not for the squeamish:DU and birth deformities in iraq
use of DU should be regarded as war crime
I have recently received large numbers of photographs of horrendous birth deformities that are being experienced in Iraq. I have not, quite frankly, ever seen anything like them. I urge you to copy this page / these pictures and circulate them as widely as possible.
In an act of stark cruelty, the US dominated Sanctions Committee refuses to permit Iraq to import the clean-up equipment that they desperately need to decontaminate their country of the Depleted Uranium ammunition that the US fired at them. Approximately 315 tons of DU dust was left by the use of this ammunition.The Sanctions Committee also refuses to allow the mass importation of anti-cancer treatments, which contain trace amounts of radio-isotopes, on the grounds that these constitute '...nuclear materials..'
The majority of the pictures were supplied to me by a source who prefers to remain anonymous at the current time. I was unable to acquire either original negatives, or prints from negatives. They arrived in the form of colour A4 copies. I scanned them into Photoshop and attempted to clean and sharpen them as best I could. There has not, and I repeat not, been any digital alteration other than the cleaning and sharpening process. No text documentation arrived with the pictures, so I have described them as accurately as I can. It is my understanding that the photographs were taken from 1998 onwards. I would be grateful to anyone who could potentially supply me with further information about these types of deformities; medical terms for them, etc.
Additional pictures were taken by Dr. Siegwart Horst-Gunther, President of the International Yellow Cross. Most appeared in his 1996 book "URANIUM PROJECTILES - SEVERELY MAIMED SOLDIERS, DEFORMED BABIES, DYING CHILDREN" (Published by AHRIMAN - Verlag, ISBN: 3-89484-805-7). The book is a documentary record of DU ammunition after-effects, and they were taken between 1993 and 1995. Dr. Gunther also supplied me with additional photographs from his unpublished collection, some of which feature the birth deformities being experienced by Western Gulf war veterans' children. I have asked Dr. Gunther's permission for his pictures to be treated as 'Public Domain' and copyright free. He has agreed and you may reproduce them as you see fit.
Both the Pentagon and the British Ministry of Defence officially deny that there is any significant danger from exposure to DU ammunition. And whilst it is conceivable that the US led attacks on Iraq's nuclear power stations could be a contributory factor, most reseachers point to DU as the most likely source of both deformities and cancers. The rising number of cases in Iraq, particularly in the South where the greatest concentration of DU was fired, is simply staggering. Iraqi physicians have never encountered anything like it, and have made the perfectly reasonable point that similar increases in cancer and deformities were experienced in Japan after the two US atomic bomb attacks. Cancer has increased between 7 and 10 fold; deformities between 4 and 6 fold.
Yet the US was well aware of the potential effects on civilians and military personnel of the chemical toxicity and radiological properties of DU ammunition long before the Gulf war began, as the following excerpts of a US Army document categorically state:
"Aerosol DU (Depleted Uranium) exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological and toxicological effects. [...] Under combat conditions, the most exposed individuals are probably ground troops that re-enter a battlefield following the exchange of armour-piercing munitions. [...] We are simply highlighting the potential for levels of DU exposure to military personnel during combat that would be unacceptable during peacetime operations. [...DU is..]... a low level alpha radiation emitter which is linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage. [...] Short term effects of high doses can result in death, while long term effects of low doses have been linked to cancer. [...] Our conclusion regarding the health and environmental acceptability of DU penetrators assume both controlled use and the presence of excellent health physics management practices. Combat conditions will lead to the uncontrolled release of DU. [...] The conditions of the battlefield, and the long term health risks to natives and combat veterans may become issues in the acceptability of the continued use of DU kinetic penetrators for military applications."
- Excerpts from the July 1990 Science and Applications International Corporation report: ' Kinetic Energy Penetrator Environment and Health Considerations', as included in Appenix D - US Army Armaments, Munitions and Chemical Command report: 'Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study, July 1990'
The US was also well aware of the long-term dangers of DU contamination, and played it down, as the following memo and document make clear:
"There has been and continues to be a concern regarding the impact of DU on the environment. Therefore, if no-one makes a case for the effectiveness of DU on the battlefield, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and thus be deleted from the arsenal. I believe we should keep this sensitive issue in mind when action reports are written."
- Lt. Col. M.V. Ziehmn, Los Alamos National Laboratory memorandum, March 1st 1991
"Soldiers may be incidentally exposed to DU from dust and smoke on the battlefield. The Army Surgeon General has determined that it is unlikely that these soldiers will receive a significant internal DU exposure. Medical follow-up is not warranted for soldiers who experience incidental exposure from dust or smoke. [...] Since DU weapons are openly available on the world arms market, DU weapons will be used in future conflicts. The number of DU patients on future battlefields probably will be significantly higher because other countries will use systems containing DU. [...] DU is a low-level radioactive waste, and, therefore, must be disposed of in a licensed repository. [...] No international law, treaty, regulation, or custom requires the United States to remediate the Persian Gulf war battlefields."
- Report by the US Army Environmental Policy Institute: 'Health and Consequences of Depleted Uranium use in the US army', June 1995
DU ammunition is now possessed by more than 12 countries, and was used during the NATO led bombing of the former Yugoslavia. Western forces stationed in the region have recently been advised not to drink the local water or eat locally produced food. Yet the British MoD continues to deny any potential risks, stating: "We have not seen any peer-reviewed epidemiological research data to support these claims [that DU is dangerous.] [...] There are no plans to remove DU-based ammunition from service." (Source: Two letters to me from Simon Wren, Overseas Secretariat, Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London - 20th May 1999, and 22nd March 2000)
On a more personal level, I have heard stories of visitors to Iraq who spoke with mid-wives there. These mid-wives are purported to have said they no longer look forward to births as.... "We don't know what's going to come out."
The pictures below, which are extremely disturbing, show exactly what does.
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