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[casi] Uranium weapons & US war plans - warnings to the UK Government

The UK Government have received the following warnings about US weapons and
war plans recently.

Dai Williams, independent researcher, UK

1. Warning in Parliament
On Thursday 7 November Alice Mahon MP made the most direct challenge to
Government about the use of Uranium weapons I have seen in the last year.
This was in the Iraq (Security Council Resolution) debate:
< Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax): It is clear to many commentators, and I too
believe it, that this is a war resolution. The United States, with the help
of our Government, shamefully, appears to have bullied and intimidated
people into coming on line, and, perhaps, also promised the spoils of
war-oil. The resolution is mined with trip wires to trigger a war. It should
be named after the film "Wag the Dog", because if Iraq does not trip up
soon, I am pretty certain that the United States will make sure that it
I have two questions for when we go to war. First, can we have an absolute
assurance that our Government will have nothing to do with the use of
nuclear weapons, bunker busters or depleted uranium? Secondly, can we be
told the truth about civilian casualties this time? Whenever there is a
statement on Afghanistan, nobody in the Government seems willing to tell us
how many civilians have died there.
Mr. Straw: I am sorry that my hon. Friend takes that view, and I have to say
that I profoundly disagree with everything she has said. > [Extract from UK
Commons Hansard].
Perhaps Alice Mahon had seen the letter I sent to the Prime Minister on 13
October regarding US war plans for Iraq, copy below.  This was published in
Hazards of Uranium weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq on 23 October, ISBN
0-9532083-8-9, available from Politicos bookshop in London.
2. Letter to the Prime Minister regarding UK support for US war plans for
Iraq, 13 October 2002
The Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister
Use of Uranium weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq:
Hazards for civilians and ground forces
I have written to you several times over the past year* regarding suspected
use of Depleted Uranium guided weapons in the Afghan War and their potential
hazards for UK troops, civilian personnel and Afghan citizens.
Several MPs, including my own, have raised these concerns in written
questions to your Ministers, receiving categorical assurances that no
depleted uranium weapons have been used in the Afghan conflict and denying
knowledge of such weapons.
Uranium weapon systems
In recent weeks I have been alarmed by your support for US plans to launch
another major military offensive on Iraq, ostensibly to destroy Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction.
I wonder if you have been briefed about the weapons that US and UK forces
will use in a new attack on Iraq? They will rely heavily on the same hard
target guided bombs and cruise missiles used extensively in Afghanistan,
plus new guided weapons and an array of ground based ballistic or guided
weapons known or suspected of using Uranium warheads or components.
My analysis in January identified 21 weapon systems suspected of containing
Uranium warhead components. My worst case scenario indicated that these may
have dispersed 1000+ tons of Uranium oxides into the Afghan environment.
(refer my report Depleted Uranium weapons 2001-2002, page 95, sent to you
earlier this year).
US Patents verify Uranium warheads
Last week I was advised of US Patent Number 6,389,977 (1997) for a "shrouded
aerial bomb". This is the patent for a series of guided weapons using the
upgraded BLU-109/B warhead. Claim 5 of this patent states:
"The shrouded aerial bomb as claimed in Claim 1, wherein the penetrating
body is formed of depleted uranium."
This and 6 other US patents verify the development of guided weapons and
submunitions with Uranium warheads or components since 1985.
These weapons are large radiological bombs, directly in contravention of
Articles 35 and 55 of the 1st Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions.
They are, put simply, weapons of indiscriminate effect.
You will find a full list of known and suspected Uranium weapons in Table 1
of my report Hazards of suspected Uranium weapons in the proposed war on
Iraq plus the relevant US Patents on my website at .
An additional problem is emerging from my recent investigations. It seems
likely that US arms manufacturers may be using standard, not depleted
uranium in new weapons i.e. Uranium metal with the same isotopic mix as
natural uranium (99.3% U238, 0.7% U235). [see report in the Postscript below
published after this letter].
This would explain why researchers in Hungary and Greece detected increased
airborne Uranium dust soon after the Balkans bombing began, but that it
appeared to be natural, not depleted uranium. It would also explain why US
and Canadian environmental teams in Afghanistan were able to report finding
no depleted uranium contamination (except in a burned out aircraft). It does
not explain Donald Rumsfeld's reference to increased radiation "from
Depleted Uranium on some warheads" in January this year. If Geoff Hoon and
Dr Moonie are aware of this it may have justified their denials in response
to parliamentary questions referring to "depleted" uranium. Independent
researchers are now alert to this possibility. I hope MoD staff are also
considering it. Unfortunately standard uranium is more radioactive than
depleted uranium.
Implications for the Afghan War
These disclosures greatly increase the probability that there are serious
health risks due to Uranium contamination in many parts of Afghanistan.
These risks also apply to UK troops and civilians who have been there in the
past year.
If so your involvement in the war on Afghanistan has not yet finished. You
strongly supported it and committed UK troops to combat and ISAF operations.
I suggest you have a responsibility to establish the full facts about US and
UK weapon systems used in Afghanistan and their consequences for human
health and the environment.
I suggest this is an immediate priority because troops and civilians exposed
to Uranium oxide contamination are vulnerable to ongoing and cumulative
internal radiation exposure. Any further exposure must be avoided without
delay. Some may already have been irretrievably damaged by toxic or
radiation effects that will lead to lymphomas, leukaemias and horrific birth
defects for their children. You are likely to find similar problems emerging
for troops deployed in the Balkans.
Sadly, if my analysis is correct, Uranium contamination in Afghanistan may
be at least 3 times greater than in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War (where 300
