Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Muslim Peacemaker Teams Reports Depleted Uranium Epidemic

Sami Rasouli, Dr. Najim Askouri and Dr. Assad Al-Janabi, members of Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT) in Najaf, visited with Christian Peacemaker Teams CPT) in Suleimaniya, Kurdish Iraq, on December 10 and 11. The visit was an opportunity to report the recent activities of the respective peacemaker groups and learn to know new people. But the primary activity was a forum on depleted uranium (DU) presented by Drs. Assad and Najim.

Dr. Assad is the director of the Pathology Department at the 400-bed public hospital in Najaf. Dr. Najim is a nuclear physicist, trained in Britain, and one of the leading nuclear researchers in Iraq until his departure in 1998. They have worked as an MPT team documenting information about the health impact on Najaf of depleted uranium weapons used during the 1991 and 2003 Gulf wars.

This was not an exhaustive study because of the limits of personnel, resources and equipment. But it did rely on accumulated public data, thorough research, and a major contribution of time and energy. The focus was Najaf, a city of over one million people, and the rural areas in the governate. The area is about 180 miles from where DU was used in the First Gulf War.

Starting in 2004 when the political situation and devastation of the health care infrastructure were at their worst, there were 251 reported cases of cancer. By 2006, when the numbers more accurately reflected the real situation, that figure had risen to 688. Already in 2007, 801 cancer cases have been reported. Those figures portray an incidence rate of 28.21 by 2006, even after screening out cases that came into the Najaf Hospital from outside the governate, a number which contrasts with the normal rate of 8-12 cases of cancer per 100,000 people.

Two observations are striking. One, there has been a dramatic increase in the cancers that are related to radiation exposure, especially the very rare soft tissue sarcoma and leukemia. Two, the age at which cancer begins in an individual has been dropping rapidly, with incidents of breast cancer at 16, colon cancer at 8, and liposarcoma at 1.5 years. Dr. Assad noted that 6% of the cancers reported occurred in the 11-20 age range and another 18% in ages 21-30.

There were three locations in Najaf that received special attention from the researchers. Al-Anzar Square is an L-shaped street less than 50 meters long. There were 13 cases in that small area. The individuals were not related, were of different ages and genders and did not have a family history of cancer. Another, Al-Fathi, is a one kilometer rural stretch along both sides of a river. There were 37 cases reported, all varied types of cancer.
The third was Hay Al-Muslameen, a very well-to-do sector of the city. Twenty cases were documented there, mostly among teachers.

Dr. Najim began his report by noting that Coalition Forces, mostly U.S., used 350 tons of DU weapons in about 45 days in 1991, primarily in the stretch of Iraq northwest of Kuwait where Iraqi troops were on their retreat. Then in 2003, during the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad, the U.S. used another 150 tons of DU.

When DU hits a target it aerosolizes and oxidizes forming a uranium oxide that is two parts UO3 and one part UO2. The first is water soluble and filters down into the water aquifers and also becomes part of the food chain as plants take up the UO3 dissolved in water. The UO2 is insoluble and settles as dust on the surface of the earth and is blown by the winds to other locations.

As aerosolized dust it can enter the lungs and there begins to cause problems as it can cross cell walls and even impact the genetic system. Dr. Najim shared that one of his grandsons was born with congenital heart problems, Downs Syndrome, an underdeveloped liver and leukemia. He assumes that the problems were related to exposure of the child’s parents to DU. He said, “Cancer is spreading from the conflict area as a health epidemic and will only get worse.” The cancer rate has more than tripled over the last16 years in Najaf, similarly to Kuwait, Basra and Saudi Arabia.

There are nine DU production sites in the U.S., though, at this point, several (like National Lead in Colonie, NY, and Starmet in Concord, MA) have closed because of environmental contamination. Also, there are 14 testing sites for DU weapons in the U.S., though, again, some (like Jefferson Proving Grounds in Indiana) have closed because the military says they cannot be cleaned up.

Using a simple Geiger counter the research team discovered radiation levels of 30 counts per minute in Najaf and 40 counts per minute in the rural areas around Najaf. This compared to 10-15 counts per minute in Suleimaniya and at the Tawaitha nuclear research reactor outside Baghdad.

He concluded his talk by asking, “Would it be just to ask for equipment to continue the testing to locate contaminated sites, a hospital to care for children born with a DU-impacted genetic system, a center for study and decontamination of affected areas, and support for a special environmental department at the local university?” He assumed the U.S. would not respond to a total compensation request, but did assume it was appropriate to make these requests for compensation, to clean the environment and care for those exposed to the DU.

