Depleted Uranium — Worse than Saddam

Depleted Uranium Dust – Public Health Disaster For The People Of Iraq and Afghanistan

Doug Westerman
Information Clearing House

In 1979, depleted uranium (DU) particles escaped from the National Lead Industries factory near Albany, N.Y., which was manufac-turing DU weapons for the U.S military. The particles traveled 26 miles and were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear physicist. This discovery led to a shut down of the factory in 1980, for releasing more than 0.85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere every month, and involved a cleanup of contaminated properties costing $100 million.

Imagine a far worse scenario. Terrorists acquire a million pounds of the deadly dust and scatter it in populated areas throughout the U.S. Hundreds of children report symptoms. Many acquire cancer and leukemia, suffering an early and painful death. Huge increases in severe birth defects are reported. Oncologists are overwhelmed. Soccer fields, sand lots and parks, traditional play areas for kids, are no longer safe. People lose their most basic freedom, the ability to go outside and safely breathe. Sounds worse than 9/11? Welcome to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Jawad Al-Ali (55), director of the Oncology Center at the largest hospital in Basra, Iraq stated, at a (2003) conference in Japan:

“Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. We had one patient with 2 cancers – one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney–he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. Dr Yasin, a general Surgeon here has two uncles, a sister and cousin affected with cancer. Dr Mazen, another specialist, has six family members suffering from cancer. My wife has nine members of her family with cancer.

“Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning. They have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most, however, cancer of the lymph system which can develop anywhere on the body, and has rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also common.

“We were accused of spreading propaganda for Saddam before the war. When I have gone to do talks I have had people accuse me of being pro-Saddam. Sometimes I feel afraid to even talk. Regime people have been stealing my data and calling it their own, and using it for their own agendas. The Kuwaitis banned me from entering Kuwait – we were accused of being Saddam supporters.”

John Hanchette, a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University, and one of the founding editors of USA TODAY related the following to DU researcher Leuren Moret. He stated that he had prepared news breaking stories about the effects of DU on Gulf War soldiers and Iraqi citizens, but that each time he was ready to publish, he received a phone call from the Pentagon asking him not to print the story. He has since been replaced as editor of USA TODAY.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, The World Health Organization’s chief expert on radiation and health for 11 years and author of an unpublished study has charged that his report “on the cancer risk to civilians in Iraq from breathing uranium contaminated dust” was also deliberately suppressed.

The information released by the U.S. Dept. of Defense is not reliable, according to some sources even within the military.

In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying, “The Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body.” At that time Dr. Durakovic was a colonel in the U.S. Army. He has since left the military, to found the Uranium Medical Research Center, a privately funded organization with headquarters in Canada.

PFC Stuart Grainger of 23 Army Division, 34th Platoon. (Names and numbers have been changed) was diagnosed with cancer several after returning from Iraq. Seven other men in the Platoon also have malignancies.

Doug Rokke, U.S. Army contractor who headed a clean-up of depleted uranium after the first Gulf War states:

“Depleted uranium is a crime against God and humanity.”

Rokke’s own crew, a hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. He stated:

“When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,” but after performing clean-up operations in the desert (without protective gear), 30 members of his staff died, and “most others” including Rokke himself, “developed serious health problems.” Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems. “We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension,” said Rokke.

Yet the D.O.D still insists such ingestion is “not sufficient to make troops seriously ill in most cases.”
Then why did it make the clean up crew seriously or terminally ill in nearly all cases?

Marion Falk, a retired chemical physicist who built nuclear bombs for more than 20 years at Lawrence Livermore Lab, was asked if he thought that DU weapons operate in a similar manner as a dirty bomb.

“That’s exactly what they are. They fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way.”

According to Falk, more than 30 percent of the DU fired from the cannons of U.S. tanks is reduced to particles one-tenth of a micron (one millionth of a meter) in size or smaller on impact. “The larger the bang” the greater the amount of DU that is dispersed into the atmosphere, Falk said. With the larger missiles and bombs, nearly 100 percent of the DU is reduced to radioactive dust particles of the “micron size” or smaller, he said.

