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[casi] Hamburg: World Uranium Weapons Conference
World Uranium Weapons Conference

      Depleted Uranium and other Uranium Weapons

      Trojan Horse of a Nuclear War

      An International Educational/Organizing Conference

      October 16-19, 2003



      Summary of Event

      This text as Acrobat-PDF-document

      World Depleted/Uranium Weapons Conference

      We are preparing a World Uranium Weapons Conference to do work on a
new and in some ways more prevalent and immediate nuclear threat: the issue
of organizing an international campaign seeking the official ban of uranium
weapons and their classification as weapons of mass destruction.

      For some years activists have faced the problem that the U.S. and
British government are producing and upgrading their weapon systems
containing uranium. With these also-radioactive weapons the boundaries
between conventional and nuclear weapons becomes completely obscured. Ramsey
Clark, former Attorney General of the United States writes,

      "DU weapons are not conventional weapons. They are highly toxic,
radioactive weapons. All international law on warfare has attempted to limit
violence to combatants and to prevent the use of cruel unfocussed
weapons..Consequently, DU weapons violate international law because of their
inherent cruelty and unconfined death dealing effect. They threaten civilian
populations now and for generations to come."

      Under pressure from activist groups the military itself was
reluctantly forced to admit that huge amounts of uranium weapons (320 t DU)
got used for the first time in southern Iraq in 1991, 3 t in Bosnia and 10 t
in Serbia and Kosovo. Credible independent researchers believe that some
1000 t uranium was used in the bombing in Afghanistan, and at least that the
same amount is expected in the recent war in Iraq. Experts from all allied
NATO countries are observing an increase of the so-called Gulf and Balkan
War Syndrome amongst veterans, which some link to the use of uranium
ammunitions. Leading international independent researchers believe that
exposure to DU during the 1991 Gulf War are responsible for the majority of
the current, ongoing medical problems reported by over 260,000 returning
veterans (one-third of all the troops participating in that war!), a rate
with dire implications for future wars and conflicts where these weapons
were recently and further intended to be used.

      The uranium isotope used in DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
DU and other uranium weapons are weapons with indiscriminate effects,
causing genetic damage and by this endangering over generations the human
race as a whole. Articles 35 and 56 of the Geneva Convention clearly
prohibit weapons which are this indiscriminate and catastrophic in their
effects on civilian populations, suggesting that their use could legally
constitute war crimes.

      The governments using DU ammunition deny the link of these weapons
with the illnesses and are lobbying hard to make a large, scientifically
credible inquiry in Iraq impossible. They even try to hide the information
of which kinds of weapons contain uranium today.

      Cancer rates in Iraq have increased dramatically over the rates noted
before the Gulf War of 1991. A planned study supposed to be done by the UN
was turned down in December 2001 under the pressure of the U.S. government.
Also scientific magazines infrequently publish the results of smaller
independent studies (1). This whole situation brought quite some irritation
inside the scientific circle and inside the peace activist movement. For
example the results of two recent studies which have already calculated the
cumulative dose effects to both Iraqi civilians and Allied and Iraqi troops
during the Gulf War if 1991 are not well known among the larger
international medical, health and scientific communities; while at the same
time, reports by government bodies who use DU ammunitions are well
publicised, distributed and give the impression that no or little effect

      We believe a World Uranium Weapons Conference is needed to bring
together the scientific experts with their independent studies and the
peace, veterans, and anti-nuclear movements to get updated and have the
results of their studies and their work combined. The Conference will also
include extra time for the conference members to combine existing
information, and to discuss the need for creating, conducting and funding
their own additional independent, peer-reviewed, international study on the
health hazards caused by the use of uranium weapons worldwide. Specifically,
attention must be given to Iraq before the data is lost or corrupted by the
occupation. Because many governments have the stated agenda of perpetuating
uranium weapons, their conclusions about uranium weapons effects are not
reliable or acceptable. Therefore, the independent international
non-governmental movements will have to be responsible for the huge costs of
this kind of study, which cannot be done by a single country or

      Ideally such a study should be conducted or co-ordinated by WHOWHO´s
operations are potentially compromised by its constitutional obligations to
the IAEA with its strong obligations tothe nuclear lobby. The WHO is not
allowed to publish results without the consensus of the IAEA. The results of
any study done by WHO on DU or other uranium weapons issues therefore should
be highly suspect in its credibility. It therefore becomes the additional
responsibility of our movements to constantly review and publicly critique
all governmental claims on these issues.

      Full-scale independent peer review of existing data, continued
independent study, and a unified plan of action will lead to the evidence
needed to get uranium weapons officially banned by the international

      Thank you for your consideration of this project. We welcome your
future interest and involvement.

      For peace,

      Marion Kuepker

      Co-Coordinator, GAAA

      World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference -

      Co-Coordinator Marion Kuepker, Germany, ph. +49 40 4307332,

      Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen,

      [The Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen - GAAA - is a German
non-governmental organisation dedicated to the total abolition of nuclear
weapons. GAAA observes and pressures the nuclear weapon states to fulfil
their obligation under international law and treaties to start to abolish
their nuclear weapons. The U.S. government has deployed B-61 nuclear bombs
in seven different European countries and has also stationed Thunderbolt
warplanes with depleted uranium ammunition in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
We organise actions on civil disobedience at these military bases in
Germany, and conduct public hearings to inform the German population.
Besides this we do lobby work and network with affiliated groups in Europe
and throughout the world.]

      (1) Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, Environmental Damages Resulting from Using
Depleted Uranium Weaponry against Iraq During 1991 Aggression by USA and its
Allies; also, Prof. Asaf Durakovic, M.D., Urinary Excretion of Uranium
Isotopes in the Gulf War Veterans After Inhalation Exposure to Depleted
Uranium, Eleventh International Congress of Radiation Research, Dublin,
Ireland, July 18-23, 1999; Urinary Excretion of Uranium Isotopes in British,
Canadian and United States Gulf War Veterans, European Association of
Nuclear Medicine, Paris, September 2-6, 2000.


Background of the Issue

This text as Acrobat-PDF-document

Uranium Weapons Cover-ups - a Crime against Humankind

Piotr Bein, Ph.D., M.A.Sc., P.Eng.,

Karen Parker, J.D., Diplome (Strasbourg)

Paper prepared in January 2003, for a monograph Politics and Environmental
Policy in the 21st Century, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of

.They are no more

All powerful.

As their secrets

Are unfolded.

Afon Claerwen, 28 November 2002


Key words:

radiological weapons, humanitarian law, crimes against humanity, information

Munitions that contain low-grade uranium 235 - insufficient to trigger
nuclear explosion - are chemical-radiological weapons. They contain other
toxic-radioactive elements and have indiscriminate effects. They are illegal
by virtue of international conventions, laws and customs of war. When used
in populated areas or in the presence of numerous troops (enemy or
friendly), they become weapons of delayed but mass destruction (WMD). Fatal
consequences of depleted uranium (DU) armour-piercing ammunition emerged in
veterans and civilians after wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. While
the victims remain neglected, hundreds of tons of uranium from weapons
developed in recent years against hard and buried targets have polluted
Afghanistan. Up-coming war scenarios involve larger chemical-radiological
contamination potential.

The military, governments, and nuclear and weapon industries fail to or
inadequately disclose the effects of uranium weapons, and manipulate
inquiries of international health organizations. The media act as a
propaganda outlet for these groups. The purpose of Information Operations
behind the propaganda is to influence perceptions and actions of foreign and
domestic public, governments, and intelligence. A spiraling group
self-deception perpetuates the propaganda for fear of liability and criminal
responsibility. Covering up information on war crimes and crimes against
humanity, and military and foreign policy based on such information, are
crimes themselves.

Independent researchers urge priority actions to reverse the cycle of
deception and human suffering ecause of deception on uranium weapons: (i)
weapon inspections to determine which ones contain uranium, (ii) target
inspection to identify those hit and contaminated by uranium weapons, (iii)
health monitoring and support for target communities in uranium-contaminated
areas, and (v) fundamental review of all research that was so far restricted
to DU instead of uranium weaponry in general.

The weapons clearly violate humanitarian law, even in the absence of a
specific treaty barring their use. The violations related to the use of the
weapons are sufficiently grave to be classified war crimes or crimes against
humanity, which would impose legal liability and criminal sanctions on the
users as well as fair compensation and other remedies for the victims of
these weapons. A treaty banning uranium weaponry is not necessary, but
preparations for one could be exploited to duck responsibility. Even
beginning the process to draft a treaty could be used by the US to argue
that any ban on uranium weaponry in light of existing customary law is null
and void. The US uses public pressure for an anti-DU treaty to bolster its
position and to argue against the existing ban. Unsuspecting activists play
into the US position and seriously undermine all anti-uranium initiatives.


The concept of toxic-radioactive warfare dates back to World War II when air
attacks with uranium oxide aerosols were considered a realistic threat.
Since then, the US has developed depleted uranium (DU) ammunition (for
example, the bibliography of Loewenstein [1992]). Depleted uranium (DU)
became a contentious political-environmental issue after US, UK and other
countries' involvement in wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Leading
scientists in the area of radiation and its consequences have joined with an
increasing number of victims of DU weaponry (including former combatants and
civilians), and have squared off against the governments that have developed
and used, or sanctioned the use of, these weapons.

The "Kosovo" DU scandal in 2000/2001 saw tools of information warfare
employed to cover-up use of uranium non-atomic weapons, including
intimidation of vocal victims of DU, independent researchers, and activists
in the West and former Soviet block countries. A consequential information
warfare and the politics regarding DU is tracked by the growing number of
concerned groups, including, for example, DU-Watch (
Contributed to by many individuals, this material precipitated propaganda
analyses presented to international conferences in Manchester in November
2000 [Bein] and in Prague a year later [Bein and Zoric]. A recent article
describes information warfare in the context of war propaganda constructed
around the "Osama-WMD" theme [Chossudovsky, 2003].

UK researcher Dai Williams, who substantially expanded the understanding of
uranium weapons and their political cover-up, has posted a number of
essential materials at For example, in 1997, a US Air
Force mission plan indicated a new generation of hard target guided weapons
with warheads from 120 kg to 10 t that would use "dense metal" to double
their penetration effect. Misinformation and cover-ups of these weapons
exhibit patterns similar to those employed for DU armour-piercers. Williams
writes: "The principle that uranium (depleted or not) is used in some guided
weapons, as well as anti-tank penetrators, is now established by statements
from Jane's, [US secretary of defense] Donald Rumsfeld and the UK Ministry
of Defence. The question now is not 'Has Uranium been used in guided
weapons?' but 'Which ones, how many, when and where?'"

The findings of research into the effects or DU and other weaponry
containing radiation but not causing nuclear explosions (which as a whole
can be referred to as radiological weaponry) are indisputable. Even a
cursory review of existing norms of the laws and customs of war
(humanitarian law) supports the conclusion that uranium weaponry of any type
is so patently illegal that the discussion should really focus on bringing
to justice those who have used it and redirecting action towards the victims
of these weapons. But the international community still confronts the
"denial and deflect" policies of the users.

Why this quest to cover-up uranium weapons and misrepresent their health and
environmental effects? The paper seeks to answer the question step-by-step.
Part 1 briefly sets out the science of radiological weapons, and summarizes
their hazards. It then sets out a digest of official documents proving that
the authorities responsible for uranium contamination knew about the risks
involved - the principal reason they suppressed the evidence. Part 2
overviews humanitarian law relating to weaponry and the consequences of
violations, including the duty to condemn such weaponry, the duty to
compensate victims (redress), and the duty to clean up. Understanding of
this clearly shows why those responsible think they have to cover-up that
they knowingly developed and used "illegal" weapons. Rather than face those
consequences, they misstate, mislead, and misinform. Part 3 analyses the
details of the cover-ups with a view on exposing the methods and tactics and
providing a way to counter the damage caused by the cover-ups.

