on how to measure the radiation, and we made clear that a Geiger counter would not be effective in measuring DU bombs.  The fourth one was about what kind of equipment should be used in destroying the residue of the DU bomb, and the fifth one was on how to handle dud (unexploded) bombs.  These were produced especially for the sake of soldiers who would go on dangerous missions, but in the end, they were never used.” he stated.

The US started the DU weapon project, but because of the report that was released about the extremely high risk of DU weapons, and recommendation that they should not be used, the results of the researches of the project were classified. Through the proliferation of these information and videos, the hazardous nature of DU weapons had become clear, and the US feared being showered with criticisms by the international community, and that DU weapons would no longer be used ever. This is how, according to Doug Rokke, et al. was their recommendations were ignored, their project dissolved, and why nothing is done ever to protect the soldiers from DU weapons nor provide them with medical care (E56).

Awareness on the Violations of International Laws in the US Armed Forces

Within the US Armed Forces, they are aware about possible violation of international law regarding the use of this type of weapons being a violation of international laws in addition to awareness of matters of this nature related to the danger of depleted uranium as stated above.

The U.S. Air Force’s 1976 manual titled “International Law: The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations” names treaties, including The Hague Conventions of 1907, the Geneva Gas Protocol of 1925, and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, 1949, and specifically recognized as binding by the US Armed Forces.

The Geneva Gas Protocol outlaws asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices, and the Hague Conventions explicitly forbid the use especially of poison or poisoned weapons. The Air Force manual defines poison as “biological or chemical substances causing death or disability with permanent effects when, in even small quantities, they are ingested, enter the lungs or bloodstream, or touch the skin.” The manual says, “Any weapons may be put to an unlawful use,” and unequivocally, “A weapon may be illegal per se if either international custom or treaty has forbidden its use under all circumstances. An example is poison to kill or injure a person.”(E56)

The 70's was a period when the US military began a full-scale development and production of DU bombshells.  From this period onward, the US Air Force has been fully aware that DU weapons are poisonous weapons, and that their use will be a violation of international laws, and yet, even with that knowledge, they are used in attacking Iraq, and its insistence that the use of DU weapons “is not illegal” on the ground that it has never been explicitly forbidden by any war convention is definitely a deception.

Another document that can support this fact is the memorandum “On the Effectiveness of Depleted Uranium Penetrators” of the Los Alamos National Laboratory written by Lieutenant-Colonel M V Ziehman dated March 1, 1991 immediately after the Gulf War.  Besides pointing out the effectiveness of DU bombs used extensively in the military operations in Iraq, it reads, “”There has been, and continues to be, a concern regarding the impact of DU on the environment. If no one makes the case for the effectiveness of DU on the battlefields, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and be deleted from the arsenal. If DU perpetrators proved their worth during our recent combat activities, then we should assure their future existence (until something better is developed).  If proponency is not garnered, it is possible that we stand to lose a valuable combat capability. I believe we should keep this sensitive issue at mind when after action reports are written.” This is actually a notice advising the US military and various government agencies to bear in mind and to continue to keep silent about the continuous use of DU weapons, and bear in mind possible the great criticism regarding the serious effect to the human body and the environment of the DU weapons and the possible violation of laws stated previously (E57).

Reason for the use of DU weapons by the US Armed Forces notwithstanding

The US Armed Forces, despite the widespread criticism and skepticism in and outside of the country, has given as reason for the continuous use of these deadly poison weapons solely their cost and military effectiveness. They are considered as a milestone in nuclear utilization strategy of the US military.  The US Armed Forces, at present is targeting the development and use of 4th generation nuclear weapons. Last year, since the lifting of the ban on researches of small-type nuclear weapons, the Department of Energy has given the incentives to the chiefs of national laboratories such as the Los Alamos, etc. by telling them “not to waste the opportunity” do these nuclear testings, and one of the projects was the mounting of these small-type nuclear weapons in bunker busters that were most probably loaded with depleted uranium, and used in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq (E58).   

The US Armed Forces, as a pioneer in the use for actual combat of this 4th generation nuclear weapon, despite the fact that there are other alternatives that may be used as weapons, has targeted a fait accompli of the claim that the radiation pollution by this use of DU weapons is within “tolerance level.”  The Bush administration has asserted that “the radioactive pollution is kept under control to the minimum” of subterranean small-type nuclear weapon penetrators, but even if they are restricted temporarily to only targets of attacks on basement facilities, etc., they cause extremely serious contamination of the human body and environment brought about by a tremendous radioactive pollution accompanied by a nuclear explosion. The US Armed Forces conceals this fact by putting emphasis on their tolerance level addressed to the world, and in an attempt to gain permission by the international community.

