World Tribunal of Iraq Istanbul, Turkey 25 June 2005
Fourth Session / The Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (Moderator: Haifa Zangana)
The Excessive Use of Weapons and Banned Weapons
by Akira Maeda, Sayo Saruta, Koichi Inamori, ICTI
The Use of Depleted Uranium (DU) Weapons
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.".
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.
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. 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.
2. 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:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) It is very cheap because its raw materials are radioactive wastes.However, when depleted uranium explodes upon impact, and burns with high temperature, it becomes microparticles 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.
3. 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.
1) 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.
i. 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?" .
ii. 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."
iii. 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.” 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. 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.” .
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.
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.
2) 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.
4. 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 DUrelated 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.
1) 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.
(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.
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.
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 . 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.
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.
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.
2) 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 .
(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.
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. 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.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.
3) 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. 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 . 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 . Also, in 1997, Gray reported that hospitalization rate was 10% higher among soldiers who participated in the Gulf War . 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) . 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, 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 . 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. 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. .
(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.
(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. 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. 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.
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.
4) 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 .
(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.
5. 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:
1) 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. 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; _2It 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."
2) 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 :
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 resort 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, AMCCOMfs radiological task group has stated, “Long term effects of low doses (of DU) have been implicated in cancercthere 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 Generalfs 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.
3) 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. Threfore, 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 00 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).
4) 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 Forcefs 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.”
The 70's was a period when the US military began a full-scale development and production of DU bombshells.
6. 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. 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.
2) 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."
3) 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 idology 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.
4) 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.
7. 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 Forces have evidently violated all the 3 above-mentioned principles.
1) 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).
2) 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.
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 . 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. 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 abovementioned 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.
About the authors:
HANA IBRAHIM (Iraq)
Writer and journalist, she worked in the Palestine camps in Jordan and Lebanon during 1970-73. She was the manager of Women's Cultural Center in Baghdad and edited and wrote in many feminist journals. She worked in the Occupation Watch Center in 2004. She is currently the Chair of Women's Will organisation and is editing its journal.
SAYO SARUTA (Japan)
Saruta is a lawyer. She chaired the panel of prosecution in both the ICTA and ICTI, two civilian tribunal initiatives on Afghanistan and Iraq,respectively.
Lawyer, member of the panel of prosecutors for ICTI. Also member of the prosecution in the lawsuit over unconstitutionality of dispatching SDF to Iraq. He is also lecturer at Aichi University.