Part 1: Uranium weapons and their hazards

Uranium properties and military non-nuclear applications

Counting only uranium isotopes, uranium ore contains 99.3% U-238, 0.7% U-235
and traces of U-234. DU metal is depleted of U-235 down to about 0.2%, hence
the name. The rest is U-238 and traces of U-234. The combined radioactivity
of DU is about 40% less than in the natural mix of uranium isotopes.
References on DU weapons describe physical properties of the metal as if
other metallic forms of uranium differed. This is true for uranium alloyed
with other metals that can significantly alter the original properties, but
not for the uranium isotopes. For example, a mix of 99.3% U-238, 0.7% U-235
and trace quantity of U-234 would have the same physical properties as DU,
but would be difficult to detect, since the ratio of uranium isotopes, the
prime detection parameter for DU, would be similar to that in nature.

At 19.1 g/cm3, uranium has an advantage over slightly denser tungsten, which
is not as abundant and very expensive. The nuclear industry has hundreds of
thousands tons of waste DU to dispose of after U-235 has been extracted. For
the US arms makers, who obtain enrichment byproduct uranium free of charge,
DU opened an opportunity. The first non-atomic weapon that employed DU was
the "silver bullet". At a high speed of impact, bullet's density, hardness
and flammability enable penetration into heavily armoured targets. Tungsten
does not ignite as easily and is 1.75 times harder, which together with a
much higher melting point, makes it more difficult to work with, compared to
DU. Alloying with 0.75% titanium increases hardness of DU anti-tank
penetrators. Manufacturing processes e.g. heat treatment and forging,
determine DU's strength and fragmentation qualities.

The applications of armour-piercers range from 20 mm Phalanx gun in the navy
for piercing attacking missiles, through 30 mm gun in A-10 aircraft, to 105
mm and larger tank barrels. Tank armour and removable armour of combat
vehicles are hardened with DU plate. Many countries, industrialized and
poor, make and use the DU bullets and armour.

Significantly more uranium than in DU bullets would be used in weapons
developed under a Hard or Deeply Buried Target Defeat Capability (HDBTDC)
programme launched by the US military in the mid 1990s
[]. The weapons must be able to
penetrate targets in hardened buildings, or underground. This can be
accomplished with a high density penetrating warheads with smart fuses that
delay detonation until the weapon is in the desired space, for example, on
the lowest level of a multi-level concrete building. The weapons also need
to neutralize chemical and biological agents before they escape into the
environment, by using incendiary warheads.

Owing to its density, uranium - depleted or not - can double the penetration
power relative to older weapons. Currently, over 20 weapon systems against
hard and buried targets, stocked for imminent "wars on terror", are most
likely made of uranium. New versions are under development and testing. The
biggest of them, Big BLU, contains several tons of a "dense metal" in the
penetrator alone. The mysterious metal must be uranium, since as dense and
harder tungsten would be prohibitively expensive, less workable and not
readily ignitable. Dr. Asaf Durakovic measured very significantly higher
levels of uranium in Afghanis near targets hit by penetrating bombs and
missiles. His team noticed the weapons punched through several concrete
floors and walls, then buried 3 to 4 meters in the earth before exploding.
[]. Were they used in foreseeable war scenarios, the weapons
would produce contamination levels significantly higher than from DU bullets
in the Gulf War.

For its pyrophoric properties, i.e. spontaneous burning in air when in fine
form (swarfs, metallic dust), uranium in an incendiary warhead could be
effective in neutralizing biological or chemical weapons facilities hidden
underground or in concrete structures. Powdered uranium could be the
incendiary agent in the last stage of a warhead in a penetrating weapon
cased or ballasted with uranium. The incendiary warhead would add its mass
to the weapon's penetrating impact.

The shaped charge technology also employs uranium. By focusing explosives in
one direction e.g. by containing them with a conical or concave hemisphere
metal liner, detonation compresses and squeezes the liner forward, forming a
jet of molten metal traveling as fast as 10 km/s. Jane's website indicated
some time ago that DU was used as "liners in shaped charge warheads". Guided
weapons ranging from Maverick and Hellfire missiles to torpedoes,
sub-munitions in cluster bombs and the first stage of BROACH MWS warheads
use this technology. At his website Williams provides an in-depth,
up-to-date review of both the HDBTDC and shaped charge weaponry.

DU is used in counterweights of military aircraft. Civilian aircraft
gradually abandon the use of DU weights in favour of safer tungsten, after a
number of crashes in which DU weights burned in the fire and contaminated
populated areas. Some helicopters have DU weights in the rotor blades, for
example, Apache A64 has 100 kg. DU weights would be logical in guided
missiles and in other weapons that employ, like aircraft, flight control
surfaces. Small quantities of uranium may be in navigational equipment in
aircraft, vessels and land vehicles.

During the "Kosovo DU" scandal, U-236, plutonium, americum and other
transuranic elements turned out to be in DU, contrary to industry
specifications. Although these extremely toxic and radioactive substances
were present only in trace quantities, their high power significantly
increases the toxicity and radioactivity of the 30 mm DU bullets shot in
Operation Allied Force. The substances are spent nuclear fuels and nuclear
waste recycled into DU stock. Uranium alloy in weapons has a composition and
toxic-radioactive properties depending on what other materials in what
quantities have been blended in.

It is, of course, convenient to dispose of very hazardous nuclear waste far
away from the producer's country. Much testing of DU weaponry took place
outside the national territory of the United States: Okinawa, Puerto Rico
(Vieques), Panama (whose government found out about it after the fact) and
on lands legally considered to be the lands of Indigenous Peoples in the
United States. According to Williams's compilation of industry and military
sources, other radiological weapons were most likely tested in Iraq
(Operation Desert Storm 1991, Desert Fox 1998), in air raids in Iraq's
no-fly zone since 1992) and the Balkans (Bosnia 1994-1995, Kosovo 1999).
Most recently in Afghanistan, the use of these weapons was confirmed by high
contamination of residents near sites hit by hard-target weapons. Use
outside a states' territory brings in a whole body of international
prohibitions related to "exporting" hazardous materials. As will be set out
in Part II, responsible authorities are liable under a wide range of
international law beyond humanitarian law.

Fate of uranium in radiological weapons

Upon impact, the high kinetic energy of an armour-piercing DU projectile
ignites it and helps it penetrate the armour, self-sharpening fashion. Part
of DU metal vaporizes into a very fine dust (aerosol) of uranium oxides.
About two-thirds are dark brown and black insoluble particles,. Those
oxygen-rich are soluble in water, and yellow and orange in colour. The dust
covers the target area, is readily re-suspended, and can travel with wind
for at least tens of km. Fire consuming DU ammunition and DU armour also
turns the metal into oxide particles. Depleted uranium rounds that miss the
target may corrode in soil or water, producing fine material that disperses
with air movements and washes away.

Uranium oxide residue includes unnatural, sharp-edged ceramic particles that
pose a special hazard inside the body. About 50 - 70% of the particles in
the dust are respirable, i.e. less than 10 ?m in size. Soldiers who survive
an attack by DU ammunition may have DU metal and dust in the wounds. They
will likely have inhaled or ingested far more DU dust than recommended
limits on intake. Civilians may also inhale or ingest DU dust or collect
fragments of DU metal.

Several US Bradley fighting vehicles were buried in Saudi Arabia due to
"substantial non-removable depleted uranium contamination." The remaining
vehicles and tanks were shipped to a decontamination facility in the USA,
where workers in protective suits cleaned up some vehicles, but the more
heavily contaminated equipment was buried in a radioactive waste dump The
Kuwaiti government hired foreign contractors to gather destroyed Iraqi
equipment in its territory, including vehicles contaminated with DU [US Army
Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1995]. A 1995 article in
the US Army magazine Armor gave advice on minimizing exposure to DU: "If you
find radioactive DU contamination on a vehicle, move the vehicle to a site
away from water sources, food storage or eating areas, and occupied bivouac
sites [...] always keep personnel away from contaminated equipment or
terrain unless required to complete the mission."

DU particles still fly around DU battlefields and beyond. With a half-life
of 4.5 billion years, U-238 particles contaminate practically forever.
Elevated radioactivity levels (from U-235 and decay products of U-238 in DU,
from transuranics, and U-236 contained in "dirty" DU, or from other uranium
non-nuclear weapons used in the Gulf War) were measured in Bulgaria, when
the wind blew from the Persian Gulf. A decade after the Gulf War, Dr. Chris
Busby measured ?-activity on the battlefields in southern Iraq at 20 times
higher level than in Baghdad, and in the populated Basrah region adjacent to
the battlefields - at 10 times higher level.

In November 2002, UN Environmental Program (UNEP) investigators of the fate
of DU ammunition used in 1994-1995 in Bosnia recommended evacuation and
cleanups of contaminated buildings and grounds in Hadzici (Sarajevo) and Han
Pijesak (Republika Srpska). Hadzici refugees in Bratunac and elsewhere have
died of radiation exposure, but a report from a local health professional
Dr. Slavica Jovanovic has not been published yet. In Kosovo, Montenegro and
Southern Serbia, DU-sites were previously marked, fenced off, and
contaminated soil was removed to storage at the Yugoslav nuclear institute
in Vinca.

Soldiers bring DU particles home on clothing and on "souvenirs" collected
from the battlefields. Many of non-combat military, civilians at the ports
receiving Gulf War soldiers and equipment, as well as families of the
combatants contracted Gulf War syndrome, without ever being near DU
battlefields, and without receiving vaccinations that were administered to
the combatants. In October 2002, vice chairman of the US veterans coalition
Denise Nichols stated in her critique of the government's analysis of Gulf
War casualties: "Civilians - meaning service personnel wives and children -
have reported in ill but no data has been provided on that! These service
personnel sent home items from the Gulf and then returned, themselves and
more equipment after the war. Members of the same units, who did not go to
the war but dealt with returning equipment from the Gulf have reported ill.
Civilians at the port sites that work with the equipment returning from the
Gulf have reported in ill. Their families have also experienced health

The combat fate of uranium in the other munitions is similar to that in DU
bullets and armour. The energy of impact of uranium penetrators might ignite
the metal, or else uranium would burn in the explosion. If uranium remained
as fragments, it would eventually corrode. Uranium lining of shaped charges
likely turns partially into uranium oxide dust with a high proportion of
ceramic particles. Production, testing, and disposal of uranium weapons
create similar hazards as combat use. To date, most of the states in the US
have hosted these activities. Data is scarce on similar problems in over 30
other countries that produce and use uranium non-nuclear weapons. Many
people exposed in uranium mining, nuclear industry processes, DU weapons
manufacturing, testing ranges and disposal sites show significant increases
in slow onset cancers, compared to less exposed communities and occupations
See reports of the Military Toxics Project [].

The cleanup bill for DU fine particles, shrapnel and unexploded ammunition
at just one of many such places around the world, the Jefferson Proving
Ground in Indiana, would be $7.8 billion, so the area was not cleaned up but
closed. Disposal of expired uranium weapons can release an order of
magnitude more contamination than uranium battles. The Sierra Army Depot in
Northern California has burned tens of times more DU munitions than all DU
wars have used [The Chugoku Shimbun, May 19, 2000].

In a fire at a DU munitions plant near New York in the 1970s, DU dust was
carried downwind 41 km from the site of the fire. More recent fires at the
UK Royal Ordnance factory in Featherstone in 1996 and 1999 sent plumes tens
of km away from the source. In 1999, a plume of smoke reached 50 km out,
exposing thousands of local residents to uranium dust for at least several
weeks. The fire released 200-500 kg of DU, the mass of uranium in a
medium-sized penetrating bomb. The fallout fell down on unknown locations.

A 1991 fire at the US Army base in Doha, Kuwait, destroyed 300 high caliber
DU tank rounds, an unknown number of small caliber DU rounds, and four tanks
with DU armour and 111 rounds of 120 mm ammunition. Thousands of soldiers
were exposed to airborne uranium oxide. The amount of uranium released would
be a few tons - as much as in the largest hard-target guided weapon. This
information was leaked to the media from the US Army's CHPPM report that has
not been released to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War
Illnesses. US troops are still stationed at Doha.

