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[casi] FWD: [DU-WATCH] UMRC report from Iraq (part 1 of installment 1)

>===== Original Message From Piotr Bein <> =====
[disseminate to your networks, watch for next parts]
Abu Khasib to Al Ah’qaf: Iraq Gulf War II Field Investigations Report
© Uranium Medical Research Centre
November 2003

Tedd Weyman
Iraq Field Team Lead
Deputy Director
Uranium Medical Research Centre

Part 1 of Installment 1

British Ministry of Defence on the Cleaning-up of Iraq - 2003:

“A nation which has fired DU in conflict is under no legal obligation
per se to return to the region to clean up any DU that remains”.
Operation Telic Middle East DU Brief
British Ministry of Defence

US Department of Defense on Kinetic Energy Weapon (KEW) Systems - 2002:

“High-density KE cannon-launched penetrators have been, and will
continue to be a mainstay of U.S. anti-armor capabilities. The most
advanced (and most lethal) manifestation of the technology are the
modern U.S. depleted-uranium (DU) 120-mm tank-gun armour-
piercing, fin-stabalized, discard sabot (APFSDS) rounds.

“The DU alloy has been state of the art … since 1970, and
improvements in metallurgy and processing have yielded continual
advances in … [the] performance of U.S. rounds. Alternative developing
technologies include composite rods (typically DU reinforced with
higher strength structural elements), and efforts to duplicate the
performance of DU in tungsten alloys.

“The primary impetus for looking at tungsten alloy has been to obtain
commonality with NATO allies, many whom will not deploy DU rounds
because of environmental concern. However, since the break-up of
the FSU [Former Soviet Union], the United States and its allies have
been less focused on planning for conventional land war against
numerically superior Warsaw Pact armoured forces, and indications
are that other countries have eased their stance on the use of DU.

Military Critical Technologies,
Defense Technologies Information Center,
Defense Information Systems Agency
U.S. Department of Defense, July 2002.

Table of Contents
1.      Installment - Iraq field trip report:
·       Preface
·       Introduction
·       Order of investigations
·       Objectives and summary of accomplishments
·       Overall impressions
·       Conditions in Iraq
·       Coalition clean-up and soil replacement activities

2.      Future installments to be posted on will include:
·       Radiation survey of battlefields and bombsites
        -       Rapid Dominance
        -       Shock and Awe
·       Public health and clinical research program
·       Ballistic and target effects
·       Types of radioactive weapons
·        Mechanisms of contaminant transport

3.      Summary tables of radiation survey findings:
·       Radiation baselines, controls and reference levels
·       "Rapid Dominance" battlefields
·       "Shock and Awe" bombsites

Note: Photos, tables, and illustrations, bibliography and references will be
included in final instalment.

Special acknowledgement: UMRC notes the special contribution of Dr. M. A.
Shaickly, Professor of Nuclear Medicine, for his leadership, consultations
and guidance during the 13 days of investigations. In addition to procuring
critical resources in Iraq, Dr. Shaickly and his associate risked their
personal safety in the presence of unexploded ordnance, cluster munitions,
mines, collapsing buildings and nervous Coalition security patrols.


The unfortunate fate of Iraqi civilians and Coalition veterans … case
studies in the investigations of the effects of radiation dispersion