tons of DU was admitted). The health consequences in Iraq have become
increasingly obvious over the past 10 years. Your Government's decision to
support the US in vetoing a WHO study into health effects of Depleted
Uranium on Iraqi civilians last November is tragic.
Implications for the proposed war on Iraq
The new evidence that guided weapons used extensively in Afghanistan are
designed to use Uranium warheads has profound implications for US & UK war
plans against Iraq.
Planned attacks on supposed chemical or biological weapons targets in Iraq
will rely extensively on the hard target weapons now identified as using
Uranium warheads. US forces have rebuilt their stocks to September 2001
levels, plus new weapons.
I guess that the UK Storm Shadow cruise missile, also suspected of using
Uranium components, has been tested in Afghanistan and will be operational
in a new attack on Iraq. Other known or suspected Uranium weapons not needed
in Afghanistan (e.g. anti-tank systems) will also be used in large
quantities in Iraq.
The implication is that at least 1500 tons of Uranium weapons will be used
to prosecute US war plans in Iraq, greatly increasing existing Uranium
contamination from 1991 and jeopardising allied troops and Iraqi civilians
Can you justify using known weapons of indiscriminate effect to defeat
supposed weapons of mass destruction? The US has scant regard for
international law in its military operations. What is your Government's view
on knowingly using weapons of indiscriminate effect in Iraq? This letter
puts you on notice of that issue. UK forces are accountable to you. The use
of such weapons contravening international law must be a political, not
military decision, preferably decided by Parliament.
Compromised health research and policy advice
Please also note the warning in my new report that all existing medical
research and policy advice assuring minimal hazards from Depleted Uranium
weapons now require fundamental re-assessment. Official studies (e.g. RAND,
WHO, Royal Society, UNEP) were all based on DU weapons used in 1991 -
maximum size 5 kg. They took no account of large Uranium warheads. The
average size of hard target warheads is 2000 lbs e.g. in the GBU-15, 24, 27
and 31 guided bombs. The latest US Bunker Buster, Big BLU, weighs 10 tons.
US Patent data indicates that at least 50% of these warheads is Uranium or
Tungsten. In Agent Defeat warheads (for chemical or biological targets) it
is probably Uranium due to its powerful incendiary effects.
Regardless of your obligations under international law (which President Bush
has skilfully exempted US citizens from) I suggest you have moral
obligations in this matter.
How will you justify risking the slow death of tens of thousands of people
whose lives will be irreversibly affected by Uranium contamination? The word
genocide comes to mind. This may not concern President Bush. I hope it will
concern you, your Cabinet and all MPs asked to support your plans now you
are alerted to the latest evidence about Uranium weapons.
These facts and their sources (DOD, MOD, Jane's, FAS, CDI) are available in
the report I sent you in January and the two new reports mentioned above
(see last page for links):
These reports are the direct equivalent of your recent Dossier on Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction. You, your Cabinet colleagues and other parties
and MPs may wish to be at least as familiar with facts about US and allied
weapons as about Iraqi weapons before you make any further commitment to
support US war plans against Iraq.
Dangers of Group think
If this letter reaches you I suspect you may be deeply shocked by its
message. I doubt that you have knowingly supported the use of Uranium
weapons in the Balkans or Afghanistan. I doubt if your staff showed you my
earlier report or messages. If you were aware that these weapons were
Uranium based perhaps you have been convinced, like Dr Moonie, that they
present minimal health hazards?
In 1977 Yale psychologist Irving Janis identified a syndrome called Group
Think in the US Government explaining the Bay of Pigs fiasco. This concerns
self-justifying illusions that develop within highly stressed groups -
illusions of invulnerability and of morality that lead to extreme risk
taking, that stifle internal dissent and demonise outsiders.
The US Government displays all the symptoms of Group Think in its approach
to the war on terrorism and plans for Iraq. The US and UK military and arms
industry demonstrate collective group think in justifying and keeping secret
the development and international proliferation of Uranium weapons over the
past 10 years. You and your colleagues may wish to be alert to dangers of
group think too.
Ask your commanders and troops
If my analysis is even partly correct then your military commanders are
likely to be well aware of these Uranium weapons and becoming aware of their
consequences for UK troops. The SAS and Marines recently assigned to heavily
bombed locations in Afghanistan are at highest risk unless they had full NBC
protection all the time. However officers, troops and families may be
trapped by official secrecy, public assurances by Mr Hoon and Dr Moonie, and
collective group think in the MoD "that DU is safe". It may not be DU.
Breaking out of Group think means thinking outside the box of normal
political communications and briefings and giving key staff permission to
express their concerns.
I suggest you ask your military commanders personally about these weapons,
not just relying on briefings from your ministers and the MoD, or from the
Pentagon. I suggest you ask field Medical Officers, not just MoD scientific
advisers. I suggest that you personally meet troops who have been sick or
injured, or whose families have suffered miscarriages or severe birth
defects since service in the Balkans or Afghanistan.
With respect Prime Minister I suggest you need a lot more facts before you
commit more UK troops to a new war in Iraq. At this time you face being
drawn by the Pentagon and US Government into the greatest military scandal
since Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Yours sincerely
Dai Williams (independent weapons researcher)
Surrey, UK
* For previous warnings to the Prime Minister include a letter of 1 November
2001, on page 49 of Depleted Uranium weapons 2001-2002, link in (1) below
Internet references
1. Depleted Uranium weapons 2001-2002 (January 2001) is available at and in Politicos bookshop.
2. Hazards of suspected Uranium weapons in the proposed war on Afghanistan
(Summary, with link to full report, plus US Patent Office references to
conventional guided weapons with suspected Uranium components)
3. Janis, I. L. & Mann, L. (1977). Decision making: A psychological analysis
of conflict, choice, and commitment. NY: Free Press. Summary at