When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Falk was more specific:

“It is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”

When a DU round or bomb strikes a hard target, most of its kinetic energy is converted to heat sufficient to ignite the DU. From 40% to 70% of the DU is converted to extremely fine dust particles of ceramic uranium oxide (primarily dioxide, though other formulations also occur). Over 60% of these particles are smaller than 5 microns in diameter, about the same size as the cigarette ash particles in cigarette smoke and therefore respirable.

Because conditions are so chaotic in Iraq, the medical infrastructure has been greatly compromised. In terms of both cancer and birth defects due to DU, only a small fraction of the cases are being reported.

Doctors in southern Iraq are making comparisons to the birth defects that followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. They have numerous photos of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, and the list of deformities goes on an on. Such birth defects were extremely rare in Iraq prior to the large scale use of DU weapons. Now they are commonplace. In hospitals across Iraq, the mothers are no longer asking, “Doctor, is it a boy or girl?” but rather, “Doctor, is it normal?”

Ross B. Mirkarimi, a spokesman at The Arms Control Research Centre stated, “Unborn children of the region are paying the highest price, the integrity of their DNA.”

Prior to her death from leukemia in Sept. 2004, Nuha Al Radi, an accomplished Iraqi artist and author of the “Baghdad Diaries” wrote:

“Everyone seems to be dying of cancer. Every day one hears about another acquaintance or friend of a friend dying. How many more die in hospitals that one does not know? Apparently, over thirty percent of Iraqis have cancer, and there are lots of kids with leukemia.

“The depleted uranium left by the U.S. bombing campaign has turned Iraq into a cancer-infested country. For hundreds of years to come, the effects of the uranium will continue to wreak havoc on Iraq and its surrounding areas.”

This excerpt in her diary was written in 1993, after Gulf War I (Approximately 300 tons of DU ordinance, mostly in desert areas) but before Operation Iraqi Freedom, (Estimated 1,700 tons with much more near major population centers). So, it’s 5-6 times worse now than it was when she wrote that diary entry!!

Estimates of the percentage of D.U. which was ‘aerosolized’ into fine uranium oxide dust are approxi-mately 30-40%. That works out to over one million pounds of dust scattered throughout Iraq.
As a special advisor to the WHO, the UN, and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr. Ahmad Hardan has documented the effects of DU in Iraq between 1991 and 2002.

“American forces admit to using over 300 tons of DU weapons in 1991. The actual figure is closer to 800. This has caused a health crisis that has affected almost a third of a million people. As if that was not enough, America went on and used 200 tons more in Bagdad alone during the recent invasion. I don”t know about other parts of Iraq. It will take me years to document that.

“In Basra, it took us two years to obtain conclusive proof of what DU does, but we now know what to look for and the results are terrifying.”

By far the most devastating effect is on unborn children. Nothing can prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved fetuses scarcely human in appearance. Iraq is now seeing babies with terribly foreshortened limbs, with their intestines outside their bodies, with huge bulging tumors where their eyes should be, or with a single eye-like Cyclops, or without eyes, or without limbs, and even without heads. Significantly, some of the defects are almost unknown outside textbooks showing the babies born near A-bomb test sites in the Pacific. Dr. Hardan also states:

“I arranged for a delegation from Japan’s Hiroshima Hospital to come and share their expertise in the radiological diseases we are likely to face over time. The delegation told me the Americans had objected and they decided not to come. Similarly, a world famous German cancer specialist agreed to come, only to be told later that he would not be given permission to enter Iraq.”

Not only are we poisoning the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are making a concerted effort to keep out specialists from other countries who can help. The US Military doesn”t want the rest of the world to find out what we have done. At least under Saddam, the Iraqi people could stay healthy and conceive normal children. Few Americans are aware that in getting rid of Saddam in response to 9/11, we left something much worse in his place.


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  2. Roger Helbiug

    June 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    This article is bogus – Westerman took some photos that he has been falsely attributing to DU years ago and he is still lost in his Saddam Hussein inspired propaganda rant. You want to learn about DU, then go to – yes, people like Westerman have “depleted craniums” because they certainly do not use much of the inert grey matter within theirs.