It was a rather diverse audience in Suleimaniya that participated in this DU forum. A local physician who had earlier in his career been the director at the Najaf Public Hospital, students, a local political leader, recently returned Kurds from other countries, and a local UN worker were among those who had questions and responses for the doctors. An important benefit of the forum was to provide a model that any small group of people can duplicate in their own communities as a way to spread awareness of the serious problems as DU blows into neighborhoods across Iraq.

11 Comments:

Blogger Leuren Moret said...

WHAT ABOUT THE IRAQIS, KUWAITIES, LEBANESE, ISRAELIS, YUGOSLAVIANS, AFGHANIS... IF OUR OWN SOLDIERS ARE IN THIS STATE OF MEDICAL DISASTER:

After WW II the medical disability rate in our soldiers was 5%

After Vietnam (Agent Orange) the medical disability rate in our soldiers was 10%

Since 1991 (depleted uranium) the disability rate in our soldiers is 55%

http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWVIS_May2007.pdf
In the May 2007 VA report on Iraq it says:

73,846 U.S. Troops Dead (near the top of page 6)
1,620,906 Permanently Disabled (near top of page 7)

More Gulf War veterans have died than in Vietnam.

2:51 PM  
Blogger StopDU said...

Excellent points, Leuren.

We are swiftly killing our own soldiers as well as the people of the nations you mentioned.

And now, it appears we have more Uranium contamination as well, in Somalia, the Horn of Africa, with the firing of US Naval ships off Somalia and US air strikes bombing the nation's interior.

It is like a bad dream that just keeps getting worse.

Thank God for people like you and Cliff who work so hard to get the word out. You both are positive inspirations for all of us. And our numbers - those willing to speak up and out about these atrocities - need to grow...quickly grow.

Cathy Garger

3:05 PM  
Blogger Wes said...

Hey Cliff --

Your report from MPT on Najaf is extremely compelling and has been circulating on nuke and DU lists.

I just came back from a visit with Herb Reed in SC, just after a trip to Colonie and Albany for the DU findings there, another visit with Doug Rokke, and the ICBUW UN Plaza conference in NYC.

Although some folks are comparing the NL Industries-Parrish-CCNL positive findings for nine persons with Randall Parrish's DUOB negative findings about British soldiers and thus discrediting both, I had the chance to talk with a few of those contaminated in the NL area, real people who endure terrible health conditions and who know of others who have died. The findings were certainly important to them.

If you've got the bandwidth, I've posted video clips of a visit to the NL site, press conference, and the anti-DU rally in Jonesborough where Herb and Tim Putin offered witness about DU's unconscionable use and its impact.

I'm not sure of what to make about the harsh discord among those in the anti-DU camps -- it seems more a question about scientific interpretation and methodology, as a friend from Hiroshima has suggested, though the conspiracy theories may be legitimate.

Stay well and safe,

Wes Rehberg

9:01 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

It is significant that the Iraqis most concerned about DU have this to say about the quantities used:
"Dr. Najim began his report by noting that Coalition Forces, mostly U.S., used 350 tons of DU weapons in about 45 days in 1991, primarily in the stretch of Iraq northwest of Kuwait where Iraqi troops were on their retreat. Then in 2003, during the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad, the U.S. used another 150 tons of DU."
Moret and others consistently tell us that at least ten times as much has been used in Iraq in 2003, but these estimates all depend upon their assumption that big bunker-busters and guided missiles all contain DU warheads. Those of us opposed to DU weapons who have questioned this assumption have been called Pentagon Dupes, government agents, Zionists and worse by Moret and others. She and others have made a significant strategic error by insisting that ten times more DU was used in Iraq than there is any evidence to support.

The strategic error for DU opponents is this: To claim it took ten times more DU than the Pentagon acknowledges having fired to cause the observed harmful effects, is to concede without reason a significant argument about the dosage responsible for that harm. Why make the unsupported claim that it takes ten times as much DU to cause the observed harm?

Wes, the discord among opponents is about independently verifiable evidence, not simply "scientific interpretation and methodology". Moret and others have never presented compelling evidence that DU is widely used in any weapons other than armor-piercing ammo fired by some tanks and aircraft. That's been bad enough for the people of Iraq without the easily discredited exaggeration of Moret and others on this point.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Wes said...

Reply to Jack --

Jack, exaggeration is no question a problem, damaging credibility. But so is "independently verifiable evidence." Who's the independent verifier?

Verification, and methodology/interpretation are intertwined. There's still the question of the methodology and interpretation of an independent verifier. Ambiguity will persist.