In a presentation to the 3rd GCC Conference of Military Medicine and
Protection against Weapons of Mass Destruction, Qatar, October 20, 2002 Dr
Asaf Durakovic made the following statement.  An ex-Pentagon medical
specialist involved with Gulf War veterans he is now Professor of Nuclear
Medicine and Director of the independent Uranium Medical Research Center in
Canada ( ).
He was reporting analysis of the first medical samples to be independently
tested for suspected Uranium contamination from seriously ill civilians in
eastern Afghanistan.
< Our current data of biological samples from Kandahar, Kabul, and Jalalabad
obtained by state of the art mass spectrometry analysis confirm over 100
times higher concentration of uranium isotopes in the biological specimens
as compared with the control group. The several thousand hard target guided
weapons used in Afghanistan and in the Iraq "no fly zones" should be
addressed by the UN general assembly before any further use in future
military conflicts >
These samples contained undepleted Uranium contamination, as reported in
Hungary during the Balkans war.  This contamination must have been recent
because the patients were unlikely to survive winter conditions in
Afghanistan in this state. There are no known Uranium processing facilities
in Afghanistan.
Suspicion for this contamination falls on US hard target guided weapons some
of which are now known to have been designed with Uranium warhead options
according to US Patent Office records. Future questions about Uranium
weapons and their effects should refer to Uranium in any form (depleted or
undepleted) as done in the letter to the Prime Minister above.

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