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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #91 - 1 msg

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Today's Topics:

   1. Rise in birth deformities blamed on Allies' deadly weaponry (Mark Parkinson)


Message: 1
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 23:32:54 +0100
Subject: Rise in birth deformities blamed on Allies' deadly weaponry

The Iraqi medical system was very advanced and had good record
keeping and research. Is there enough evidence left after the
sanctions and the destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure this
time around? The US and the UK repeatedly blocked WHO investigating
DU in southern Iraq.

By Nigel Morris
13 May 2004

The number of babies born deformed and children suffering leukaemia
have soared because of the "deadly legacy" of depleted uranium shells
used by British and American forces in Iraq, human rights campaigners
claimed yesterday.

Releasing details of health problems and human rights violations
suffered by Iraqi children in the past year, they claim the country's
youngsters faced a worse existence today than they did under Saddam
Hussein's dictatorship.

Depleted uranium was widely used by Allied forces to penetrate Iraqi
tank armour in the Gulf Wars of 1991 and again last year.

Opponents claim the dust it releases upon impact is rapidly absorbed
into the body, causing an upsurge of serious health problems
inherited by Iraqi children during the past 13 years from their

Caroline Lucas, a Green Party Euro-MP who recently visited Basra,
said doctors there had told her that the number of children born with
severe deformities, such as shortened limbs or eye defects, had
increased sevenfold since 1991. In addition they were treating
several new cases of leukaemia every week - before 1991 the condition
was very rare.

"Women in Basra are afraid to become pregnant because there are so
many deformed babies," she said. "We are leaving a deadly legacy for
generations to come."

She made the claims at the launch in London of a new charity, Child
Victims of War (CVW), to help Iraqi youngsters "innocently suffering
malnutrition, disease, disability and psychological trauma".

The amount of depleted uranium used by coalition forces in the two
Gulf Wars is not known, but some estimates suggest it was 300 tons in
1991 and five times as much last year.

CVW says the number of Iraqi babies born with serious deformities has
risen from 3.04 per thousand in 1991 to 22.19 per thousand in 2001.
Babies born with Downs Syndrome have increased nearly fivefold and
there had been a rash of cases of previously little-known eye

The Ministry of Defence insists depleted uranium poses a "minimal"
risk to civilians. But, in a finding strongly disputed by the MoD,
researchers recently discovered radiation levels from destroyed Iraqi
tanks to be 2,500 times higher than normal and 20 times higher than
normal in the surrounding area.

Joanne Baker, the director of CVW, who has just returned from Iraq,
said children had also been maimed by cluster bombs, blamed by Human
Rights Watch for "hundreds of preventable civilian deaths".

She said youngsters were also vulnerable both to coalition forces and
local militia resisting western forces.

She said malnutrition had worsened since the Anglo-US invasion and
unpolluted water was in short supply while standards of hospital care
had fallen because of shortages of medical supplies.

Those children who went to school - and a Christian Aid survey showed
two-thirds of poor youngsters did not - were "so malnourished they
can't concentrate".

Ms Baker claimed: "Every child in Iraq had a degree of psychological

"I have been to Iraq under Saddam and sanctions - most people know
how bad things were - but what has happened this year has plunged
Iraq into a plight which is actually far, far worse," she said.

Ms Baker added: "I am not an apologist for Saddam but I have spoken
to people saying they suffered terribly and they are in tears saying
'I wish he was back'.

"If it is worse than sanctions and Saddam then we are really talking
about a humanitarian catastrophe."

CVW has applied to the Charities Commission for charitable status,
and plans to open an office in Iraq to monitor abuses, counsel those
who have been detained, train human rights groups and provide medical
help to young victims of war.


At the age of seven, Fadel, from Basra in southern Iraq, developed a
devastating, and extremely rare, liver and kidney complaint which
caused her abdomen to swell dramatically. The condition - which has
only been seen in Iraq since 1991 - is thought to be caused by
abnomally high levels of toxic materials in her body.

She underwent agonising hospital treatment, which involved injections
to draw out the huge amounts of water that accumulated. Her cries of
pain were so loud they could be heard down the hospital corridor.
Fadel's father was serving in the Iraqi army during the first Gulf
War when she was conceived. Fadel is believed to have died shortly
after this photograph was taken.

Mark Parkinson

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