Environmental Pollution by Depleted Uranium (DU)

1 Widespread Radioactive Contamination in Iraq

In this war on Iraq, DU weapons are used in large cities and towns starting with Baghdad.  Many countries have a limit of public exposure to radiation prescribed by laws based on the recommendation of ICRP set at 1 millisievert per annum, and the quantity of depleted uranium equivalent to this is 11.4 milligrams.  The quantity of depleted uranium contained in a 30-milligram DU bomb is 280 grams.  One shot of this can emit a radiation surpassing the radiation limit for 25,000 persons per annum by ignition and micronization.  In accordance with the on-the-spot investigations conducted by privately-run facilities and scientists, it has been reported that high level radiations are detected from soils surrounding road ditches and inside of building sites where warheads and hulls of these DU bombs have rolled into, and war tanks (E3, E4) The exact amount used is not publicly announced but Michael Kilpatrick, in a forum stated that even with just 115 tons, it would be enough to distribute a dosage per annum of about 100,000,000 people. The depleted uranium has deeply penetrated the life sphere of people.

At the conclusion of this war on 6 April 2004, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toefger said, “UNEP stands ready to conduct early environmental field studies in Iraq.  Given the overall environmental concerns during the conflict, and the fact that the environment of Iraq was already a cause for serious concern prior to the current war, UNEP believes early field studies should be carried out (E61). This is especially important to protect human health in a post-conflict situation due to the apparent use of DU weapons in this war.  Immediately after that, UNEP published a “desk study on the Iraq environment” that contained information on the risks to groundwater, surface water, drinking water sources, and the scattering of radioactive particles.  The report of the British Royal Society in 2002 also predicts that due to depleted uranium, the radioactive contamination, after the conflict, will gradually permeate the soil and water sources in the years ahead (E62).

In the first place, the depleted uranium is a deadly poisonous substance brought forth as quid-pro-quo for the use of nuclear power generation to bring wealth and amenities to just a portion of the population. Laws have been passed regarding the legal obligation of individuals capitalizing on this to ensure safety management, and the handling of radioactive wastes by each nation, which uses atomic energy.  The US national regulation “10CRF20" has stipulated the strict control of the storage, transfer, and use of depleted uranium, and the paying of careful consideration and caution to prevent its leakage to the environment.  Is this legally and morally forgivable that in its own country, the US government spends lots of money on the strict management and storage of radioactive materials, but when it comes to people of other countries, it has no qualms dumping and scattering large volume of illegal wastes, even putting the fate of Iraqi in serious danger and jeopardy by radioactivity?

The Development of the Idea of Environmental Protection

The present global environment was formed from even before the human race appeared on earth, and human race has evolved by conforming and adapting to it.  However, the rapid development of scientific technology by the pursuit for comfort and convenience brought about the destruction of the ecosystem, and global environmental pollution, and that has caused the situation where the very existence of mankind is now in imminent danger.  Amidst this situation, in 1971, the United Nations convened its first international conference with the environment for its theme; The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, and adopted the  ”Declaration of the United Nations Conference of the Human Environment.”

In the declaration are expressed the ideals that “both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights the right to life itself,” “All countries, organizations and individuals at every level, all sharing equitably in common efforts, to achieve this environmental goal will demand the acceptance of responsibility and by their values and the sum of their actions, will shape the world environment of the future,” and “all countries shall bear the responsibility that their respective countries will not cause damage to the regional environment of another country.”

The deepening and development of the environmental ideology was derived from movements attempting to regulate the environmental destruction brought about by the war. The treaty on the prohibition of military and other hostile use of environmental modification techniques, which was approved in 1976, prohibits the military use of environmental modification technique ((any technique for changing through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes the dynamics, composition, or structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere, or of outer space) likely to have widespread, long-lasting and also severe effects as a means to cause destruction, damage and also injury.  Simultaneously, Supplementary Protocol of the Geneva Conventions also came into effect, and stipulated that “it is prohibited to use as means or method of combat intending or predicting to inflict widespread, long-lasting, and severe injury.”  