The international anti-terrorism/anti-WMD (weapons of mass destruction)
Coalition’s admission of its deployment of uranium munitions in yet another
conflict was first confirmed by physical evidence collected by the Japanese,
No War-No DU science team (September 2003).  The team identified artificial
radionuclides in tanks and wide scale elevations of radioactivity in Iraq’s
environment. Earlier, Christian Science Monitor staff reporter, Scott
Peterson, revealed the results of his independent radiation survey of
Baghdad battlefields, detecting radioactivity in tanks 1,900 X’s background
levels (August 2003).
Pre-Gulf War II radiation surveys by Iraqi scientists had already detected
elevated readings of ionising radiation associated with the Operation Desert
Storm legacy. In 1992, Dr S. Horst Gunther collected field evidence in the
form of a fragment of a tank penetrator, later confirmed in the laboratory
to be Depleted Uranium. Dr. Gunther’s work, including his disclosure that
Germany had fielded uranium penetrators since WW II, led to his arrest and
conviction for importing “dangerous radioactive materials”, under the
country’s atomic energy control regulations. Indigenous studies
statistically correlating cancer, birth defects, premature death and
leukaemia trends in Iraq established epidemiological certainties in areas
subject to Gulf War I bombing campaigns where uranium was used in combat and
may have been used throughout the 1990’s in US-led Operations Desert Fox and
Desert Strike.
With the exception of the Uranium Medical Research Centre’s studies of Gulf
War I veterans’ urine and body tissue specimens, no independent clinical
radiological studies have been published in science or medical journals that
demonstrate human contamination by inhalation of battlefield uranium
by-products dispersed in Iraq. Physical evidence of contamination attributed
to retained DU shrapnel accompanied by elevated urine uranium levels in US
Gulf War I veterans was reported in published studies by associates of the
US Gulf War Clinical Follow-up and Surveillance Programs. The US DVA
(Department of Veterans Affairs) and DoD (Department of Defence) physicians
take a position that retained shrapnel constitutes the only battlefield
uranium exposure condition placing armed forces personnel at risk. Claims
that elevated urine uranium levels in veterans is due to retained DU
shrapnel remain metabolically questionable. Inhalation is the primary
pathway by which veterans and civilians are contaminated by battlefield
uranium and is therefore likely to have been coincidental with shrapnel
wounding. DoD and the DVA have not permitted lung or lymph node studies in
this small group of veterans – preventing the obvious examinations to
determine inhalational exposure.
Although US-led Coalition-members’ and NATO defence departments acknowledge
battlefield uranium by-products, if inhaled, could be a biological hazard,
they do not attribute any significance to their findings of DU in those
veterans who do not have DU shrapnel wounds. German, Australian, Danish,
Canadian and British defence department studies for example, identified
abnormally high concentrations of uranium in urine (some finding DU
isotopes) of Balkan and/or Gulf veterans. They dismiss the findings by
explaining that veterans’ urine uranium levels do not exceed the US DoD’s
expressed reference point: 50 ng (nanograms) of uranium per litre of urine
for unexposed populations. They claim the veterans exhibit “normal
Dismissing elevated urine uranium values in Canadian and European armed
forces based on a threshold limit value of 50 ng/litre reveals these
counties are ignoring international and domestic occupational and civilian
public health regulations. The US public health regulatory baseline for
biological background levels of uranium in urine is actually 8 ng/litre; a
significant variation from the DoD standard and a distinction they all fail
to report to veterans and political oversight committees. UMRC’s control
sampling shows normal European populations excrete uranium in urine at a
rate of 2 to 11 ng/litre. By not comparing veterans urine uranium values to
the US Center for Disease Control’s 8 ng/l average for normal populations,
EU, Canadian and NATO states’ defence departments are ignoring uranium
contamination ~6 X’s the norm.
Misrepresenting clinical and environmental facts allows defence departments
to persist at avoiding what they know is the most important step in DU
research and clinical follow-up: dose reconstruction by “retroactive
differential decay analysis”. Dose reconstruction is legislated as the means
to determining worker eligibility for health benefits for diseases resulting
from exposure to industrial and commercial uranium in the US nuclear sector.
Using retroactive differential decay analysis, UMRC has published data
showing some Canadian, British and American Gulf War I veterans, whose urine
contains trace amounts of DU ten years after exposure, inhaled sufficient
quantities of battlefield uranium to receive an internal dose exceeding the
legally permitted radiation dose levels for civilians. External doses at
these levels would be unusual and short-lived events, ceasing when the
subject departs the source of exposure. Incorporation of uranium by
inhalation presents internal radioactive “hot-spots”, permanently
contaminating organ tissues and bones, and assaulting the chromosomal
structure of the DNA. This is clinically established as a condition which
can never be escaped and for which there is no known medical treatment.
Defence departments’ official policy is to protect their personnel with the
same standard as civilians. If they were to reconstruct the dose levels in
properly tested veterans with battlefield uranium exposure, they would have
to admit to uranium contamination exceeding civilian protection standards --
facing litigation by veterans and political pressures to desist from using
uranium munitions. If instead, they choose to adopt the more tolerant,
“occupational” dose limits, they would become subject to “nuclear employer
status with onerous occupational health and safety regimes and pressures to
extend radiation protection and exposure control into the battlefield.
Controlling battlefield exposure to uranium munitions’ by-products would be
impossible without eliminating uranium altogether. This would likely launch
them down the slippery slope of accountability for civilian effects in
foreign conflict areas. As indicated in this report’s opening quotes (page
2), the DoD and its Coalition partners intend to expand the inventory and
more widely deploy uranium munitions now that warfare is intended only to be
conducted outside the European theatre.
So far, defence departments have been allowed to fail to explain undiagnosed
illnesses and pathologies in exposed civilians and armed forces in every
conflict where uranium munitions were deployed (i.e. Gulf War Illness, etc).
Uranium weapons remain the only common variable (see UMRC’s paper,
Unexplained Illnesses and Radiological Warfare, Croatian Medical Journal,
October 2003). Once again, Iraq has become the unfortunate laboratory for
radiological and medical research into the effects of radiation dispersion
weapons. Early research in Iraq and with Coalition veterans must produce
works suitable for professional publication, focusing on the scientific and
medical fundamentals of contamination by battlefield uranium:

·       The biochemistry and nanopathology of ultra-fine, ceramic uranium oxide
particles and uranium-rich compounds produced in the battlefield.
·       The conflict and post-conflict atmospheric entrainment, transport, and
environmental exposure mechanisms.
·       The unique contamination pathway of inhaled uranium particulate via lungs
to the lymph and blood circulatory systems.
·       The metabolic life cycle, organ and tissue incorporation, long-lived
retention and recirculation of low-soluble to insoluble ceramic uranium.
·       Radiological and chemical toxicity – at cellular levels with systemic
effects of long term individual and multigenerational genetic and congenital
pathologies -- due to dose-effects unique to internally incorporated

Tedd Weyman
UMRC - Canada
November 2003

Abu Khasib to Al Ahqaf: Radioactive warfare in Iraq – Field Investigations

Uranium Medical Research Centre


On September 27, 2003, UMRC sent a field research team to Iraq in its first
phase of radiological and clinical studies on the scale and effects of
uranium dispersed by air-delivered munitions and ground combat weapons
deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operations Telic and James
(British) and Operation Falconer (Australia). UMRC conducted a 13-day survey
throughout the primary conflict zones in urban and rural areas of central
and southern Iraq (Fig 1). The team performed radiation surveys, nuclide
analysis, interviewed civilians and community leaders, collected biological
and field samples, and investigated the possible health effects of
radiological weapons on Iraqi civilians. The types of locations investigated

·       Ground-zero of acquired targets of the air bombing campaign.
·       Disabled Iraqi armoured assets and their defensive positions.
·       Suburban, inner-city and agricultural areas that served as battlefields.
·       Locations subject to both aerial bombing and ground combat.
·       Collateral damage sites.
·       Military facilities, airforce bases and the perimeters of Coalition
occupied bases.
·       Down-wind and wide-area environments potentially subject to atmospheric,
surface soil and ground water contamination.

The order of investigations

UMRC’s field survey, bombsite and battlefield investigations, and sample
collection activities were conducted in central and southern Iraq,
corresponding to the major areas of engagement. Under the dictates of the
Powel Doctrine of “overwhelming force” and “total demoralisation”, Operation
Iraqi Freedom executed two operational programs:  “Rapid Dominance” and
“Shock and Awe”; each was investigated by UMRC (Figure 1).

·       “Rapid Dominance”: the mechanised ground and air cavalry advance

The team traversed Iraq from the south to the north, beginning at the
Persian Gulf, Al Fau peninsula, and Coalition entry points at the port of
Umm Qasr and the UN Demilitarised Zone at the Kuwaiti border adjacent to Az
Zubair. The investigations proceeded northerly along the Shaat al Arabi
corridor to sites of engagement led by the British approaching the city of
Al Basra – known in European press as the “Battle for Basra”. Investigations
continued north to An Nasiriyah where the US mechanised main column divided
its forces into three: north-easterly along the Tigris River, north-westerly
along the Euphrates River and centrally through the uplands of Mesopotamia1.

1  “Mesopotamia” – The land between the two rivers. Although referred to as
the uplands, the converging and eventual confluence of the Tigris and
Euphrates Rivers below Baghdad, southern Iraq (the “source”), forms a
massive river delta composed of fine clay-based silt deposits. This region
is geographically unusual in that much of the area adjacent to and between
the two rivers is at a lower elevation than the rivers themselves.

Battlefields were surveyed along each route, westerly through As Samawah to
An Najf, centrally through Karbala and As Suweirah, and easterly through Al
Kuts and Al Hillah. UMRC investigated a major combat area not reported
during the war in the fertile plain of the As Suweirah agricultural area (60
kilometres south of Baghdad). The team also concentrated efforts at the
southerly approach-point to Baghdad where the main northbound highways from
the east and west converge at Baghdad Gate.

·       Shock and Awe”: the air-delivered and ship- and submarine-launched bombing

The field team investigated radiation levels at some of the highly
publicised strategic military and civilian demoralisation targets in
Baghdad, where the explosions of ship-launched weapons such as the TLAM –
Tomahawk Land Attack Munition, and the air-delivered, precision guided
bombs - primarily the CALCM – Conventional Air launched Cruise Missile,
J-DAM – Joint Direct Attack Munitions, JSOW – Joint Stand-off Weapons, and
the newly deployed British bunker-buster called the Storm Shadow - were seen
around the world on network television.

