22th January 2001

Depleted Uranium Watch

Depleted Intelligence of Depleted Uranium Apologists

Piotr Bein, piotr.bein@imag.net

January 22th, 2001 – ten years and five days from the start of depleted uranium war crimes in the Persian Gulf

Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and Dr. Roger Bate of Cambridge University wrote “Depleted intelligence, not uranium, the problem in Kosovo” that was published at http://www.junkscience.com/jan01/uranium.htm on January 10th, 2001. The authors’ titles and affiliations are impressive, but not the article.

Emphasis and “scientific” opinion can, and is, manipulated depending on the purpose of “research”. Statistics and calculations can be, and are, selected and adjusted in any discipline to prove a point specified by the sponsors of a research contract. The reward is esteem and future contracts, if someone wants to sell their soul and integrity. I will show in this de-bunking article that I would get a big reward, if anti-NATO organizations were as rich as the sponsors of Jaworowski and Bate.

Jaworowski and Bate are either ignorant, incompetent, or they were simply hired by Special Operations for a deception stunt. In either case, why do they occupy socially responsible positions at respectable institutions? Presently, they are accomplices in genocide, the worst crime known to humanity. That Jaworowski needs money, I can understand. Poland resembles a third world country after ten years of free-market reforms and giveaways of Polish assets to foreigners. But it puzzles me that the UK declined to a like status and a Cambridge professor would be grossly underpaid.

The two “professors” focus on a nuclear argument. I submit that it does not matter if 25 tons dumped on Kosovo by NATO was heavy metal poison or nuclear material. Neither it matters, if leukemia, renal, fibromyalgia-like, or other casualties were caused by DU-toxin or by DU-nuke.

Any amount of radiation could be defended by assuming a thicker layer of soil than the equivalent dose of nuclear contamination. The natural radioactive and toxic elements in the dirt are in a stable chemical state, bound to other material. They don’t fly around freely in form of microscopic powder. If they were as harmful as DU particles, the human race would have expired long before it evolved to produce nuclear weapons.

The authors ignore low-intensity yet harmful radiation. For alpha radiation to harm at its 30 micron range, U-238 particle from DU must enter the body with breath, food or through the skin. This was known and recorded in international scientific publications as well as US, British, French, Russian, Japanese and many other government and military documents long before the Gulf War. Jaworowski and Bate don’t deny that DU is a potent toxin. That fact alone should have stopped proliferation of DU in military and civilian applications which introduce DU into the environment and food webs. It would be immaterial to an impartial judge of war crimes, whether veterans, soldiers and civilians get sick of DU-toxin or DU-nuke. Both harms have been known to the military, government and industry since DU ammo was invented and applied first time on a mass scale in the Gulf War. 

Toying with Nukes and Dirt
DU is not pure U-238. By mass, it contains 99.8% of U-238 and 0.2% of U-235. There is also a tiny amount of U-234, but so radioactive that it accounts for 14% of total radioactivity emitted by DU. 85% comes from U-238 as alpha radiation, while U-235 contributes only 1% of total activity. U-234 and U-235 emit powerful beta particles and gamma electromagnetic radiation. They are more energetic than alpha, travel much longer distances and penetrate denser materials. Jaworowski and Bate argue that all the dirt in top 10 mm (just under half an inch) of Kosovo ground is 300 times more radioactive than the entire mass of DU dumped there by NATO. This comparison is meaningless. Not surprisingly, it follows the rhetoric of Pentagon, “DU is as harmless as a handful of dirt from your backyard,” which is calculated to confuse and to keep the public in the dark. In fact, the low-intensity radiation that residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took into their bodies with the nuclear fallout dust, explains a lot of casualties that cannot be explained by gamma and beta radiation alone. 

I made a different calculation, assuming the same U-238 activity from 30 thousand DU bullets, 300 000 MBq after Jaworowski and Bate, but spreading the contamination over the sites only, instead of the whole province. The total area of the contaminated sites is about 1 square km (at the most 100 sites, each 100 m by 100 m). Consequently, the average U-238 activity at the shelled sites is on the order of 300 000 MBq per square km, compared to their figure ten thousand times smaller. The truth, is between the two scenarios, since air and water carried away some DU contamination from the sites of shelling, but certainly did not distribute DU uniformly throughout Kosovo. 

