US forces' use of depleted uranium
weapons is illegal;
DU in Bosnia
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Datum: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 17:24:43 -0500

Onderwerp: [du-list] 
1) US forces' use of depleted uranium weapons is 'illegal'

2) Depleted Uranium Contamination Found in Bosnia, says UNEP

Extreme deformities in Iraqi children 1 and    2
US forces' use of depleted uranium weapons is illegal

By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor
UK Sunday Herald, March 30, 2003

BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) 
shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United 
Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of 
mass destruction.

DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers 
using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to 
birth defects in children.

Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium 
project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville 
University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US 
department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium 
desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.

Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about 
Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using 
weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: 'Such double-standards 
are repellent.'

The latest use of DU in the current conflict came on Friday when an 
American A10 tankbuster plane fired a DU shell, killing one British 
soldier and injuring three others in a 'friendly fire' incident.

According to a August 2002 report by the UN subcommission, laws which 
are breached by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration 
of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide 
Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions 
of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague 
Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison 
or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to 
cause unnecessary suffering'. All of these laws are designed to spare 
civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.

DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by 
chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 
US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.

It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of 
birth deformities and cancer in Iraq' following the first Gulf war.

'Cancer appears to have increased between seven and 10 times and 
deformities between four and six times,' according to the UN subcommission.

The Pentagon has admitted that 320 metric tons of DU were left on the 
battlefield after the first Gulf war, although Russian military experts 
say 1000 metric tons is a more accurate figure.

In 1991, the Allies fired 944,000 DU rounds or some 2700 tons of DU 
tipped bombs. A UK Atomic Energy Authority report said that some 500,000 
people would die before the end of this century, due to radioactive 
debris left in the desert.

The use of DU has also led to birth defects in the children of Allied 
veterans and is believed to be the cause of the 'worrying number of 
anophthalmos cases -- babies born without eyes' in Iraq. Only one in 50 
million births should be anophthalmic, yet one Baghdad hospital had 
eight cases in just two years. Seven of the fathers had been exposed to 
American DU anti-tank rounds in 1991. There have also been cases of 
Iraqi babies born without the crowns of their skulls, a deformity also 
linked to DU shelling.

A study of Gulf war veterans showed that 67% had children with severe 
illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and 
fused fingers.

Rokke told the Sunday Herald: 'A nation's military personnel cannot 
wilfully contaminate any other nation, cause harm to persons and the 
environment and then ignore the consequences of their actions.

'To do so is a crime against humanity.

'We must do what is right for the citizens of the world -- ban DU.'

He called on the US and UK to 'recognise the immoral consequences of 
their actions and assume responsibility for medical care and thorough 
environmental remediation'.

He added: 'We can't just use munitions which leave a toxic wasteland 
behind them and kill indiscriminately.

'It is equivalent to a war crime.'

Rokke said that coalition troops were currently fighting in the Gulf 
without adequate respiratory protection against DU contamination.

The Sunday Herald has previously revealed how the Ministry of Defence 
had test-fired some 6350 DU rounds into the Solway Firth over more than 
a decade, from 1989 to 1999.

The quantitative analysis of depleted uranium isotopes in British, Canadian, and U.S. Gulf War veterans. Horan P, Dietz L, Durakovic A.

Depleted Uranium Contamination Found in Bosnia, says 

Lisa Schein
30 Mar 2003, 19:02 UTC VOA (Voice of America)

The U.N. Environment Program says it has found contamination from 
depleted uranium used to harden anti-tank weapons used by NATO forces 
during the 1994-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. UNEP says the substance 
has contaminated local supplies of drinking water at one site, and can 
still be found in dust particles suspended in the air. But, the findings 
are not alarming experts.

The U.N. report says the recorded contamination levels are very low and 
do not present immediate radioactive or toxic risks for the environment 
or human health.

The head of the team that carried out the investigation, Pekka Haavisto, 
says World Health Organization scientists also cannot establish a link 
between depleted uranium and health problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"Their first conclusion was that based on the data that was available, 
they cannot see any link between the [depleted uranium] attacks or 
[depleted uranium] sites and the health problems," he said.

Nevertheless, the World Health Organization recommends that anyone with 
a specific health claim should be examined carefully.

In October, 70 scientists and environmental experts visited 15 sites in 
Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been bombed during the war.

Mr. Haavisto says the team found the presence of depleted uranium at two 
locations. He says neither of these sites had been properly cleaned up.

He says it is cause for concern because one place is a busy industrial 
area and the other is a military garrison where young soldiers are being 
trained in a place that is contaminated by depleted uranium. Both sites 
were targeted by warheads containing depleted uranium during the war.

"The levels of contamination, the levels of radioactivity are very low, 
the levels of toxicity are quite low - for the precaution, our immediate 
recommendation is that these areas be immediately cleaned up," he said.

The U.N. report records the first instance of depleted uranium 
contamination of groundwater in Bosnia. It recommends that alternative 
water sources be used and that water samples be monitored for several 

Listen to Lisa Schlein's report (RealAudio)

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Issues on the Use and Effects of Depleted Uranium Weapons

The quantitative analysis of depleted uranium isotopes in British, Canadian, and U.S. Gulf War veterans. Horan P, Dietz L, Durakovic A.