Smaller-scale incidents are also hazardous. One involving pulverization of
metallic DU occurred at the Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The following
note was sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on July 27, 1999: "A
technician was found using a hammer and chisel to remove installed depleted
uranium counterweights from the aileron. This process produced dust and
debris that was scattered by a nearby fan. The technician using a hammer and
chisel on the depleted uranium was in violation of several rules [...] The
area has been secured and decontamination procedures initiated."

Hazards of uranium

The main hazards of uranium are fire, toxicity, and radioactivity. Uranium
in larger chunks ignites at 500 deg C, while in finer form it self-ignites
and burns spontaneously in the air. Heavy metal uranium forms oxides that
are as toxic as arsenic compounds, particularly affecting the renal system.
Inhaling and swallowing a high dose of uranium oxides entering nose and
throat could pose a serious risk, as could happen in an acute exposure to
explosion dust and debris from a uranium weapon. Prolonged exposure in a
contaminated environment would lead to similar effects.

As in the toxic hazard, radioactive risks arise by inhaling uranium dust in
the air and ingesting it from dust in the mouth, water, or food. Inhaled
particles under 2.5 ?m enter deep into the lungs. The body removes insoluble
uranium oxides very slowly, halving their amount in 10 to 20 years. Some
particles may move from the lung to the lymph nodes and bone. U-238 emits
mainly ?-particles - high energy but ranging only a few millimeters in the
air, and ?-particles and ?-rays from its products of decay. Hence the
radiological insult from a microscopic speck of U-238 oxide inside the body
is focused on the surrounding tissue within a radius of about 30 microns.
"Impurities" added to DU in the recycling process add other "hot "
micro-particles to the hazards of pure DU.

Uranium radiation hazards are covered-up and misrepresented. The total
radiological dose inside a person over years severely exceeds safe limits.
Limits set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
derive from empirically invalid assumptions due to secrecy and distortions
around the effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, then around Cold War
developments of nuclear power and weapons. The ICRP risk model was based on
studies of bomb survivors, which overlooked the effects from an internal
radiation source and ignored cancers that take decades to appear. Physicists
instead of biologists developed the ICRP model before DNA was known, yet it
purports to represent cell damage processes. ICRP model spreads a dose over
a large mass of tissue instead of considering biophysical and biochemical
damage mechanisms at the cellular level. A critique was just published by
the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR). It shows ICRP models of
risk from internal particles underestimate empirical mortality and morbidity
by a factor of 100 to 1000.

Long before the ECRR critique, standard textbooks on radioactivity have been
stating that if ?-particles enter the body with inhalation, food or through
open wounds, they become exceptionally dangerous, since they emit much
energy to each cell. The standard texts are also clear that long-term
effects of accumulated small exposures transfer to future generations. Every
dose is harmful and can cause cancer or genetic changes after years,
therefore one must always avoid unnecessary exposure and maintain doses in
smallest quantities possible.

The hazard of ?-particles is large despite their short range in a tissue,
for example, 30 microns in the lungs. Although ?-particles penetrate tissue
to the depth of several centimeters, the resulting biological damage is
significantly smaller compared to that of ?-particles. The tissue weakens ?-
and X-rays only to a small degree. The biological effect of one absorbed
quantum of ?- and X-ray radiation in the tissue is the same as from one
quantum of ?-radiation. External exposure by contact with DU metal can be
hazardous; over less than a few hours one can get annual allowable dose. DU
contaminated by nuclear waste blended into it is more risky. Many military
and civilians got sick from wearing "DU jewellery" or keeping DU fragments
in the pockets.

One mg of U-238 emits per year the equivalent of over one billion high
energy, ionizing particles and rays that can produce extensive biological
damage. The mass of inhalable particles is typically a few nanograms (one
billionth of a gram), so a typical one may emit about a thousand particles
per year, or one every few hours. The energy of each ?-particle exceeds the
damage threshold of vital cell-building molecules. Novel chemical reactions
take place, which alter or destroy the shape, organisation and function of
these molecules. A particle of uranium oxide lodged in the tissue damages a
cell beyond repair []. The radiological
insult triggers biological damage mechanisms, which extend the initial
damage. ECRR attributes a 1000 more damaging power to a U-238 particle
lodged in the tissue, compared to other forms of ingested and inhaled U-238.

Health effects of uranium exposure

The health effects depend on the quantity of uranium oxide dust inhaled or
ingested, frequency, and duration of exposure. A high initial dose can cause
acute respiratory failure and poisoning, leading to death within a few days.
Smaller doses cause hair loss, reduced regeneration of skin and nails,
physical weakness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, and immune and
peripheral nervous system damage manifested up to a few months after the
initial exposure. After a year and longer, medium to high doses may cause
birth defects in infants of pregnant women, leukemia, and rapid-onset
cancers, followed later by slower cancers. Smaller initial doses longer-term
may produce multiple physical and mental symptoms, and nervous debilitation.

Damage of immune system in exposed population could be a major mortality
factor in Afghanistan, where several hundred tons of uranium was released
from hard-target weapons. Plagued by winter cold and starvation, uranium
casualties with reduced immunity would have greatly reduced chances of
surviving common diseases. Many could have died without being diagnosed with
uranium exposure. The same factor could increase morbidity and mortality in
Iraq and Yugoslavia - both countries under international embargo, and
consequent impoverishment of the population coupled with reduced ability of
local authorities to care for the sick. A team from the Uranium Medical
Research Center (UMRC) reported after a visit to hard-target bomb sites in
Afghanistan []: "The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth
of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at
every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the
civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination
by Uranium."

The acute symptoms above have been reported by Gulf War veterans, including
post-conflict military personnel exposed to targets contaminated by DU. The
slower onset illness and disorders have been reported by Gulf veterans, and
doctors and health researchers who have worked with civilians exposed to DU
in Iraq. Leukemia, cancers and birth deformities are on an increase among
international soldiers and policemen who served in Bosnia, and among local
population exposed to DU ammunition. The rates of all cancers in Sarajevo
between 1995 and 2000 increased from 46 to 264 per 100,000 according to a
Sarajevo registry report of January 2001 [].

As the contaminants spread over the years, so will the health problems. Low
but chronic exposure risks may arise from air, water or food contamination
in areas surrounding a population. The contaminants could build up and
bio-accumulate over years from the initial fallout. Local terrain,
ecosystem, meteorological conditions, agricultural practice and food habits
are some of the factors that would determine the secondary exposures and

Most DU research to date has assumed healthy, young male soldiers and
low-dose initial exposure from 30 to 120 mm armour-piercers (mass of DU 0.3
to 4.5 kg per bullet). If uranium is used in warheads having a mass of up to
several tons, then humans surviving the explosion will suffer acute health
effects from much higher doses. Being unprecedented, these exposures require
a new analysis of uranium fate-effect relationships. The closest analogy
would be fires of DU ammunition as at the Doha base, UK Royal Ordnance
factory fires, or the burning of DU counterweights in jet crashes, but no
medical reports are available. Wider area residents are vulnerable to
initial small doses from the fallout from large uranium weapons, and to
ongoing, indirect exposure to contamination of air, water and food.
Exposures in Iraq's Basrah region could be analogous.

Government and industry documents on uranium hazards

The hazards of DU are similar to those from other uranium metals suspected
in new non-nuclear weapons. Official US and UK government documents have
been warning about toxic-radioactive risks of DU as follows.

A 1983 literature study by the Batelle Pacific Nothwest Laboratory for the
US Department of the Army, clearly discerns the two types of DU hazards:
"The chemical toxicity is the critical limit for soluble uranium compounds,
and the critical organ is the kidney. Insoluble compounds present a
[radiological] hazard primarily to the lungs [.] The exposure limits for
toxicity are more conservative than most of the radiological limits and thus
protect from either type of insult." [Mishima et al., 1983] A 1984 US
Federal Aviation Agency document cautions the investigators of aircraft
crashes against the hazard from DU in counterweights of civilian airplanes:
particles inhaled or ingested are toxic and can cause long-term irradiation
of the internal tissue.

Six months before the Gulf War, a Science Applications International
Corporation report wrote, "Short-term effects of high doses can result in
death, while long-term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer."
Shortly after the Gulf War in March 1991, a memo from the US Defence Nuclear
Agency stated that alpha particles emitted from DU dust created from
exploded DU ammunition pose a health risk, but beta particles from DU
shrapnel and from intact DU bullets are a serious hazard to health. In the
early nineties, the UK Atomic Energy Authority warned that if all of the DU
fired by tanks in the Gulf War was inhaled, "there could be half a million
deaths as a result by 2000." Tanks fired only about 8% of all DU used in
that war.

A 1993 US General Accounting Office report GAO/NSIAD-93-90 stated, "Inhaled
insoluble [DU] oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer
risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and
toxicity risk." A 1995 US Army Environmental Policy Institute report warned,
"Toxicologically, DU poses a health risk when internalized. Radiologically,
the radiation emitted by DU results in health risks from both external and
internal exposures [...] If DU enters the body, it has the potential to
generate significant medical consequences."

A January 2001 leak revealed that the UK Ministry of Defense was secretly
testing for radiation poisoning among British soldiers just months before it
sent troops to Kosovo. At the time the ministry was refusing screening for
Gulf War veterans. The disclosure went much further than an earlier leak
that showed only that officers knew 4 years earlier about the risk of
developing lung, lymph and brain cancers from DU shells.

The industry is also well aware of the risks from airborne contamination by
DU. Paul Loewenstein, vice president of Nuclear Metals Inc. (now Starmet
Corporation, the prime US supplier of DU metal and related products) wrote:
"The main hazard to health occurs in those fabrication steps where finely
divided particles (dust or oxides) can become airborne. In operations such
as melting and casting, machining, grinding, pickling and heating without
using a protective atmosphere or vacuum, it is essential to provide
extensive ventilation and to monitor worker's breathing zones. Vents and
fume hoods that protect workers are exhausted through carefully monitored
filter systems. Workers must change footwear and clothing when leaving areas
where finely divided uranium is present." [Loewenstein, 1992]

The Boeing Corporation safety guide for DU counterweights in aircraft and
missiles advises: "Most heavy metals, such as uranium, are toxic to humans
depending on the amount introduced into the body. For short-term (acute)
exposures, the toxicological effects are the primary concern, and acute
exposures to significant amounts of uranium may result in kidney damage.
"[Section 4.1.2]. Section 4.1.3 spells out the radiological hazard: "The
principal radiological hazard associated with uranium is due to high linear
energy transfer of the alpha particles its radionuclides and daughters emit.
A chronic exposure to these radionuclides result in an increased risk of
cancer, typically in the bones, kidney, and lungs, since these are the
organs where uranium is deposited." Section 6.2.5 concerns airborne
contamination with uranium fine particles: "Failure to control airborne
contamination could result in inhalation of the contamination and spread of
contamination to other areas." To this end, Section 12.2.3 commands: "Wear a
respirator [.] whenever entering areas with airborne DU dust particles."
[Boeing, 2001]

Part 2: Humanitarian law relating to weaponry and the consequences of
violations of this law

A weapon may be determined to be illegal two ways: (i) by adoption of a
specific treaty banning it; and (ii) because its use would necessarily
violate existing law and customs of war (humanitarian law). A weapon made
illegal only because there is a specific treaty banning it is only illegal
for countries that ratify such a treaty. A weapon that is illegal by
operation of existing law is illegal for all countries. This is true even if
there is also a treaty on this weapon and a country has not ratified that
treaty. Evaluating whether DU weaponry (or any other type of weaponry) is
legal or illegal, requires analysis under this law.