The team took radiation readings and collected laboratory samples from urban
bombsites acquired by a variety of bombs, including bunker-busters,
earth-penetrating ordnance, thermobaric and combined-effects
(high-explosive, incendiary and fragmentation) munitions. Locations
investigated include the Mansour District, the site of the famous April 7th
leadership decapitation strike2, Baath Party HQ, the Central Telephone
Exchange (Sadaam Tower), and the Baghdad Central Market and International
Centre. Although not permitted access to Coalition-occupied bases, UMRC was
able to survey the combat areas and down-wind communities on the perimeter
of the International Airport.

2   The team found that the target of the April 7th decapitation strike,
instead of a restaurant with an underground bunker, was a residence around
the corner from Ramadan Avenue. This strike by four precision guided 2000
pound (or 3000 pound, depending on reports) bunker busters vaporised a large
upper-class home, left a 60 foot crater, and killed members of three
families. The nextdoor neighbours found the leg of the 15 year old daughter
on their balcony and the grandmother’s head was found on the roof of the
house across the street.  US Special Forces arrived 10 days after the
bombing to take DNA samples off the walls of the neighbours’ houses, removed
all soil in the crater and back-filled the crater with fresh soil trucked in
to the neighbourhood. The tactical effectiveness of the bunker busters was
evident by the great depth acquired prior to detonation. This ballistic
feature allowed total destruction of the target without demolishing the
neighbouring houses. The seismic effects cracked the walls and floors of all
surrounding homes. The Special Forces were helpful by using their heavy
equipment to remove large 500-pound clumps of solidified mud from the
neighbour’s roof.

Witnesses living next to the airport report 3,000 civilians were incinerated
by one morning’s attack from aerial bursts of thermobaric and fuel air
bombs. Since the cessation of the main phase of battle, several of the
Baghdad area battlefields, collateral damage sites, urban combat areas,
decapitation strikes, and bunker buster bomb sites had been cleaned up,
back-filled with fresh soil and landscaped by the US forces and Iraqi
contractors, thus preventing a thorough examination.

Figure 1 Bomb sites, battlefields and communities surveyed and investigated
by UMRCSeptember 30 to Oct 13, 2003
[see webpage for unscrambled table]

Objectives and summary of accomplishments

The UMRC field team concentrated its effort on the collection of three types
of field data:

(1)     Detection and measurement of ionising radiation (radioactivity)
emissions from munitions deployed during the Rapid Dominance ground force
operations, including tactical combat aircraft bomb sites, armoured assets
and their battlefield defensive positions; and, surveying and sample
collection from the Shock and Awe air-delivered, heavy weight strategic
ordnance and demoralisation targets and surrounding environments.

(2)     Nuclide identification where the quantities of ballistic source material
was sufficient for analysis by portable field equipment.

(3)     Civilian exposure and conflict history interviews of selected
·       those living adjacent to the battlefields and bombsites
·       persons present during ground force engagements
·       persons retrieving the wounded and conducting body recovery and burials
·       children frequenting battlefields and playing in craters, disabled tanks
and bombed buildings
·       adults and children salvaging and recycling hardware, mechanical equipment
and diesel engines from military assets positively identified as

The team collected three types of field samples and specimens for laboratory
analysis and post-field examination:

(1)     Water, soil, wind-blown and deposited dust and ballistically ejected

(2)     Human biological specimens from conflict-exposed and post-conflict
exposed civilians.

(3)     Battlefield artefacts such as clothing, incinerated and oxidised target
materials, ordnance by-products, ballistic debris and ballistic residues.

One hundred (100) inorganic field samples, biological specimens, bomb-crater
and battlefield artefacts were collected, logged and delivered to UMRC’s
laboratories. These materials are scheduled for radiological and
radiochemical analysis of any incorporated isotopes, their concentrations
and ratios, nuclide species and comparative radioactive heavy metal

The team collected radiation spectra data of both positively identified and
the field-unidentifiable nuclides. Spectra data of the field-unidentifiable
radiological substances were logged manually and electronically and have
been delivered to the laboratory for corroboration of the field readings and
further analysis. The UMRC’s portable MCA (Multi Channel Nuclide Analyser)
was pre-calibrated for the identification of 25 radionuclides, including
naturally occurring species of uranium isotopes, artificial isotopes and
transuranics (e.g. fission-activation and spent fuel waste products). Where
nuclides were identified and radioactivity measurements taken from source
materials were not coded into the MCA’s library, spectra data was sent to
the laboratory for identification by the Master Library.

[installment 1 to be continued]

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