I've seen a rash of ad-hominem attacks on the DU lists, as you have, which serve little to illuminate in the midst of the question of method and interpretation. So there's discord, and there will be challenges, no doubt. about "independent verification."

I'm impressed deeply by what Cliff is about as well as his manner and approach. I know there are questions about verifiability and imagine they will persist as will the ambiguity and the efforts to discredit persons and "evidence." Which is unfortunate but real.

10:07 AM  
Blogger StopDU said...

How Much DU have we used in Iraq?

I was curious about the figure of 150 tons in Iraq...

I did some research and discovered that an Indian ambassador, Gajendra Singhon, on October 14, 2005, wrote, with regard to DU: "more than 3,000 tons used in Iraq."
http://mwcnews.net/content/view/1775/26/1/3/

In addition, as of 10/30/07, Penn State Staff & Faculty are using "over 3,000 tons" of DU used in Iraq
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/fsawi/

The UN reports that between 1,000 to 2,000 tons were used in the "Shock and Awe" campaign prior to April, 2003 alone, as posted in Associated Press article, The Environment in the News, UNEP Environmental Press Release Reports, Communications and Public Information, United Nations Environment Program, Associated Press, April 2003.
www.umrc.net/os/downloads/Iraq_report_1.doc

8:53 PM  
Blogger Rhotel1 said...

Of course Leuren Moret would chime in. How else would she maintain her self-promoted status as Miss DU-International. The truth is that she, like the CPT knows nothing more about DU than they allow to be fed to them by America's enemies. DU mythology started with Saddam Hussein who needed a way to make the US/UK out to be a greater ogre than he was and he succeeded in planting a seed in the fertile ground of the US/European peace activist who knew nothing about uranium, that it is in the soil everywhere on earth and that DU is actually far less harmful radioactively than the natural uranium that is already there. Then they developed the myth about it being some horrid genocidal poison. Moret can take the credit for that by her travelling on other people's dimes to anywhere people who want to hate America get together or want to interview an "American Scientist". Is Moret a "scientist"? She does have a bachelor's degree in geology, but there is no record of her actually working in the field and certainly not with uranium or radiation. Yes, she was at, I hesitate to say worked because one never classed Moret as an employee, at two Dept of Energy laboratories. At the Berkeley Lab, she was a graduate student in geology, but dropped out of the doctoral program. The research that she assisted with there had nothing to do with radiation or uranium and was rather about the melting point of silicate minerals. No DU expertise here! Then she worked at Livermore, where she claims to have become a whistleblower, but in reality was a short term computer lab worker, Sr Scientific Technologist in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing from 1989-90. There is no record of her having again even worked in science, but of her doing nothing but self-promotion from that point on. That in a nutshell is Moret. The CPT also fawned all over Douglas Lind Rokke, aka Doctor Rokke (but he does not tell the audiences that the doctorate is in Vocational Education and has absolutely nothing to do with DU - the thesis title is "Perceived physics concepts needed to teach secondary technology education as general education” and it may be found in the University of Illinois Library or read in part at the same place where you can view his military records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Rokke also stresses that he is Major Rokke, but never tells the audience that First Lieutenant Rokke, US Army Reserve went to the Gulf War and Major Rokke did not exist until about 10 years later and never did anything significant because Major Rokke was forced into retirement in 2003, at most about 5 years later, because of non-participation. Rokke also pushes the "warrior" bit when he never was in combat and he most certainly is not a "disabled combat veteran" but lectures to veterans groups that he is.

Cliff, if you ever want to learn about your heroes, I have posted the documents that I have obtained in the Yahoo Group DUStory's files section and even you can join as a guest "duseeker" with the password that I provide in Message 57. The rest of you who want to actually learn more about DU from an international perspective from scientists with no political opinion or axe to grind, then click on this link and read the reports that are linked to that Message 55 -- http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DUStory/message/55

By the way, the full VA report cited by Moret is there too and like the usual Moret, she twists the results to fit her opinion instead of actually factually reporting them. The death figure is completely and deliberately misreported -- the actual figure for Gulf War veterans is about 13,000. The 73,000 figure is everyone who died from any cause who left the military between August 1990 and 2007 out of some 6 million veterans in that group. The claim that more Gulf War veterans have died than died in the Vietnam War is completely false.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Rhotel1 said...