Humanitarian law: the basics

The laws and customs of war (humanitarian law) includes all treaties
governing military operations, weapons and protection of victims of war as
well as all customary international law on these subjects. The main treaties
relating to military operations are The Hague Convention of 1899 (186 Parry'
s T.S. 429) and The Hague Convention (IV) and Regulations of 1907 (1 Bevans
631), providing a legal framework governing war. Yet some of the most basic
rules of war are not found in existing treaties, in part because they were
considered widely known and part of the universally understood customary
rules of war. One of these basic rules is the obligation to carry out
military operations only in the field of battle - understood to be
operations against enemy combatants who are not hors de combat and against
territory and objects of the enemy that are deemed legal targets. Article 25
of The Hague 1907 (Regulations) partially addresses this by prohibiting
operations by any means against "undefended towns, villages, dwellings or

Another basic rule requires that all military operations must cease upon
cessation of hostilities. Still other customary international rules includes
the duty to warn of dangerous materials or weapons and its corollary rule
the duty to clean up such material. The duty to warn rule was set out
clearly by the International Court of Justice in its famous Corfu Channel
case (1949 International court of Justice Reports, 4). The Court in Corfu
Channel emphasized the concept of "elementary considerations of humanity" --
echoing the language of the Martens Clause, set out below. As will be seen
below, certain provisions of humanitarian law relating to victims of armed
conflict also contain limitations on military operations.

The 1899 The Hague Convention banned all weapons and material that cause
superfluous injury. Article 23 of the 1907 The Hague Convention,
Regulations, specifically recognizes that not all weapons are subject to a
"banning" treaty but may be nonetheless banned by operation of existing
humanitarian law. The International Court of Justice recognizes this rule in
its decision Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996
International Court of Justice Reports). In paragraph 87 of that Decision,
the Court found that the principles and rules of humanitarian law apply to
all weapons, including nuclear ones. In other parts of the opinion the Court
stresses the duty to evaluate legality or illegality prior to use in
military operations.

Article 23 of the 1907 The Hague Regulations sets out further prohibitions
of certain types of weapons and materials to add to those found in existing
treaties, especially use of poison or poisoned weapons or weapons or
materials causing "unnecessary suffering". Both the 1899 and 1907
conventions set out what is universally called the Martens Clause (the 8th
preambular paragraph in The Hague 1907) which states that in situations not
addressed in the Conventions or Regulations, combatants and civilians are
protected by "the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the
usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity and
the dictates of the public conscience." This rule is repeated in the
subsequent treaties relating to victims of armed conflict, and clearly
establishes that civil society alone can, by its own initiative, effectively
ban a weapon if there is no specific treaty banning it.

Other treaties and instruments prohibiting specific weapons date from the
1868 St. Petersburg Declaration Renouncing the Use, in time of War, of
Explosive Projectiles under 400 Grammes Weight. The 1899 The Hague
conference issued declarations prohibiting projectiles launched from
balloons, projectiles diffusing poisons and "dum-dum" bullets. Since that
time there have been many treaties relating to specific weapons or types of
weapons such as those containing hazardous chemicals, bacteriological
material and the like. A recent addition has been the banning of any type of
military action that would result in undue environmental damage. In addition
to a treaty on this issue, the United Nations General Assembly, in its
resolution 47/37 of 25 November 1992, affirmed that "destruction of the
environment, not justified by military necessity and carried out wantonly,
is clearly contrary to existing international law." The United Nations
Centre for Disarmament Affairs has compiled a list of all weapons-banning
treaties and it was annexed to United Nations Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/27.

Humanitarian law relating to victims of armed conflict is generally called
"Geneva law", the name taken from the Geneva Conventions since 1864 on this
topic. The current Geneva Conventions include the four Geneva Conventions of
1949 (75 UNTS 31, 75 UNTS 85, 75 UNTS 135 and 75 UNTS 267), Protocol
Additional I (1125 UNTS 3) and Protocol Additional II (1125 UNTS 609). The
overriding principles of humanitarian law from Geneva law is that sick and
wounded combatants, prisoners of war and the civilian population, as well as
material essential to the survival of them may not be targets of military
operations. The two protocols strongly set out prohibitions of military
operations that would unleash hazardous forces (such as an attack on a
nuclear power facility or a dam) or would damage the natural environment or
water supply.

Consulting all of humanitarian law -- both treaty-based and customary --
four fundamental rules are clearly discernable regarding weapons:

(1) Weapons may only be used in the legal field of battle, defined as legal
military targets of the enemy in the war. Weapons may not have an adverse
effect off the legal field of battle. (The "territorial" test).

(2) Weapons can only be used for the duration of an armed conflict. A weapon
that is used or continues to act after the war is over violates this
criterion. (The "temporal" test).

(3) Weapons may not be unduly inhumane. This rule incorporates the "causing
superfluous injury", "unnecessary suffering" and Martens Clause limitations
of The Hague conventions and regulations as well as the "elementary
considerations of humanity" from the Corfu Channel case. (The "humaneness"

(4) Weapons may not have an unduly negative effect on the natural
environment. (The "environmental" test).

Humanitarian law violations and UN action on radiation weaponry

Evaluating the effects of radiation (DU) weaponry set out in Part I of this
paper, it is clear that this weaponry fail all four tests of humanitarian

(1) It cannot be "contained" to legal fields of battle and thus fails the
territorial test. Evidence is overwhelming that uranium particles in dust or
smoke can travel far afield from a legal military target. The particles can
reach bordering countries that are not part of the armed conflict. Winds can
blow particles into places that are near battlefields, but off-limits of
legal military operations. In fact, DU can injure far more due to airborne
travel than it does against legal targets. DU can also be transported by
surface and underground water, carrying damage far beyond the legal field of
battle. DU dust can adhere to military personnel and vehicles and travel as
vehicles and personnel move about.

(2) The weaponry continues to act after hostilities are over and thus fails
the temporal test. More than a decade after the cessation of hostilities in
the Persian Gulf war, uranium from DU weaponry is still excreted from the
bodies of contaminated veterans, and will continue to injure their bodies.
The bodies of local residents and other persons within the reach of the
spreading contamination will continue to be injured for many years to come.
The effects of these weapons cannot be turned off when the war is over;

(3) Radiation weaponry is inhumane and thus fails the humaneness test, not
only because of how it can kill -- by cancer, kidney disease, and other
serious conditions -- but also because these injuries can occur long after
the hostilities are over and to persons that are not the "enemy". Uranium
from these weapons is also inhumane because it damages the immune system of
those exposed, who then suffer from miscellaneous diseases, which,
aggravated by harsh war and after-war conditions may lead to death. DU is
also inhumane because it causes birth and genetic defects, thus effecting
children (who must never be a military target) and who are born years after
the war is over. In this sense, the use of DU weapons may be characterized
as genocidal because it burdens gene pools of future generations. DU can
also be considered "poison" and thus banned by The Hague Convention.

(4) Radiation weapons cannot be used without unduly damaging the natural
environment, thus failing the environment test. This aspect of the effects
of DU was conceded by several international agencies looking into the DU

The issue of the incompatibility of DU weapons with existing international
norms has been taken up at both the United Nations Commission on Human
Rights and its Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
since 1996. While the Commission has not yet issued a resolution on the
matter, the Sub-Commission, in its resolution 1996/16 of 29 August 1996,
found that use of such weaponry is "incompatible" with existing humanitarian
and human rights law. In the same resolution the Sub-Commission began a
process to further elaborate on these weapons in light of existing norms by
requesting the Secretary-General to look into the issue and report back to
the Sub-Commission in 1997. In reply, the Secretary-General issued his
report (UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/27 and Add.1) containing a number of
replies from governments, specialized agencies and non-governmental
organizations - all supporting the view of the Sub-Commission on the
illegality of these weapons. In its resolution 1997/36 the Sub-Commission
continued its investigation of these weapons and appointed one of its
members to prepare a paper on the topic. In 2001, following the failure of
the first appointed person to submit a paper, the Sub-Commission authorized
Justice Y.K.J. Yeung Sik Yuen (Mauritius) to prepare the paper, submitted as
UN Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/38.

The Sik Yuen paper gives a comprehensive overview of the law and facts of a
number of troubling weapons. DU weaponry is addressed separately, but Sik
Yuen states that all the weapons addressed in the paper can be classified as
weaponry of a nature to cause superfluous injury (WSI) and weaponry causing
unnecessary suffering (WUS). (Sik Yuen also discusses fission/fusion nuclear
weapons, "mini-nukes" such as the B61-11 "bunker busters", fuel-air bombs
("daisy cutters"), cluster bombs, and chemical and biological weapons, and
indicates that the current generation of fuel-air bombs use uranium powder).
The present authors maintain that DU and other radiation weaponry can be
proven to be weaponry of mass destruction (WMD) when used in populated areas
or in the presence of large numbers of enemy or friendly troops, a position
supported by the fact that an unacceptable percentage the US veterans of the
Gulf War have some serious health complication that can be attributed to DU
weaponry. In any case, uranium (depleted or not) weaponry is "poison" in
terms of The Hague Convention and even that definition is sufficient.

Justice Sik Yuen points out a number of issues surrounding the DU
controversy that we take up in this paper: the issue of what Sik Yuen refers
to as "secrets", the issue of seriously compromised "research" and the issue
of the public outcry against DU in light of the Martens Clause. Regarding
secrecy he points out two claims made by critics: (1) that the US purposely
tries to cover up the true nature and effects of DU weapons because it does
not want to be held liable; and (2) that the US knew of the serious
consequences of DU before it was used, but for purposes of military
expediency it deliberately sent its own troops into DU-corrupted
battlefields (and, of course, injured countless Iraqi soldiers and
civilians). Regarding compromised studies, he presents a Rand Corporation
report and a report by the Royal Society (UK). The Royal Society was
subsequently forced into revising its position on the safety of DU.
Regarding the invocation of the Martens Clause, Sik Yuen comments that he
was surprised by the number of anti-DU groups and that their actions are an
aspect of the Martens Clause.

The 2002 Sub-Commission authorized a second paper by Sik Yuen that is being
prepared to submit to the Sub-Commission at its August 2003 session. The
fact that the Sub-Commission agrees with the analysis here and has made such
a commitment to review of the issue indicates both its understanding that
weapons may be banned by operation of existing law, that DU weaponry is that
type of weaponry, and that the use of these weapons is very grave. The
Sub-Commission also acknowledges that the issue of weapons in light of
existing human rights and humanitarian law is an appropriate subject for the
UN human rights bodies. It did this because the United States tried to argue
that weapons may only be discussed in the "disarmament" forums, where, of
course, the focus is on "treaty-drafting" rather than on confirmation that
existing law may condemn a weapon.

Arguments against seeking a DU-banning treaty

Some opponents of DU weaponry have proposed work on an anti-DU treaty. This
can be very risky because a new "trick" of the US (and a few other
governments) is to use treaty processes to try to weaken, if not completely
undermine, existing customary law. The United States tries to assert that if
there is a treaty on a subject, then any pre-existing customary
international law on the subject is terminated. Thus, even beginning the
process to draft a treaty would be used by the US to argue that any ban on
uranium weaponry in light of existing customary law is terminated. This
would be devastating in the US because Courts in the US are likely to be
persuaded on this point even though the International Court of Justice
categorically rejects this line of reasoning in the Nicaragua case (Military
and Paramilitary Activity In and Against Nicaragua, 1986 International Court
of Justice Reports). Note the US also "declined jurisdiction" of the Court
in the Nicaragua case although the US is not legally allowed to do so.
Neither the US Congress nor its Courts took up this matter. The United
States then, uses public pressure for an anti-DU treaty to bolster its
position and to argue against the existing ban under customary law and The
Hague Conventions. Thus, unsuspecting activists can actually play into the
US position and seriously undermine all anti-uranium initiatives.

Even if an anti-DU treaty were drafted, neither the US nor the UK would be
likely to ratify it regardless of the language of the treaty -- which for
sure the US would seek to control. However, the US would still argue that
the existence of the treaty subsumes the customary international law banning
DU. This would clearly make it more difficult for Gulf War veterans to take
their issues directly to the Veteran's Administration as the VA would be
taking the position that no illegality was involved. So we must emphasize
most strongly, a treaty banning uranium weapons is not necessary, but
preparations for one could be exploited to duck responsibility. Further, any
treaty could be broken anyway, especially by US and other NATO countries, as
history has proven.