Precautionary Principle

However, without limiting it to the conduct of war, the technique and knowledge of being able to predict exactly how much effect modern activities of men associated with progress of technology to the environment cannot be established at present. Consequently, the idea about the “precautionary principle” emerged in the middle of international conferences and treaties regarding environment.  At the United Nations Conference on Environment of 1992, in the “Rio Declaration,” with regard to the Precautionary Principle, it specifies, “In order to protect the environment, In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities.  Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” To prioritize this principle, it is not difficult to imagine the fact about seeking profit or causing the stagnation of researches, and for that, there will be a deep-rooted opposition to enterprise, etc., and there will be a division of opinions between nations.  However, irrevocable environmental problems on the global scale such as ecosystem abnormalities, etc. causing global warming and endocrine disrupting substance have extensively been observed, and in 2000, an EU Commission set forth the policy called “to standardize the Precautionary Principle regarding environmental problems.”  We, human being, who have repeatedly polluted and destroyed the environment for the sake of profit and greed and lack of foresight, have come to this stage, and while at the same time there is the issue of protecting our fundamental human rights and preservation of the ecosystem, that may motivate us to start taking notice at last of our important responsibility to the future.

Regarding this problem, scientists and specialist of capitalist countries have been playing a great role, and concentrating their efforts in promoting the Precautionary Principle by publishing their statements in the Wingspread Conference of 1998 or the International Conference regarding Science and Precautionary Principle in 2001.  While they are still a minority, they have had influence in policy making. An ordinance adopted by the City of San Francisco in California is an example.  Also, hereafter, there will be a need for the citizens to join hands and furthermore, to uphold the precautionary principle.

Here at last, mankind has recognized the need for voluntary restraints as a common duty and responsibility in order to prevent the complete destruction of the environment because people have become heedless of the environment, concerned only in making profits, and selfish in their attitude and mentality.  The conceptualization of that is the “precautionary principle,” and we should bear in mind to take upon ourselves the responsibility to continue to affirm that this will become a basic ideology of mankind regarding the protection of the environment, and also to exert effort to observe it.

We believe that we should perceive the precautionary principle as something to deepen and develop an international humanitarian law and naturally apply it even to the conduct of war. The stipulation in the treaties and supplemental protocols stated previously to ban “the ways and means of military combat forecasted to cause widespread, long-lasting and severe effect and injury to the environment, should be applied at a time when some conduct is foreseen to have possible grave impact on the environment for the sake of actually demonstrating its valid restraining force. To put it plainly, the use of DU weapons, which has been dispersing the radioactivity that has possible grave impact on the ecosystem, is an apparent illegal act if the international humanitarian law in the context of this historical development of environmental protection achieved by the precautionary principle is understood.

The Crime of the Omnicide

On the other hand, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan, a judgment has been passed that states that the use of DU weapons is an act that means a threat to the existence of even neighboring countries of the whole region, extinction of all life-forms, pollution of the air, water and food resources, or the irreversible alteration of genetic mutation of all life forms including vegetation, or in other words, it constitutes an omnicidal crime (E66). This is a fact that focuses attention to the danger of depleted uranium said to affect the ecosystem, and the use of that is perceived to be an act of large-scale massacre of all life forms on earth. The failure to pursue the criminality of that by reason that the effect to the environment of DU weapons is not sufficiently established has unavoidably fostered the use and production of this kind of weapons of destruction of the environment. That is going against the tide of history of the formation of the precautionary principle stated previously, and even in times of war, in order to make the precautionary principle effectively functional, some regulation of criminal punishment in case of violations to that principle is necessary.  As a basis of culpability of an act of violation, there is the omnicide, and the urgent establishment of this concept is much desired.

Even for the sake of making the international human law to function effectively hereafter, there is a need for assimilating the concept called “omnicide” with the precautionary principle in the environmental sphere.  For this reason likewise, in this place, we denounce the use of DU weapons as a violation of international laws, and thereby strongly appeal for banning their use.

The use of DU Weapons As An Evident “War Crime” and “A Crime Against Humanity”

That the use of DU weapons is an illegal act in violation of International Humanitarian Law is evidently clear.