Wes -- how much have you made peddling your DVD mockumentaries? How about you Moret -- are you the one who created the forged Memo to General Groves or did someone else give it to you. Your 61 years of Uranium wars begins and ends on a lie - the memo is not only forged but the careful reader (and most internet readers are not careful readers, they want information shovelled at them rather than wanting to do a slow archeological dig with a teaspoon)will note that the memo has nothing to do with DU, but rather with f.p. "fission products", the highly radioactive nuclear waste generated within a nuclear reactor - that is clear from the use of "f.p" within the memo and also the 100 Roentgen/Day dose rate -- this is not DU, which is probably the lowest radioactive dose rate for any naturally occuring radioactive element. U238 does occur naturally; it just is mixed with all other naturally occuring uranium isotopes and their daughter elements and isotopes resulting from the uranium-lead decay cycle. It ends with a lie too -- your stunt on KITV in Hawaii with the Gamma Scout Meter that is incapable of measuing DU in anything smaller than chunk size inches from the meter. You clearly were not in a shower of DU rocks - that would have been pretty obvious to even the most casual internet observer. How much do you get as a commission on each worthless (for the purpose of measuring DU in air, what you claim it does) Gamma Scout Meter that one of your devoted disciples buys? Just wondering. Unlike you and Wehrberg, etc., I have nothing for sale and never will - I just stand for spreading a little truth amidst the lies. You lie about me, but I have the facts about you.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Wild Clearing's Blog said...

Roger Helbig must have a clone ... if it looks like a ..., etc., it must be a ... but the intriguing mystery is in what the clone chooses not to provide -- his own dossier, vita, resume, background ... so whether a clone or a doppelganger from a Hubble bubble some 10 X 10 to the 28 power meters away from here, it's still shows up with the same spectral properties ...

8:19 PM  
Blogger StopDU said...

Yes, Wes, you hit the nail on the head. It is RH alright and he likes DU very very much. He defends its use religiously and says he does it as a labor of love - although those in the know say differently.

Imagine having a job where you defend the use of radioactive gas on innocent men, women, children, and babies? No person of conscience could do such a thing...

My goodness what is this world coming to?

10:32 PM  
Blogger Rhotel1 said...

I see some yo yo called stop DU thinks that he knows all about me. Let's see him try his stuff in a court of law where he has to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Doubt he, nor Rehrberg and especially not Rokke or Reed would actually be willing to do that. There is a thing called perjury, you know, and in California, you can get a year in the slammer for perjury. That really would put a dent in their appearances on the rubber chicken circuit. I hate liars and these people lie about DU. If there were some other substance that killed tanks equally effectively, I would be all for it, but DU has not caused any of the things that Moret, Rokke, Kindy, etc. The Iraqi doctors probably helped cut off ears under Saddam too; being a doctor in Iraq required that one first tow the party line and that used to be Baathist and they are sworn enemies of the US.

PS -- I see Moret is lying about casualty figures -- Go to the report and read the truth - don't just reference it, actually go read it -- you will find that the 73,000 number has no relationship to Gulf War veterans!

http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWVIS_May2007.pdf

I sent this to a website the other day

73,846 U.S. TROOPS DEAD;
1,620,906 PERMANENTLY DISABLED

I don’t have the complete URL, but it appears that you posted this blatantly false article. If you did, you owe your readers a prominent retraction. The person who originally wrote this either was ignorant and totally misunderstood the report or was clever and deliberate and counted on the reader not reading and understanding the report.

Attached is the Gulf War mortality chart from the VA report

The chart for the period Aug 1990 thru Aug 1997 showed 4,312 male and 194 female Gulf War veterans having died during that period from all causes

What follows is an e-mail I was just composing about this false report being posted to a Yahoo Group.

Thank you.

This is one false message that I can not let stand. The 73,000 figure does not refer to the Iraq War, it does not refer to the Gulf War, it refers to all of the people who were discharged or retired from the military, including the reserves since August 1990, some 6 million people, have had 73,000 die from any cause including accidents and old age. The correct figure for Gulf War veterans is much much lower – it is probably about 13,000 – the only verifiable figure in the VA report is 4,312 male and 194 female Gulf War Veterans who died from any cause from August 1990 through August 1997, a seven year study. The report with the 73,000 figure though covers a 10 year longer period and it is likely that 10 to 13,000 could have died during the 17 year period.

I don’t know where you get the permanently disabled figure, but it is also totally bogus – especially if you try to factor in depleted uranium, which many try to do. I started to do a study of the Board of Veterans Appeals cases that cite the words “deplete uranium” in the opinion. There were 527 cases and a number of them are duplicates since cases often were remanded to the lower Board and then perhaps heard again at the Board of Appeals level. I also found that two of the first 40 cases concerned World War II veteran’s families who heard of DU on the internet and were quite sure that their loved one’s death had been due to DU exposure in World War II. That of course is impossible since DU metal did not even exist in any quantity in World War II and was not used by Japan or Nazi Germany.

6:26 AM  

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