Consequences of uranium weapons use

As uranium weaponry is already illegal under existing humanitarian law,
countries that have used them are responsible for military and civilian
victims and for environmental pollution throughout the life cycle of the
weapons, from development to disposal of unused munitions. The Geneva
Conventions require all Parties to "search for persons alleged to have
committed, or to have ordered to be committed [.] grave breaches, and shall
bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts."
(Article 49 in the First Geneva Convention. There is an identical provision
in the other three conventions of 1949). Thus uses of DU weaponry place
their own military and commanders at serious legal risk.

Hopefully, wider understanding of this will constrain the nearly 30 other
countries that have or plan to develop, produce and stock radiological
munitions. The US has exported known and suspected uranium weapons to over
20 countries. It does this in part to militate against the "customary"
prohibition of these weapons, presumably to be able to argue that if a large
number of countries have DU and other radiological weaponry in their
arsenals, it weighs against a ban by operation of customary humanitarian
law. However, it is likely that many of the countries having DU weaponry
supplied by the US in their arsenals did not know what it was. And it
appears that most of these countries have not used these weapons in military
operations. And further, these countries in aggregate cannot re-write The
Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions and all other instruments or
customary rules of humanitarian law. To do so would require large-scale
denunciation of the treaties - which no country is prepared to do. Further,
governments that manufacture or have purchased uranium weapons are likely to
be compromised into maintaining US secrecy over the extent of non-nuclear
uranium weapons proliferation, and may face serious legal and political
consequences of chronic illnesses or deaths on former and future
battlefields due to uranium contamination.

The duty to compensate victims of humanitarian law violations has long been
a rule of customary humanitarian law. In treaty-based humanitarian law this
rule is found in Article 3 of the 1907The Hague Convention. Evolution of the
right to compensation of victims and the duty to compensate by violators has
been a prominent feature of human rights law, beginning with the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, whose Article 8 requires an effective
remedy for victims of violations. Other human rights instruments have
comparable provisions for compensation for violations. The UN human rights
forum's prolific studies of this issue began with the "van Boven" study: van
Boven's final paper on the right to restitution, compensation and
rehabilitation for victims of gross violations of human rights and
fundamental freedoms (UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/8) culminates work that
began in 1989. The Commission on Human Rights carried on with the
appointment of Cherif Bassiouni as first an independent expert and then a
Special Rapporteur. The van Boven "Guidelines" for remedies, derived from
long-existing treaty-based and customary laws were included, with
modifications, in Bassiouni's final report, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2000/62, Annex.

A minimum requirement of the duty to remedy from use of illegal weaponry is
compensation for all victims. This can include, for example, military and
civilian victims from uranium wars and civilian victims of uranium weapon
use at military ranges. Part of the minimum remedy is the duty to fully
disclose all facts about the weapons and their development and deployment.
Regarding environmental damages, users of these weapons are obligated to
carry out an effective clean-up. When lands and water resources cannot be
effectively cleaned up, the State causing the damage must pay damages equal
to the loss of those lands and waters from the national patrimony. In US
dollars, the cost of legal claims and environmental cleanup for the Gulf War
alone would be staggering.

The chief prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte, initially refused to prosecute NATO for
contaminating Bosnia and Kosovo with uranium due to use of DU weaponry in
the Balkans. But on January 14, 2001, she said her tribunal would act "if
coherent results emerge directly linking the use of DU ammunition with
health problems." This statement of a theoretical willingness to open the
tribunal to prosecution and potential damage claims is a key factor in the
continued "artificial" controversy about what DU and other radiation weapons
actually do. As more and more evidence surfaces that the developers of the
weaponry knew how lethal it was, even before the Gulf War, it will become
more and more difficult for the Tribunal to keep this issue out.
Compensation and clean-up costs in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia would also be staggering, more so if hard-target
weapons, cluster bombs and other weaponry made with uranium were deployed in
substantial numbers. Taking on the issue of consequences of the use of DU
weaponry and fashioning adequate remedies for the victims of these weapons
would go a long way to dispelling increased international consternation over
the appearance of bias in the operation of the tribunal - with to date not
one warrant for a member of the NATO forces and relatively few for
non-Serbian participants.

In addition to the elaboration of remedies under humanitarian law and for
gross violations of human rights, there has been a necessary evolution in
the concept of international environmental law, especially arising from the
Sub-Commission's incorporation of a right to a healthy environment as part
of its mandate. The seminal work was done by the Sub-Commission's Special
Rapporteur Fatma-Zohra Ksentini (now Fatma-Zohra Ouhachi-Vesely),
culminating in final report UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/9. Ouhachi-Vesely was
subsequently appointed as Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human
Rights to address the issue of toxics and toxic dumping - a mandate that
continues today. Her work involves investigating allegations of damage due
to toxic materials (such as DU) and trying to work out appropriate remedies.
This mandate may prove a fruitful vehicle to heighten international concern
over uranium weapons and to elaborate the legal consequences and obligations
of users.

Part 3: Anatomy of cover-ups


The US and UK governments claim they deploy DU ammunition because for a
lower cost compared to tungsten, it can havean advantage over enemy armour,
reduce their own casualties and utilize industrial waste. The claims are not
justified. The additional expense on tungsten would be negligible in the
total military spending. The DU weapons are not effective compared to
alternatives [Venik's Aviation, 2001]. DU ammunition and armour do not
utilize significant quantities of the total nuclear waste. As to protecting
own soldiers, the victims of "friendly fire" suffer from acute poisoning and
radiation sickness, instead of ordinary wounds, while longer-term casualties
are substantial. A US study of 10,000 Gulf War Veterans indicated that 80%
could have been exposed to DU, i.e. more than half a million. Of the tens of
thousands of coalition soldiers serving after the war's end, only about 30
specialists knew how to identify equipment contaminated by DU and were aware
of the need to wear protective clothing. September 2002 Gulf War report on
US veterans shows 0.1% casualty rate in combat, but a 36% post-combat rate.
Uranium is one of several major causes of the syndrome, so a casualty rate
of several percent would be attributable to DU.

Official reports in the West ignore civilian casualties of uranium weapons
in Iraq, the Balkans, and recently in Afghanistan. Iraqis and Serbs were
subject to economic sanctions when they most needed medical supplies, fuel
and food. Sick Afghanis with weakened immune resistance due to uranium
contamination died of cold and starvation, without being recorded as victims
of uranium weapons. Given that the US and other NATO governments knew about
the consequences for civilians, it seems likely that the severe imposition
of sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Iraq is meant to
cover-up damage due to radiological weaponry. Ignoring military and civilian
casualties, placing serious obstacles on humanitarian aid, and failing to
disclose the truth about uranium effects is a serious violation of
humanitarian law. For this reason alone, the sanctions regime against Iraq
could be characterized as a crime against humanity. Yet the US has indicated
that it would militarily attack any country that tries to bring American
military to the International Criminal Court or to courts in their own
countries, notwithstanding the provision of the Geneva Conventions set out

Pro-uranium propaganda has seriously compromised scientific reports, even by
international organizations, all subject to military-government funding and
control. It was also verbalized in statements from government, military and
arms and nuclear industry. It is of great concern that political
representatives were unable to obtain information from alternative sources.
That the propaganda was accepted by decision makers despite unverifiable
contents points to a fundamental flaw in how these countries address
military issues and weapons. Countless journalists, researchers, professors
and persons in responsible positions help in NATO deception and
misinformation. Those individuals break professional ethics of primary
allegiance to public good, and have willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or
unknowingly, colluded in the crimes by spreading lies and distortions about
fatal effects of uranium. The propaganda has led to an absurd situation
where national leaders and parliaments justify attacking Iraq because it
might have potential in the future to deploy WMD - but plan themselves to
use equally lethal uranium weapons of indiscriminate or mass effect against

Uranium weapons likely persist due to institutional pressures that, once
started to defend an effective DU bullet, escalated to a point of no return.
Switching to other types of weapons would indirectly admit the hazards,
while ample evidence incriminates those responsible because they knew the
potential dangers from the beginning. In an extreme case scenario,
war-mongers and ethnic-haters in high positions may have discovered an
effective toxic-radioactive terrorist tool in uranium weapons. With it, they
can damage present and future generations of the "enemy" without public
stigma of WMD, though with some 'collateral damage" to own civilians and
troops over the lifecycle of the weapons.

Williams [2002] considered that civilian and military decision makers
responsible for propagation and use of uranium weapons may be caught up in a
"group think" - a self-justifying logic that generates illusory morality,
demands conformity, accepts high risk strategies and demonizes enemies and
dissenters. The phenomenon led to the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Some Western
governments seem to be following the group-think in the US wars with
 "Saddam", "Milosevic" and recently the "Wars on Terrorism". Group-think in
authoritarian organizations would explain why the health risks of uranium
weapons have been downplayed or outright ignored by the military, and why
those responsible chose to cover up their criminal position, rather than
relinquish uranium weapons.

Indirect evidence exists that cover-up was desired. In 1947 a secret memo
from the US Atomic Energy Commission had this self-incriminating statement
about medical experiments on human subjects: "It is desired that no document
be released which refers to experiments with humans and might have adverse
affects on public opinion or result in legal suits. Documents covering such
work field should be classified 'secret.'" Following the Gulf War's "full
scale low-radiation experiment with DU bullets, a memo dated March 1, 1991,
from Lt. Col. Ziehmn of Los Alamos National Laboratory apparently defined
future US military policy regarding DU weapons: "It is believed that du
penetrators were very effective against Iraqi armor; however, assessments of
such will have to be made. 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. If du
penetrators proved their worth during our recent combat activities, then we
should assure their future existence (until something better is developed)
through Service/DoD proponency. If proponency is not garnered, it is
possible that we stand to lose a valuable combat capability. I believe we
should keep this sensitive issue at mind when after action reports are

A few years later, as hard-target weapons came on the development, testing
and combat use stream, the philosophy must have been extended to the newer
military applications of uranium waste. Logically, similar cover-up approach
would govern next weapons that leave low-level radiation behind, for many
future generations to deal with.

Information warfare

Information warfare is one of the instruments of power, beside combat,
diplomacy, and economic sanctions. PsyOp (Psychological Operations) are
among its most conspicuous tools. Information warfare is effective and
inexpensive compared to combat, and would fit the needs of "Service/DoD
proponency" named in Ziehmn's memo above. The military specifies the
structure and methods of Information Operations that engage behavioural
science, mass media and high technology [Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1987;
Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1996]. US Department of Defense (DoD)
targets foreign nations and groups, including foreign governments. DoD
actions "convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign
audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning; and
to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels." DoD management of the
foreign perceptions, "combines truth projection, operation security, cover
and deception, and psychological operations."

According to NATO [Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
1996], their PsyOp target "enemy, friendly and neutral audiences in order to
influence attitudes and behavior affecting the achievement of political and
military objectives." NATO countries' military and media act like clones of
Pentagon. Critique comes mainly from outside the Pact. It seems that the
only audiences that yielded to Pentagon and NATO DU propaganda were allies
in the North Atlantic Pact.

Information Warfare integrates several types of special services when
needed. A joint command of US Special Operations is then engaged to assemble
teams of experts in different fields and services to suit a mission. Attacks
on anti-DU activist, Dr. Doug Rokke, former Pentagon expert on DU, were
likely steered by US Special Operations in a broader campaign of "fighting"
the truth about DU. The military and government authorities forged death
certificates of Balkan DU military victims. In March 2001, "unknown
criminals" broke into the home of Mrs. Riordan, the widow of a Canadian
veteran of the Gulf War, destroyed her computer and stole medical
certificates of uranium presence in the body of her husband. Police refused
to investigate, because the criminals "did not leave any traces."