The International Humanitarian Law is not something that will legalize directly the use of those weapons, even in a case when there is no explicit regulation to immediately regulate individual weapons, but it has manifested the necessity for compliance to

1 a principle of prohibition of the means of causing unnecessary agony and uselessly aggravating the sufferings of disabled combatants;

2 the principle of prohibition of the destruction of non-military objects;

3 the principle of prohibition of weapons of mass destruction. However, as previously mentioned, the uranium pollution due to DU weapons has high lethality, and the unnecessary suffering inflicted indiscriminately on people regardless of whether one is an enemy or an ally, the continuous toxicity even after the war, and the calamity it is likely to bring to future posterity are clear indications of their potency to be indiscriminate, and the fact that this kind of weapons have been used in densely populated areas, including Baghdad regardless of whether it is a military object or a non-military object, shows that the American and British Armed Froces have evidently violated all the 3 above-mentioned principles.

Crime Against Humanity

The use of DU weapons by the American and British Armed Forces is an attack to murder people, plunge them into a state of deep suffering, noticeably obstruct, wreck and steal the health due to the genetic disorder, and the long-lasting destruction of the environment, due to widespread uranium pollution in all the nation of Iraq, is an “inhumane act” committed as part of a widespread attack or a systematic attack on civilians in an armed conflict” (Article 4 of the Official Regulations and Article 7 of ICC), and both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, as Commanders-in-Chief, are criminally accountable for these crimes against humanity (Article 7 of the Official Regulations Article, and Article 7.a of the ICC). War Crimes

Also, this is clearly an unforgivable war stipulated (in Articles 2a, d, m and p and Article 2a, b of ICC) as “an attack intentionally carried out while those involved are fully aware of the collaterally long-lasting serious damages to the natural environment,” “poison and toxic weapons are used” “weapons that have the quality to inflict serious injury and unnecessary suffering or have the quality to be indiscriminate are used,” and both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, as Commanders in Chief, are criminally accountable  for war crimes (Article 4 of the Official Regulation and Article 2,.a of ICC).

Long before this, The UN Human Rights Subcommittee in August 1996 adopted a resolution that the use of DU weapons constituting a violation, as a weapon of mass destruction, should be banned (E63).  Also, in July 2003, a report by Yeung Sik Yuen submitted to the UN Human Rights Subcommittee, showed strong concern on the adverse effect to health, and environment pollution due to DU weapons aside from the fact that “the use of DU weapons is a violation of international laws, can inflict unnecessary suffering and serious injuries, and can be a real menace to the environment, and by all mean must be banned,” and concluded that these weapons (including DU weapons), regardless of whether they are explicitly banned or not, should be prohibited.” Also, in this argument, it was emphasized that states that have used this weapons in violation of international laws are accountable for compensation for and decontamination of such deadly weapons..

Not only the UN Human Rights Subcommittee but also other organizations as well like the European Union Parliament have adopted resolutions to address this issue.  In February 2003, the European Union Parliament adopted the “Resolution on the Harmful Effects of DU Bombs and Unexploded Bombs,” and demanded the European Commission to monitor developments in relation to the possible serious, widespread contamination of the environment believed to be due to DU weapons and to support independent and thorough investigations into the possible harmful effects of the use of depleted uranium ammunition (E65).

In this manner, the international sentiment on the banning of the use of DU weapons has gained momentum, and in the midst of an awareness to observe international law, the use of DU weapons by the British and American Armed Forces is nothing but a profanity against international law that the international community and hitherto the human race has fostered.  The whole nation of Iraq has become a testing ground for these weapons where sophisticated technology are freely used including DU weapons, and by such use, the people of Iraq once again have been made to bear the pain and suffering of a fate of a semi-permanent DU pollution.

In the arguments expressed during the public trial of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan, the use of DU weapons was declared a crime of omnicide (the destruction of all life-forms) for the threat on the survival of not only the country damaged by this use but also neighboring countries, the extinction of life, the contamination of the air, water and food resources, and also, including vegetation, the irreversible alteration of genetic information of all life-forms (E66). In this regard, the fact that DU weapons are being used deprives all life forms that have been born into this world the right to exist to the fullest, and it is an unforgivable crime against all living things.

Thus, with conviction, we prosecute the accused, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, for the above-mentioned crimes, and immediately seek compensation for all the victims, and the removal of radiation pollution.  Also, we hereby affirm that all nations should be legally obligated to ban the use, storage, production and transfer of DU ammunition; that we as human beings have the mission to have treaties concluded and ratified for the execution of those duties; and we affirm that through our collective efforts, we should be able to achieve creating an earth, where there will no longer be any victim hereafter.

Main Index >> WMD Index