The professors calculated that the top 10 mm of the entire Kosovo ground contains an equivalent of 100 million MBq, or 300 times more U-238 than NATO dumped there in DU ammunition. According to this figure, there is an average natural radiation in Kosovo of 10 000 Mbq per square km from U-238. This means that the contaminated sites on the average are 30 times more radioactive per square than 10 mm layer in surrounding areas. 

My calculation reverses Jaworowski and Bate’s picture. NATO DU weapons augmented the natural, local radioactivity of U-238 in Kosovo’s thin top layer of soil at least thirty times. Their conclusion was the other way around: the top 10 mm of soil emits 300 times more radioactivity compared to DU contamination from NATO, so it renders the contamination insignificant. They “erred” by a factor of ten thousand, simply because they divided the NATO dose of DU into ten thousand square kilometres of Kosovo. 

Why did not the professors divide the NATO DU dose into the whole area of Yugoslavia or the Balkans? They would then prove that the safest spots in Europe are where NATO bombed, just like the uranium industry establishments are asylums from cancer and mortality, according to Jaworowski and Bate.  Interestingly, Pentagon claims that M1A1 tanks made of DU armour are radiologically the safest place on earth. Critics add, “until it is hit by a DU piercer.”

Since nuclear threat of U-238 is conditional on inhaling or ingesting DU dust, only a fraction of one millimetre of the topsoil that could turn into microscopic particles should be considered in the calculations. This adds a factor of 100 to the professors’ “error” and makes their deceit a round million times over the scenario that I assumed!

Observable
The professors wrote, “Local concentrations of depleted uranium may be higher than the average concentration of natural uranium in the soil […] depleted uranium may be re-suspended into the air, and may also enter the food chain. This, however, should not lead to any observable medical consequences.”

Wishful thinking, fact proven by science, or deception? Professor Siegwart-Horst Günther put his life on line for the truth. He was one of the first scientists who travelled to the Gulf battlefields to independently study health effects of DU. He predicted in a March 3rd, 2000, interview for “junge Welt” that a significant rise in DU casualty cases from Kosovo would start about March 2001. In the meantime, a message was circulated on the Internet that German authorities denied Günther medical help with his cancer.

Günther was arrested and maltreated in June 1995, following an anti-DU crusade. He remained under police supervision one year after release. On January 4th, 1999, he was told by a German court that, if necessary, he would be forcefully taken to a closed psychiatric institution. The authorities showed they were very nervous indeed about DU truth getting out into the open.

Professor Günther also travelled to Libya, where in 1986 A-10 aircraft attacked the residence of Qadhafi and a coastal town – the site of an alleged chemical weapons plant. In both areas Günther observed cases of leukemia and deformed babies. The same symptoms plus skin sickness and miscarriages were observed in the vicinity of the crash sites of A-10 aircraft at Ramsheid in Germany in 1988 and El-Al cargo plane in Amsterdam suburbs in 1992. Dutch NGOs found DU contamination in soil samples from the crash site.

To Jaworowski and Bate, leukemia from DU in Kosovo is not caused by DU-nuke, but by the toxin. Encyclopaedia Britannica from 1960 cites ionizing radiation as the main known cause of leukemia, as established at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My 1996 Polish encyclopedia lists chemicals, ionizing radiation, environmental change, and viruses, in that order, as the causes of leukemia. 

“How could alleged alpha radiation from the lungs or stomach travel as far as bones to damage the marrow – the cause of leukemia?” another apologist mocked medical science. The answer came from an independent scientist: DU particles travel with the blood stream, and, once in the bone, attach themselves to calcium, to which they have an affinity. 

Whichever Way
The professors also employ excuses invented before to escape responsibility for other low-intensity radiation scandals, which they call 'clusters' of leukemia […] in which morbidity of leukemia was up to 10-fold higher than the general population,” for example in the village of Seascale and near the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the UK, and similar clusters in Europe, Canada and the US. 