With the emergence of uranium weapon issues into the public arena, the
propaganda applies simple, often ridiculous, ideas and phrases that
nevertheless have public appeal. The process exploits two rules: (i) a
repeated lie becomes accepted truth; (ii) the public accepts outrageous lies
more readily. Propaganda plays with words bred in PsyOp bureaus. The words,
phrases and contexts are then uttered by authoritative persons, proving the
speakers and their controllers are either criminally negligent or are
consciously contravening humanitarian and war laws. Former NATO political
chief Javier Solana perhaps broke a record of DU nonsense. While heading an
ad hoc "investigation" to prove Kosovo DU was no danger, he stated, "The
evidence points in the other direction." "Is DU a health benefit?", wondered
a reader in a January 22, 2001, letter to Washington Times. Lord Robertson,
supposedly an educated man, defended the "proven [DU] technology that has
been independently tested [.] We cannot possibly act on the perceptions of
people or on the view of a word such as 'uranium'." Bein and Zoric [2001]
assembled other statements, deceptive nomenclature and phrases concerning DU
and uranium.

Some countries exploited NATO DU propaganda for their own agendas. For
example, Switzerland has played a role in suppressing information about DU.
Operation Allied Force brought many Albanians from Kosovo to a sizable
community of compatriots in Switzerland, at a time when Swiss immigration
policy tightened up. Swiss scientific contractor AC Laboratorium-Spiez
(ACLS), a firm known to work for NATO, was sent to probe Kosovo and southern
Serbia with the best equipment, and found, to no surprise, hazardous
radioactivity. Fearing that detection of uranium contamination in Kosovo
would deter immigrants from returning home, the Swiss government suppressed
reports about unsafe radioactivity levels in Kosovo and instead declared it
would fund additional studies by international organizations - perhaps in
order to control the results. ACLS became a research contractor in all DU
studies in the Balkans. In another cynical move the Swiss government offered
money to Albanian émigrés if they would return to Kosovo.

David and Goliath

The scale, tools employed and pervasiveness of information warfare regarding
radiation weaponry indicate substantial resources invested. Doubtless, the
funds come from tax revenues. Debunking the propaganda feels like a struggle
with a Goliath, yet great strides have been achieved with relatively
infinitesimal resources, as can be gauged by the growing multitude of
anti-DU groups, the quality of their publications, and steadily rising
public sensitivity to the issue. Dissemination and campaigning is usually
done by volunteers, many of whom have been marginalized, if not intimidated,
as being a threat to the establishment.

Predictably (but not for the perpetrators), intimidation had the opposite
effect, and further eroded the trust of the public, particularly the sick
veterans, spilling over onto recruits and staff soldiers .being prepared for
next wars. Upon seeing how NATO disrespected their health in Kosovo, many
KFOR troops mutinied, while volunteers stepped back. Several countries
withdrew from their NATO obligation in Kosovo because of contamination.
Post-war aid organizations are reluctant to go to Afghanistan for the
radiation-toxicity risk.

With the arrival of dates for statutory disclosures of secrets from the
atomic era, coincidental with surfacing of predictably ever more numerous
victims of recent "safe" radiation weapons, the public suspicion, mistrust
and mutiny would grow, creating an additional major stressor in already
unstable Western societies. Abroad, the rising public conscience about the
aftermath of uranium weapons would contribute to general animosity and
terrorism against the West, particularly the US and UK. Propagandizing
uranium weapons - that terrorize innocents - against "terrorism" (however
naïve the approach seems in case of an enemy who is best taken out covertly)
or "evil states" (as if neutralization of secret WMD with like weapons
justified the end), looks counterproductive on all counts.

Two scenarios are plausible from now on: either the perpetrators step up
intimidation of the discoverers of the truth (which proved futile so far),
or they start backing away from their criminal activity. Because the US and
UK are in the focus of proliferation and use of radiation weapons, it is up
to the governments of these countries to take a lead. Continuation on the
destructive course must inevitably lead to a major confrontation between
society and those at power, if not to international conflicts. Since
radiation issues are emotionally charged regardless of nationality, religion
and ethnicity (rightly so, for at stake is a human's continuation in the
gene pool), those in power and their information warfare are playing with

Despite large resources expended, PsyOp are easily identified by amateurs.
In 1999, Bein predicted in a Polish article [] the
following techniques for cover-up of Balkan DU, based on post-Gulf War

Deny information and delay its release; understate the quantity of DU
weapons used.

Belittle harmful effects of DU, change emphasis and dilute scientific

Manipulate reports and scientific evidence, including those from previous DU

Censor DU information in mass media.

Blame other causes, such as pre-war or general pollution.

Coerce old and new Yugoslav government to withhold the truth.

Blame "Milosevic's" secret weapons, and DU deployed by Yugoslav forces.

All of the above points came true. Evidently, NATO coerced old and new
Yugoslav governments to suppress DU casualty information. Yugoslav
de-contamination units operated during NATO bombing, while the government
likely concealed DU casualties in military hospitals. After a new Yugoslav
foreign minister visited Lord Robertson in the beginning of 2001, the
Western media reported that Yugoslavia tested soldiers for DU "negative," as
in all NATO member and candidate countries. Were Yugoslav decoys in Kosovo
so effective that no DU bullets ignited against armour, rock and concrete?

Implemented by a military-bureaucratic machine, information warfare
inadvertently produces mistakes and blunders. PsyOp then attempt to cover
the blunders up with more blunders. An imperative to hide the truth drives
the perpetrators and their operatives - Special Operations, PsyOp,
spokesmen, official media, pseudo-scientists - into thought contraptions and
staged events designed to convince the audience. The Kosovo DU case had
several obvious blunders. Those responsible failed to warn and protect NATO
and UN forces, foreign workers, and local civilians (for whom they
supposedly bombed "Milosevic"), including no warning about dirty DU.
Stalinist-like special operations to silence those with evidence were
objectionable to the public. The cover-ups further clouded the risks of
civilian applications of uranium (for example, in aircraft counterweights),
increasing the risks to NATO country populations.

Behind the scenes

Public Affairs (PA) of Information Warfare "provides objective reporting
without intent to propagandize" and disseminates information
internationally. PA involves press releases, media briefings and statements
by the military that "are based on projection of truths and credible message
[that serve to discredit] adversary propaganda or misinformation against the
operations of US/coalition forces [which] is critical to maintaining
favorable public opinion." PA use propaganda - white (telling the truth),
gray (ambiguous) or black (lying) - often through Public Relations (PR).
NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said "he won the war" in Kosovo by carrying out
daily briefings in a PR style. A deep control of the global media by
Information Operations to demonize the Serbs was perhaps the most
"successful" aspect of that war.

Public Affairs units prepare information for news brokers, who send it to
TV, radio, and the press. Independent journalists do not have a chance to
publish in mainstream media, since NATO information operations subtly
control chief editors. The structures of media seem corrupted top to bottom.
The former president of CBS News Richard Salent said, "Our job is to give
people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have." John
Swinton, the former New York Times Chief of Staff, whom colleagues named
"The Dean of His Profession", confessed candidly before the New York Press
Club: "I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am
connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things,
and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be
out on the streets looking for another job [.] We are the tools and vassals
of the rich men behind the scenes."

The media, reduced to a handful of conglomerates by deregulation, mold
public's minds, profoundly affecting interpretation of reality. The largest
conglomerates are growing even bigger by consuming competition, almost
tripling in size during the 1990s. With the consolidation of the media
empires, TV stations, newspapers and radio broadcasting are no longer
independent. Only a handful are large enough to maintain independent
reporters. The rest must depend on the chains for all of national and
international news. It is also unsettling that one ethnic group dominates
North American media ownership and staff, without reflecting the ethnic
profiles of big business owners, officers and employees. The group refutes
criticisms by intimidating the critic, based on historical prosecution of a
radical part of the ethnic group [The National Alliance, 2002].

TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, motion pictures speak with a single
voice, reinforcing each other. Despite apparent diversity, there are no
alternative sources of information. The most prestigious and influential
newspapers in the USA, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington
Post illustrate the ability of the media masters to use the press as an
unopposed instrument of policy. The papers set the trends and the guidelines
for nearly all the others, and originate the news for the others to copy. In
a joint venture with the New York Times, the Post publishes the
International Herald Tribune, the most widely distributed English-language
daily in the world.

The Washington Post has an inside track on news involving the federal
government. Reference to "military sources", "senior administration
officials", or "Pentagon analysts" reveal relations between media outlets
and the military. Another clue of a single source of information for
international press agencies are standard phrases, beginnings and endings in
all reports, in accord with Pentagon position. A November 10, 2002,
Washington Post article provided an insight into media-Pentagon relations:
"This article was discussed extensively in recent days with several senior
civilian and military Defense Department officials." Military censors at PA
vetted the article, then the supposedly independent newspaper as a
propaganda conduit published it. Major news corporations manufacture opinion
polls to meet government specifications, which usually combine plans of the
administration, the Pentagon and the business. The media lend themselves to
what White House aides themselves have described as a campaign to "sell" the
war to the American people, as was seen during 2002 preparations for war
with Iraq.

Military control of the media extends to the battlefields, based on lessons
from the Vietnam War, when coverage of atrocities against civilians and of
US soldiers in body bags contributed to anti-war protests. A "pool system"
would select daily a few out of hundreds of journalists, and would escort
them to scenes deemed fit for the public. The coverage would then be
 "pooled" with their colleagues, so that the same controlled story comes
from every major news outlet. Under this system an objective reporting from
the scene about victims of acute exposure to uranium weapons would not be
possible. Any incriminating leaks from independent war correspondents would
be blacked out or distorted by Pentagon press briefings that blame any
carnage on the "enemy". Should independent media sources fail to observe
this imposed censorship (as was the case with the Serb TV in 1999) their
facilities are targeted with US precision-guided munitions, consistent with
Special Operations integration of services to suit Information Warfare

Cover-ups of chronic exposure and effects of uranium would be managed by a
different set of information operations, including pressures on the
executives of international organizations conducting studies of contaminated
sites and victims.

Deny, delay, deceive

Covering up the effects of controversial weapons by the governments has a
history. For example, US Newswire reported on October 30, 2002, that former
defense secretary Robert S. McNamara and 10 others were defendants named in
two first-of-their-kind class action lawsuits for allegedly covering up
medical records without which several hundred thousands of veterans of
atomic, biological and chemical warfare testing, and families of deceased,
cannot receive benefit for the long-term health effects. Selected
organizations play a key role in covering up the radiological risk. ICRP is
responsible for prevalence of invalid models of risk to human health from
internal, low-level radiation sources like uranium fine particles. Since
1959, IAEA, the only UN agency serving a private sector (nuclear industry)
has a monopoly on dealing with radiation aspects of uranium health effects,
leaving to WHO the toxic aspect. This is a deliberate institutional tool of
control and cover-up of irradiation issues around the world.

DU propaganda tactics follow 3 d's: deny, delay, deceive. Neither a NATO
country nor the World Health Organization (WHO) have carried out any
epidemiological studies of either soldiers or civilians exposed in uranium
wars. This guarantees no confirmation or discovery of the health effects of
uranium weapons. Several governments in the UN must have joined to prevent a
post-Gulf War DU study in Iraq. The Iraqi government formally invited WHO to
investigate uranium contamination and health effects, but the US put serious
pressure on the WHO to cancel a full-fledged study. When a draft resolution
passed through a committee at the General Assembly that would have mandated
a specific investigation, the US secured enough (but barely enough) "no"
votes to cancel the initiative. A planned visit by Justice Sik Yuen in 2002
was delayed by a heavy increase in bombings in the southern "no fly" zone.

Attempts by the UN Balkans Task Force to include DU in its post-conflict
assessments were also subverted by delay and deception before the UNEP study
could start, and reports were manipulated by the director, Klaus Töpfer, on
instructions from his Pentagon handlers [Parsons, 2001]. A WHO health study
in Bosnia began concurrently with a UNEP DU-site study in 2002, i.e. 8 years
after DU weapons were first used there. As in previous uranium wars, the
risk of DU in "Kosovo" was absolutely denied at first, although in July 1999
a NATO document warned KFOR countries about the toxicity of DU weapons. Even
that warning was late, as KFOR and UN personnel entered Kosovo 2nd week of
June 1999. Efforts by the UN deputy high commissioner for refugees,
Frederick Barton, to make the civilian population aware of the risks of
contamination met with resistance from Kosovo Albanian politicians, NATO and
the UN Mission in Kosovo.