  3. Roger Helbig

    June 5, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I spelled my name wrong before – I can not see black on black writing – it is Roger Helbig – my Grandfather came from Cincinnati – my Great Grandfather is buried in the German Cemetery north of Cincinnati –

    I was concerned that you had posted this slop about depleted uranium to the internet; then I learned that you are widely distributed in the Columbus, Ohio area – I expect that my cousin Mary Henry of Granville even gets a copy – I want you to take the effort to thoroughly rebut this article. It is loaded with false information from a long time anti-depleted uranium crusader Doug Westerman – someone in your area or on your staff, though, picked this up out of Information Clearing House and made no effort whatsoever to validate the statements within it. Yes, they will find thousands of internet sites that agree, but does a lie become truth just because a few thousand people believe it to be true? No, a lie remains a lie no matter how many times that it is retold. Why do I care – these people are filling the families of veterans with lies about their health, they are filling the Arab world with lies about how we have poisoned it and these lies will come back to bite us – they probably have – I would not be surprised to learn that a number of recruits to the Iraq insurgency or jihad or whatever terrorist group joined because of being told time after time about the horrors of depleted uranium. I am also seriously concerned that one of them is going to pay the US back for poisoning his or her land forever by using a real nuclear weapon or dirty bomb and Americans will die.

    I have spent a lot of my spare time researching and writing about (responding to posts like this and analyzing things like the recent false claims about DU use in Gaza) depleted uranium during the past four years. I just left a pretty impassioned phone message for you since you claim that you are powered by a “little thing called TRUTH” — this is not truth, it lie piled upon lie and John Peter Zenger would not be proud to say that you follow in his legacy.

    Roger W Helbig
    Richmond, California – over 50 links to solid scientific information about DU – UNEP and IAEA about real radiation poisoning like Goiana, Brazil, etc. – guest user password to learn about some of the con artists of the anti-DU crusade like Leuren Moret or Doug Rokke – the UNEP findings of NO DU used in Lebanon

  4. C. Ross Tobaire

    June 6, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Dear Mr. Helbig,

    Thank you for taking the time to contact The Liberty Voice with your concerns regarding depleted uranium. In your letter you mentioned that you would like for us to “thoroughly rebut this article.” Your letter failed, however, to state exactly why you would like us to do this. You simply claimed that the story was “loaded with false information” but you did not say what was false, why you believed it was false, or if there was any credible information supporting such a claim.

    We are agreed that the veracity of a claim cannot be ascertained simply because there may be thousands of internet sites that agree with it. Likewise, the converse is also true. The absence of internet sites espousing a position does not make that position false. Accordingly, we do not make our editorial decisions based on such considerations. If you happen to have contrary information that rebuts the story, please feel free to provide it and we will assess it. A lone statement that something is a lie, combined with a website link that is filled with stories that are strong on conjecture and short on citations, however, is not sufficient for us to compose a rebuttal.

    Thank you again for contacting The Liberty Voice with your concerns, we look forward to delving into all of the great information that we are sure you will provide, and we are grateful for having the opportunity to become further enlightened.


    C. Ross Tobaire
    Managing Editor
    The Liberty Voice

  5. Dave Winnett

    December 11, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Funny, he (Helbig) did the same thing to me when he saw my recent Op-Ed in the Daily Breeze (linked below). Instead of initiating a civil debate with me about DU, he immediately posted a number of threats aimed at trying to embarrass me with my employer, and attempting to impeach my credibility by requesting a copy of my military records through the Freedom of Information Act. I encouraged him to do so. I’m very proud of my 20-year military record. I have concerns that he may very well be a shill for those who want to hush any discussion of the health effects of DU.

    If I ever turn up missing, begin the search at the Pentagon.

    Semper Fi,
    Dave Winnett
    Captain, USMC (Retired)

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  7. Roger Helbig

    June 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I’m Roger Helbig, I’m paid by the Pentagon to spread disinformation about Depleted Uranium. I’m a paid shill, a stooge. If you go to google images and search for depleted uranium babies, you will see what my employers and I are trying to cover up.

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