“Initially, radioactive emissions from nuclear installations were suspected to be the cause of the clusters. However, it was realized quite quickly that clusters appear at other non-nuclear sites, where migration of large number of people occurred.” This argument pre-supposes that all uranium sites see great migration of people all the time. It is oblivious to the fact that leukemia can have nuclear as well as non-nuclear causes.

The authors find it consolatory that the incidence of leukemia among soldiers from Kosovo fits the European norm, for example, 11 deaths per 100 000 people in the UK. I am not an epidemiologist, but still the comparison is suspect to me. Soldiers are the fittest, healthiest and young social group. They are carefully screened before duty. Comparing them to a an average statistic from a whole country that is known for high density population, nuclear industry, pollution and DU processing and testing, does not seem right. The British leukemia fatality rate includes Seascale, DU shooting ranges, the site of a DU plant fire, and what have you. 

Why do not the professors compare to leukemia incidence at an more pristine place, like Bulgaria? Many of the Bulgarian soldiers, like Danail Danailov and Emil Ivanov came back from Kosovo serously ill, but not from leukemia. They were diagnosed by their host KFOR German unit in Kosovo with renal disease, but were intimidated by Bulgarian authorities who lately accused Danailov of forging his medical file. Flu-like symptoms are often characteristic for DU poisoning and were cited by the Bulgarian Army Medical Academy to diffuse public suspicion of DU contamination in the Bulgarian KFOR soldiers

If we can trust their words, Jaworowski and Bate wrote about the collection of KFOR soldier fatalities and casualties, “The shortest latency time for leukemia induced by ionizing radiation is two years. As this disease started to appear among the soldiers much earlier, and there were no reports on a dramatic increase of renal problems, the cause of leukemias in Kosovo, does not seem to be radiation of depleted uranium, but rather a natural one.”

Interestingly the Bulgarian Army Medical Academy could not make up its mind if it was 14 toxins they uncovered in their sick Kosovo soldiers or the flu. At the same time, the minister of defence threatened the sick soldiers and their desperate parents. In a TV debate on the subject, Bulgarian independent medical specialist was shut up as as soon as she mentioned the Balkan syndrome.

A Bulgarian volunteer in the Yugoslav army in the Kosovo conflict. Alexander Vasiliev, claims that 80% of his army friends from the war, both Bulgarian and Serb, have similar symptoms: general weakness, bad cough, pain and cataracts in the eyes, neck tumor that immobilizes shoulder and arm. He also told reporters that a captain for Yugoslav chemical army units that came to Kosovo for checks during the bombing told him confidentially that the situation was “catastrophically disastrous” at the time.

Since the European cases are diagnosed, like the Gulf syndrome cases in US and UK, by military medical services, or the results of private tests are ultimately managed by the authorities, there is room for covering up and forgery. NATO lied shamelessly about their bombing “mistakes” in Yugoslavia, about Srebrenica and Racak “massacres”, “death” camps in Bosnia, tens of thousands of Albanians “massacred” by Yugoslav forces during Kosovo campaign and about many other “atrocities”. The October “revolution” in Belgrade was staged, too. 

I simply do not trust what NATO says and am worried that a NATO-steered inquiry into DU effects is about to begin. Jaworowski and Bate are NATO mouthpiece, just like Shea and Laity. 

Once again another nuclear apology is really an attempt to cover up the inescapable truth.

(copyleft: reproduce and acknowledge the source)


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Original article from http://www.junkscience.com/jan01/uranium.htm

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Depleted intelligence, not uranium, the problem in Kosovo

By Zbigniew Jaworowski and Roger Bate
Copyright 2001 Junkscience.com
January 10, 2001

The practitioners of voodoo science and opportunistic epidemiology are at it again. They argue that radioactive dust from the explosion of shells tipped with uranium elevated the risk to service men in Kosovo. Concern has spread to all European military testing grounds using depleted uranium, and even to the civilian population close to such facilities.

The British Ministry of Defence initially said there is nothing to be alarmed about, since the risk of harm is negligible. Its tune changed when Armed Forces Minister John Spellar told the house of commons on Tuesday that soldiers who served in the Balkans would be offered screening.