NATO released Operation Allied Force DU-site data well over a year late,
understating the tonnage of DU. NATO delayed for 16 months the necessary
target information and access for monitors of the "Kosovo" sites (which
included Montenegro and southern Serbia). Still, there were typing mistakes
and ambiguities for several locations in the NATO data [Bein and Zoric,
2001]. For Bosnia, NATO DU-site data, also incomplete, appeared 5 to 6 years
after the fact. UNEP measured radioactivity at 14 sites in Bosnia, but only
at 2 of the 8 sites around Sarajevo marked "unknown" on NATO list. Sarajevo
medical professional Dr.Trifko Guzina revealed the domicile of hundreds of
Bosnian patients - those already dead and those fighting cancer seven years
after the bombing [Patriot, July 22, 2002]. Was there a correlation with the
"unknown" locations. Dr. Guzina said that Sarajevo suburbs were bombed in
NATO exercises. UNEP could determine the locations, if they wanted to.

NATO did not let UNEP visit some sites in Kosovo and Bosnia. UNEP teams only
went to NATO-approved sites and were banned from some important sites.. The
sites may be in drop areas of cluster bombs and other weapons that contained
uranium. Pentagon admitted that their specialists visited the approved sites
a number of times before UNEP was let in. It is plausible that UNEP
discovered only low contamination levels because Pentagon carried out some
cleanups in advance. Observers believe that uranium hard-target weapons were
dropped against deeply buried Yugoslav defenses in Kosovo [Parsons, 2001].
Despite a warning from Williams, UNEP did not test bomb or missile targets
in their second study in Serbia and Montenegro in the fall of 2001. At one
"DU" site in Montenegro NATO indicated shelling an old bunker with 30 mm
rounds twice. The bunker was demolished in one of the attacks. UNEP
discovered widespread, high-level radioactive contamination, unlike at any
other DU site. DU shells alone would not be able to ruin a concrete bunker.
A trial of a uranium bunker-buster is suspected. Yugoslav authorities
excavated the soil and shipped it to nuclear waste storage at Vinca.

After NATO finally admitted the use of DU munitions in Kosovo, a barrage of
lies, half-truths and nonsense attempted to defend the toxic-radioactive
substance. Similar phases could be traced on the issue of U236, plutonium,
and other extremely hazardous, illegal contents in DU. However, very few
independent observers and NGO's knew about different uranium weapons under
continuous development and use since the Gulf War, if not earlier.

We observe the "deny" phase regarding radiological uranium weapons other
than DU armour-piercers. Access for investigators in Afghanistan has been
delayed for 10 months, and then it was limited, as on DU battlefields. The
UNEP started planning environmental surveys in Afghanistan in December 2001.
Despite earlier reports from Williams, on August 28, 2002, survey
co-ordinator Peter Zahler (who joined UNEP in May from the USA) said UNEP
had no specific plans to investigate uranium contamination. Bomb and missile
targets are conspicuously absent from both UNEP Balkans DU studies. Formal
queries in the UK parliament returned a denial. No monitoring of US and UK
weapons dropped on Iraq's no-fly zone was done, while at the same time,
under US pressure, the "international community" demanded access for weapons
inspectors to Iraq. The integrity of UNEP environmental monitoring for
uranium contamination appears to be compromised by external pressures.

The US military, on the other hand, hinted discovery of "some uranium
warheads" in al-Qaeda caves, but without indicating the source of the
weapons. It seems that a campaign of denials regarding uranium non-nuclear
weapons is underway within a broader campaign for acceptability of weapons
that contaminate with low-level radiation. Statements by US government about
plans to develop nuclear penetrating bombs, threats of terrorist
radiological bombs, and recent warning of potential first strike nuclear
attacks by the US and UK play down potential hazards of "conventional"
uranium weapons. The rhetoric may be aimed at altering the threshold of
acceptability for radiological weapons systems, since nuclear "bunker
busters" (the B61-11's) were tested in 1997. A nuclear strike makes little
sense when existing systems can destroy deeply buried WMD, unless the goal
is to shake underground installations with a nuclear blast.

Service to humankind

Official "investigations" suppress evidence of uranium-induced illness and
death. In those "studies" Pentagon and other military authorities co-opt
research institutes, universities, and international health and safety
organizations: UNEP, ICRP, World Health Organization (WHO), International
Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), and other. From the precautionary principle
of environmental and health sciences, uncertain but potentially harmful
effects should be prevented. Even if there were "no proofs" of a link from
DU to illness and death, it behooved the decision makers to discontinue the
use of any uranium weapons out of the precautionary principle, given Gulf
veteran complaints and scientific uncertainty. Normally, scientific
assessment of the effects of DU and other uranium metals follows a standard
risk analysis chain:

Products of combat or accidental use of uranium > Fate in a place over time
> Exposure to people and environment > Dose received > Morbidity and
mortality effects of uranium.

NATO "scientists" manipulate every step of the analysis. To criticisms,
pseudo-science replies, "No evidence exists". Sufficient evidence does
exist, as published by independent researchers. The precautionary principle
should govern in cases of ambiguous evidence. In summary, the reports have
numerous serious flaws because they:

Fail to mention that the concentration of uranium metals used in munitions
is orders of magnitude more hazardous than "naturally occurring" uranium
that is mixed with other minerals in the ground in a chemical and
radiological equilibrium. Dr. Busby counters such argument from the UK
Ministry of Defense: "MoD's argument is like saying it's OK to throw pellets
of arsenic around for children to play with, just because trace quantities
of arsenic arise commonly and naturally in soil, vegetation and drinking

Excuse "natural" uranium as harmless. Even "natural" uranium metal (an alloy
of 99.8% U-238, 0.2% U-235 and traces of U-234) turns into deadly fine
particles under combat use conditions and in fires.

Concentrate on the toxic aspects of DU and on the "clean" DU while actual DU
comprises extremely toxic-radioactive U-236, plutonium, and other

Lack early identification and medical monitoring of uranium casualties, and
ignore illness due to eroded immunity following exposure, and acute to
chronic effects from long-term exposure to small amounts of uranium

Focus on "healthy soldiers" and relatively weak external radiation from DU
metal or the effects of uranium shrapnel in the body, instead of ingested or
inhaled particles of soluble uranium oxides (short-term toxic agents) and
insoluble ones (long-term toxic and radioactive), also in ceramic form alien
to nature.

Calculate the exposure to DU over areas much larger than actually
contaminated, while doses -- over volume of internal organs, instead of
affected cells.

Adopt the optimistic picture of DU passing from the body and ignore an
activity in the lungs, which moves particles into the lymph glands.

Ignore the fact that elimination of soluble uranium overwhelms the kidneys.
Insoluble uranium oxide and ceramic uranium oxide may move through the
kidney slowly and not cause serious renal toxicity.

Do not emphasize that just one dose on a DU battlefield is bad for the lymph
nodes, but a veteran may be present at many such events.

Project morbidity and mortality from ICRP curves that are invalid for
internal doses of radiation and insoluble uranium oxide particles.

Conceal the fact that in addition to direct cancers, internal uranium
radiation promotes cancers from other factors (the early Balkan cancers
could be radiation-promoted).

Prudent scientists do not make mistakes and omissions on known facts.
"Epidemiological study" deceptions are plentiful, more so that epidemiology,
like statistical analysis, can be manipulated to prove desired results.
Apologists of uranium effects compare erroneously estimated incidence of
cancers among veterans to statistics for general population. The latter is
an incomparable group. Besides, official epidemiological statistics are
biased downwards, since "background" radiation includes gradual accumulation
of global radioactive pollution. As another example, WHO expeditiously
compared DU-like illness incidence in Kosovo before and after NATO bombing.
Statistics are incomparable, because of different population base: 300 or
400 thousand opponents of Albanian extremism left Kosovo, but many more
immigrants came from Albania. Pre-1999 Kosovo Albanians boycotted the
Yugoslav state health care system, so the statistics quoted by WHO are
fragmentary at best.

US government has admitted that 50 years of uranium fuel manufacturing has
not led to serious epidemiological studies. Previous studies focused on
cancer death as a biological endpoint, while ignoring chronic illnesses,
deformed children, and other medical problems. Internal radiation dose was
never calculated in the A-bomb studies, hence it cannot inform on the
biochemical pathways of a particle in the body. Yet, ICRP analytical
apparatus relies solely on the false data. NATO "scientists" apply ICRP
estimates concerning uranium dust from nuclear industrial processes, and not
from aerosols (including ceramic) produced from uranium weapons. Analogies
of uranium particles from military use to nuclear industry situations
encoded into official data are invalid, because of cover-ups in the
industry. Inhalation of uranium dust in nuclear processing is not
biochemically equivalent to inhalation of ceramic uranium particles.

The other factor

NATO "science" emphasizes the "other factor" of Gulf and Balkan syndromes. A
1999 RAND "report" released concurrently with Operation Allied Force
absolved DU and blamed drugs that Gulf War soldiers received against
chemical weapons. In the "Kosovo DU" scandal, NATO cited chemicals in wood
handled by the soldiers, and benzene with which they supposedly cleaned
guns. Soldiers denied the use of benzene. The media also cited natural
asbestos deposits and lead contamination of Kosovo to divert attention from
DU. Amidst the Balkan DU debate, Associated Press dispatch from Kosovo named
lead, untreated sewage, dust from a cement plant, and toxins from neglected

US Army Col. David Lam announced, "I think we need to look at all possible
causes, such as other pollutants and hazards, and not focus only on DU." Dr.
Milan Orlic, president of the Nuclear Sciences Society at Vinca Institute,
said at a January 2001conference in Athens that Balkan syndrome was more
likely correlated with other agents than DU. One article blamed kidney
diseases in the Balkans on well water contamination by toxins from coal

After the Gulf War, which saw a cocktail of poisons used and released - from
destroyed stocks of Iraqi chemical-biological weapons, to DU ammunition -
the "other factor" was adopted in DU cover-ups. It would likely be pursued
for the Balkans and other areas, once cancers from the use of uranium weapon
take a higher toll. Vaccines given to the soldiers could not be a cause of
the syndrome among residents, neither there was smoke from burning oil wells
in the Balkans, nor chemical weapons used by "Milosevic" against his own
people. Apologists of Gulf War syndrome in Iraqi population cited the two
latter factors, though no independent epidemiological study was done.

After reporting in April 2002 of a claim about a direct link between DU
shells and a 20-fold increase in child cancer in southern Iraq, BBC was
accused of peddling Hussein's propaganda. Dr. Richard Guthrie, an expert in
chemical warfare at Sussex University, said that it was far more likely that
any childhood cancers were caused by Saddam's use of mustard gas against his
own people in 1986. Prof. Brian Spratt, who chaired the UK Royal Society
inquiry into DU said: "Claims that there is an increase in birth defects and
childhood cancers in Iraq are impossible to measure as there is no
comparable data from before the war." Dr Michael Clark, a spokesman for the
National Radiology Protection Board in London (connected to ICRP), thought
the report was "not exactly objective," since it was difficult to get proper
information from Iraq.

Those who look, however, do find the information. Dr. Chris Busby
( found leukemia clusters in Iraqi children born after the Gulf
War (i.e. aged 5 to 9 years) while normally the disease dwells in 0 to 4
years olds. The "Hussein's mustard gas" theory and other counter-arguments
of the authorities quoted above thus don't hold water. Busby also found a
correlation between the increases in child leukemia and the districts where
DU ammunition was used. He measured a 20-fold increase in ?-activity in the
air around the Desert Storm battlefields, compared to the air in Baghdad. In
Basra, it was 10 times higher than in Baghdad. [Al Ahram, October 3-9,

Captive science

Radiation at DU sites is measured with the Geiger counter, which is
insensitive to ?-particles. Portugal science minister Dr. Mariano Gago told
reporters DU was a "false problem." His team did not find "the smallest
shred of radioactivity in any part of Kosovo." Dr. Fernando Carvalho, waving
a Geiger counter, told the reporters that no radiation at all was found. The
politicians spoke before scientific results were in. First UNEP study was
unable to detect any wider area of contamination because the team was not
adequately equipped to measure ?-radiation. NATO "experts" in a study for
European Commission were "unable to observe" the health effects below 100
mSv, a low-level, but dangerous effect of a DU particle in the tissue. Dr
Bertell commented, "It should be obvious that one changes instruments as
measurements become more fine [...] One uses a micrometer to measure the
width of a piece of paper, not a metre stick."