But it's unlikely that the scientific facts changed from the previous day. There is no significant risk from using depleted uranium. So a political decision to succumb to media demands is the only rational explanation.

During March-June 1999 thousands of 30 millimeter caliber rounds stuffed with depleted-uranium were fired over Kosovo, mainly by the American A-10 aircraft. The core of each round contained about 0.82 kilograms of almost pure uranium-238, from which its 14 radioactive daughters and uranium-235 were separated. This depleted uranium is much less radioactive than natural uranium normally present in the soil and rock.

Natural uranium is in equilibrium with radioactive isotopes of radium, radon, thorium, protoactine, polonium, lead and bismuth. During its decay it emits energetic alpha particles and very weak beta and gamma radiation. Alpha particles have little penetrative power in the air and in human tissues.

The total mass of depleted uranium dispersed over Kosovo was at most 25 tons. The radioactivity of one round was about 10 megabecquerels (MBq). Assuming that 30,000 rounds were fired, about 300,000 MBq of uranium-238 activity were dispersed in Kosovo's environment (10,887 square kilometers). Yet, the natural uranium-238 in a one-centimeter layer of Kosovo soil emits about 100,000,000 MBq. Thus, the surface layer of soil in Kosovo contains about 300 times more natural uranium than was dispersed there by NATO weaponry.

Local concentrations of depleted uranium may be higher than the average concentration of natural uranium in the soil at the target sites. From these patches of activity depleted uranium may be re-suspended into the air, and may also enter the food chain. This, however, should not lead to any observable medical consequences.

The weak beta and gamma radiation does not pose a serious radiation protection problem. In fact, the radiation protection standards for depleted uranium are based on its chemical toxicity, not radiotoxicity. It is similar to other heavy metals (such lead, cadmium, or mercury), and like these other metals at high doses uranium is toxic stuff.

Experimental and epidemiological studies carried out over the past 50 years suggest that the main adverse effect of uranium-238 is a chemical impairment of the renal function. Secondary protection standards for uranium-238 (for example concentration limits in air and food) are based on a limit of 3 micrograms of uranium per gram of kidney.

In epidemiological studies of more than 32,000 nuclear workers exposed to uranium between 1943 and 1986, no other health impairment other than renal problems was observed. Among these workers the general mortality was lower than in general population, and mortality due to all cancers and leukemia was also lower.

Among about 150,000 soldiers, who for various periods of time were in Kosovo between March 1999 and the end of 2000, 17 have so far died due to leukemia. This corresponds to about 11 deaths per 100,000 soldiers. The annual leukemia death rate in the United Kingdom is 11 per 100,000. Thus, the rate of soldiers dying due to leukemia seems to fit the European norm.

A few years ago "clusters" of leukemia were found in several countries, in which morbidity of leukemia was up to 10-fold higher than the general population. The first such cluster was discovered in the village of Seascale, near the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the UK. The excess was reported in a television program in November 1983 and similar clusters were later found in few other places in Europe, Canada and the US. Initially, radioactive emissions from nuclear installations were suspected to be the cause of the clusters. However, it was realized quite quickly that clusters appear at other non-nuclear sites, where migration of large number of people occurred.

In an extensive review of the issue the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) concluded that a possible explanation for the cluster was the spread of infection resulting from the mixing of populations from urban and rural areas. One might expect such a phenomenon to occur among large military formations. But it seems that this in not the case in Kosovo, where incidence of leukemia rather fits the European norm.

The shortest latency time for leukemia induced by ionizing radiation is two years. As this disease started to appear among the soldiers much earlier, and there were no reports on a dramatic increase of renal problems, the cause of leukemias in Kosovo, does not seem to be radiation of depleted uranium, but rather a natural one.

Once again another nuclear concern is really much ado about nothing.

Zbigniew Jaworowski is a professor with the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, Poland. Dr. Roger Bate is with Wolfson College, Cambridge University, England.  

This page: http://www.stopnato.org.uk/du-watch/bein/apologists.htm

 
 

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