The NATO website [] indicates corruption at
international organizations, research and strategic studies institutes, and
universities that were enlisted by Pentagon and NATO to misinform about DU.
The Pentagon's "objective" reports are found on many websites that are
linked to from independent websites, but looking for them at the NATO
website is futile. NATO "research" fails to promptly test the exposed
military and civilians. When "testing" is instituted, it is controlled by
the military. Former secretary-general of NATO, later EU foreign and
security policy chief, Javier Solana was heading NATO ad hoc investigation
to prove that DU was safe. Before investigating began, Solana stated there
was "no evidence of a link between the illnesses reported by NATO personnel
and the use of DU ammunition." A meeting of the ad hoc committee comprising
top medical experts could not identify "any increase in disease or mortality
in soldiers who have deployed to the Balkans as compared to those soldiers
who have not been deployed." With a lightning speed, the committee
 "examined" thousands of soldiers who served in IFOR, SFOR and KFOR, and not
a trivial number of policemen sent to the Balkans.

The European Commission asked a "group of independent experts" whether
"hundreds, if not thousands" of EU personnel and contract employees who have
worked in the Balkans might face health risks from exposure to DU "slight
radioactivity". The report was published on March 6, 2001. The "experts"
turned out to be theoretical physicists who knew how to apply
recommendations of ICRP, but little about toxicology or biophysiology. The
"experts" concluded that "radiological exposure to DU could not result in a
detectable effect on human health," and "there was no evidence to support" a
hypothesis that exposure to toxic and carcinogenic chemicals could combine
with radiation. Scientists S. Kaiser and R. Bertell assessed the EU "expert"
opinion to be "useless for the protection of either the veterans or the
public, contrary to the expressed intent" and concluded that it "added
little to the concerned dialogue about DU."

At the same time, results of independent tests are concealed. The Portuguese
defense ministry refused to hand over Hugo Paulino's body who died from
leukemia. The ministry deliberately camouflaged his death, citing "herpes of
the brain" and refused to allow his family to commission a post-mortem
examination. This practice brings to mind cover-ups of Gulf syndrome among
US, UK, and allied troops. The veterans have self-organized to defend their
rights. Out of about 750 000 Gulf War veterans in the US and UK, reportedly
over 200 thousand suffer of the syndrome and over 10 thousand have died. The
authorities push the sick veterans around, deny them proper medical care and
compensation. The military doctors diagnose "post-combat" stress. Sick and
disabled, they are left without means to survive. Desperation drives many to
suicide and assaults on the bureaucracy.

A 1990 revision by the ICRP cut the permitted low-level radiation dose by a
factor of five. The US has not accepted that revision, so they claim their
soldiers received "safe" doses during the Gulf War. In the US, the Atomic
Energy Commission (AEC), a civilian agency headed up by the military. with
no interest in exploring the hazards, control the subject of ionising
radiation. Each of the four most distinguished scientists who worked for the
AEC, John Gofman, Karl Morgan, Thomas Mancuse and Alice Stewart, was
intimidated for proving that low-level radiation causes cancer.

A US study of Gulf War veterans has examined just 60 persons since 1993. At
least two veterans had cancer. One veteran, believed to have had a heavy
exposure to DU, fathered two children born with health problems since the
war, but was excluded from the study. Pentagon's website confirms cancer
among the study group, but, in an effort to downplay public concerns,
military spokesman, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick have lied to North Atlantic
Council ambassadors and NATO press corps in January 2001: "We have seen no
cancers or leukemia in this group, which has been followed since 1993." In
June 2001, Col. Francis O'Donnell told scientists from European governments
that there have been no cancers among the 60 veterans examined.

In October 2002, vice chairman of US Gulf War veterans Denise Nichols
criticized the US administration and the Congress for "lack of
accountability" and for a failure "to apply lessons learned" to improve
medical care of veterans. Nichols pointed out that the civilians are also
unprepared because lessons from the military are ignored: "Doctors and
researchers that have seen the reality of Gulf War Illness have desperately
tried to help but have been ignored and attacked professionally." Nichols
also referred to Pentagon's documented practice to sabotage veterans records
to hide the real effect of Gulf War, and charged that the government's
control of research funding prevents dissemination of knowledge. At the same
time Pentagon do not educate their physicians on Gulf War illness, nor
participate in true research, nor provide true treatment options to sick

In 2002, US veterans protested that samples of their blood and tissue are
kept by the military authorities out of reach of independent testing.
Testing of veterans authorized by NATO does not measure the right things. DU
can be detected in urine - some soluble form of DU always accompany
insoluble one, but somehow government tests cannot detect it. Normal levels
of uranium in urine do not mean absence of danger and disease, either.
Chemical analysis of lymph nodes from dead victims could confirm the
lymphatic cause, but there are no government reports of such autopsies.

On October 30, 2001, the Pentagon released a paper on Balkan DU
[], after Italian and
Spanish soldiers fell to leukemia and lymphoma. As if posed to fend critics
of possible use of uranium weapons in Afghanistan, the paper has "not found
any connections between DU exposure in the Balkans and negative health
effects." Dr. Busby found invalid reference groups in the Italian
statistics. His re-analysis indicated 11 times the expected rate. The
Pentagon paper cited "work" of the UK Royal Society, WHO, UNEP and ACLS. The
second Royal Society report (2002) recognized lethal toxicity following an
acute exposure to uranium oxide, but remained oblivious to low doses and
radiological consequences. Hard target bombs and missiles were most likely
used in Western Kosovo - the sector of Italian, Portuguese and Spanish
troops. A new survey should investigate targets omitted in UNEP Balkan


Pro-uranium weapons propaganda operates within the cover-up system of the
nuclear complex. At its core is a basically flawed model of the
International Commission on Radiological Protection, according to which
low-level internal radiation from fine uranium particles is not a hazard.
Proponents of uranium power and weapons use the model instead of empirical
evidence, which they suppress with a sophisticated misinformation and
fact-distortion web reaching as far as international organizations
responsible for public health.

Recognizing the harm done, Williams, for example, urges priority actions to
reverse the cycle of deception and human suffering because of uranium
weaponry: (i) weapon inspections to determine which ones contain uranium,
(ii) target inspection to identify those hit and contaminated by uranium
weapons, (iii) health monitoring and support for target communities in
uranium-contaminated areas, and (v) fundamental review of all research that
was so far restricted to DU instead of uranium weaponry in general.

Observers believe that DU cover-ups serve to ease public acceptability of
present non-nuclear uranium weapons against hard targets, present small
nuclear warheads, and future pure fusion nuclear weapons. All of these
weapons contaminate with low level radiation. A future combat scenario using
fusion micro-weapons translates into a low-level radioactive input
comparable to that on DU battlefields [Gsponer et al., 2002]. Elimination of
uranium radiological and fission weapons in the 21st century would not
terminate the health and environmental problems of low-level radiation

Unless the legal thresholds of acceptability of so-called low-level
radiation are removed, the perpetrators of non-nuclear but still
radiological uranium weapons would continue to contravene humanitarian law
and place increasing parts of the planet at risk. Ultimately, massive
long-term human catastrophe might result, far beyond the borders of
radioactive wars. Thus, the authors see the only solution is a complete and
universal termination of the development, testing, production and use of
these weapons of indiscriminate effect and delayed mass destruction. A
beginning of that termination is H. R. 3155, introduced at the US Congress.


Piotr Bein and Peda Zoric, Propaganda for Depleted Uranium - a Crime against
Humankind, International Conference Facts on Depleted Uranium, Praha,
November 24-25, 2001,

Michel Chossudovsky, War Propaganda, Centre for Research on Globalisation,
16 January 2003,

Boeing Corporation, Safety, Health and Environmental Affairs (SHEA) Guide
RJ-028G: Depleted Uranium Counterweights, September 18, 2001

Asaf Durakovic, New Concepts in CBRN Warfare in the Light of the Gulf War
Experience and Current Reality of Global Terrorism, Uranium Medical Research
Centre, Proc. The Third GCC Conference of Military Medicine and Protection
Against Weapons of Mass Destruction, Doha, Qatar, October 20th-23rd, 2002

European Committee on Radiation Risk, Recommendations of the ECRR: Health
Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Doses for Radiation Protection
Purposes, Green Audit, Brussels, 2003

A. Gsponer, J. Hurni and B. Vitale, A comparison of delayed radiobiological
effects of depleted-uranium munitions versus fourth-generation nuclear
weapons, Proceedings 4th International Conference of the Yugoslav Nuclear
Society, 2002,

Headquarters, Department of the Army, Field Manual 100-6: Information
Operations, USGPO, Washington DC, 27 August 1996

Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, JCS Publication 1, Glossary
Department of Defense Military and Associated Terms, 1987

Paul Loewenstein, Industrial Uses of Depleted Uranium, American Society for
Metals, 1992

J. Mishima, M.A. Parkhurst, R.I. Sherpelz and D.E. Hadlock, Potential
Behaviour of Depleted Uranium Penetrators under Shipping and Bulk Storage
Accident Conditions, Batelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory for the US
Department of the Army, Richland, Washington 99352, March 1983

The National Alliance, Who Rules America? The Alien Grip on Our News and
Entertainment Media Must Be Broken, National Vanguard Books, P.O. Box 330,
Hillsboro, West Virginia 24946, USA,
[posted to the Internet in November 2002]

Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 3-53,
Joint Doctrine for Psychological Operations, USGPO, Washington DC, 10 July

Karen Parker, Depleted Uranium at the United Nations, proceedings CADU
international conference in Manchester, November 2000

Karen Parker, Written statements at UN Human Rights forums on behalf of
IED/HLP: UN Docs. E/CN.4/1997/NGO/49; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/NGO/19;
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/NGO/25; E/CN.4/1999/NGO/119

Karen Parker, Memorandum on Weapons and the Laws and Customs of War,
International Educational Development/Humanitarian Law Project (IED/HLP),
1997, excerpted in Report of the Secretary-General, UN Doc.

Robert J. Parsons, UN-backed Cover Up: Deafening silence on depleted
uranium, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2001

US Army Environmental Policy Institute, Health and Environmental
Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use by the US Army, Atlanta, 1995

US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD,
8 May 1995

Venik's Aviation, Health Risks of Using Depleted Uranium, Philadelphia,
November 03, 2001,

Dai Williams, Depleted Uranium weapons in 2001-2002: Mystery Metal Nightmare
in Afghanistan?

Dai Williams, US Patents confirm Uranium warheads,

Dr. Piotr Bein holds a master's degree from the Technical University of
Denmark and a doctorate in applied decision and risk analysis from the
University of British Columbia. A member of the Institute for Risk Research,
University of Waterloo, he served as a consultee on a recent report from the
European Committee on Radiation Risk. His 30-year career of a licensed civil
engineer, risk analyst, ecological economist, and researcher of
socio-economic impacts of atmospheric change switched to an interest in
information warfare after NATO attack on Yugoslavia.

Dr. Karen Parker received a Juris Doctor degree (honors) from the University
of San Francisco School of Law and a Diplome (cum laude) from the
International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France). Much of her
work in her twenty-year career specializing in human rights and humanitarian
law has been at the United Nations and Organization of American States human
rights forums. In 1996 she found out about the use of DU weaponry in the
Gulf War, and ever since has spoken up and written on the illegality of
these weapons at the United Nations and elsewhere.

(c) Copyright Piotr Bein and Karen Parker, 2003. All rights reserved.

Permission is granted to post this text on non-commercial community internet
sites, provided the source and

the URL are indicated, the paper remains intact and the copyright note is

To publish this text in printed and/or other forms, including commercial
internet sites and excerpts, contact Piotr Bein at and
Karen Parker at


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