28th February 2001

Depleted Uranium Watch

International Physicians Against DU

Piotr Bein, piotr.bein@imag.net

Vancouver, Canada

Stamped “approved,” Depleted Uranium Weapons and Acute Post-War Health Effects came out from the executive of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) on February 19th, 2001. It deplores the cover-ups by the governments concerned:

The fact that military authorities in both the US and NATO advise their own soldiers to take precautions when handling DU munitions and have prepared detailed training manuals and videos to ensure troop safety [reference to US Army 1955 training video], while issuing blanket denials of health risks to the public, strikes us as hypocritical at the very least, and reinforces our judgment that these weapons should be withdrawn from service.

It also condemns the use of DU weapons as being on the spectrum of indiscriminate and inhumane, together with landmines, biological, chemical and nuclear warfare. Landmines can be removed. Biological and chemical weapons have not been used in Kosovo, except for NATO bombing of chemical plants in nearby Serbia. Still, the refugees and KFOR soldiers were far away, and the wind blew the poisonous clouds away from Kosovo. The low-intensity global nuclear war has been around since the fallout particles from Hiroshima and Nagasaki spread around the globe via the atmosphere. IPPNW and others have been at it for decades, but the nuclear-military complex has had longer claws.

However laudable, the IPPNW statement is open to criticism. IPPNW forgot about the basic principle of their profession – the Hippocratic Oath from Greek antiquity:

...for the benefit of the sick, refraining from all wrongdoings and corruption...

There is not much advocacy in the IPPNW statement on behalf of the soldiers and civilians who are sick and dying of DU. I thought it would be the main point of a document coming from concerned medical doctors. It is one thing to denounce an obviously criminal weapon, but quite another to lean on dubious science to call for further delays in curing the victims of DU. I wonder if the IPPNW membership shares the views of the executive.

Parts per Billion

During the 1999 war in the Balkans, NATO forces used about 11 tons of DU in missiles that were fired into the former Yugoslavia, opens the assessment tying into the current DU “controversy”. The introductory “fact” about 11 tons is cited from the UK ministry of defence, the alpha and omega about DU. Soon they would be merging with the ministry of foods to make sure every child gets a spoonful of DU dust with morning cereal.

In the meantime, our kids have concluded from NATO tables of DU ammunition use in Kosovo that some 20 tons of DU must have been dumped there, and calculated that even at 1 ppm (one-millionth part) content of deadly “impurities” (as if “pure” DU were not bad enough!) this would mean DU weapons have introduced 20 thousand milligrams of these “vitamins” into Kosovo. A milligram is one-thousandth of a gram. A microscopic particle that can kill a person in various ways weighs a tiny fraction of a milligram, perhaps thousands of times less!

On the DU-Watch list on February 19th, 2001, renowned anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott wrote about the “impure” contents of DU in armour and bullets:

However there is another transuranic element like plutonium and as deadly called neptunium which is present in much higher concentrations [...] This material was mixed with contaminants that came from the reprocessed uranium from military reactors. The concentrations were as follows: uranium 236 – 188,000 parts per billion, technetium 99 – 270,000 parts per billion, neptunium 237 – 19,600 ppb, plutonium 238 – 0.0055 ppb and plutonium 239 – 124 ppb, americium – 0.43 ppb.

1 ppb is one part per billion, i.e. per one thousand million parts. Summing up, DU contains transuranics in the amount of almost 500,000 parts per billion, or 500 parts per million (ppm). The British nuclear physicist Sir Brian Flowers had grave concerns about plutonium in a 1976 UK Royal Commission report. Dr. Gordon Edwards from Project Ploughshares wrote in Plutonium, anyone? in the spring 1995 issue of The Ploughshares Monitor:

A person inhaling a few micrograms of plutonium [...] is likely to develop a fatal lung cancer 10 or 20 years after exposure, as some of the cells damaged by alpha radiation begin to multiply uncontrollably.

One microgram is one-millionth of a gram, that is, one milligram has one thousand micrograms. Dr. Edwards also wrote:

A person who inhales just a few milligrams of plutonium -- a barely visible speck -- will die in a matter of months due to massive fibrosis of the lungs as delicate lung tissues, bombarded by alpha radiation, develop scar tissue, choking off oxygen to the blood. Death follows from a kind of internal asphyxiation.

So if all “impure” specks of DU dust were ingested or inhaled, they alone could kill millions of people. The longer the deadly particles will linger unchecked for generations, the more chance that they would be taken in. Once inside the body, they work diligently at destroying cells and DNA.

I expected IPPNW to raise a lauder alarm about transuranics than they did, regardless whether 11 t or 20 t of DU were dumped in Yugoslavia.


IPPNW struggled with the topic when it ascertained that 20% of the DU burns spontaneously, creating a fine aerosol smoke of uranium oxide. A lower end chosen from a wide range of possible conditions makes us suspicious of their sources and research skills.

IPPNW are equally certain that about 95% of DU radiation comes as alpha particles. DU mass 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. Toxic effects aside, all figures change again for the “special” US grade of DU.

But let’s not expect rigorous science from medics in the New World, when “humanitarian intervention” means bombing innocent humans, while spreading DU dust to greet those whose return was bombed clear of monsters is called “aid from the international community.”

NATO propaganda apparently influenced IPPNW. They ascertain that, being alpha particles, 95% of DU activity cannot penetrate the skin, while the remaining ”minute amount of beta and gamma radiation” could affect tissue if fine particles of DU were inhaled or ingested. Did IPPNM hire amateurs to write this assessment? Radiation from inside the body is lethal – alpha, beta and gamma.

Couch-born Farce

The departure from the science is not my main grievance against the IPPNW executive committee. Perhaps after voting on the couch by tossing potato chips into the TV in front of them, IPPNW confirms concerns about the potential health effects of DU weapons. Though apparently the IPPNW anti-DU cat hisses at the use of DU weapons and supports the calls for a ban, it quickly withdraws its claws, urging caution in making categorical assertions or denials about health effects until systematic, independent, peer-reviewed studies of depleted uranium exposure have been conducted. Like their well-paid colleagues at NATO and World Health Organization, IPPNW still see a “controversy” and call for more money to do years-long “research” that in the end will only justify the bureaucrats’ existence, and will do nothing to those victims who die in the meantime or wait on a death row.

As if unaware of previous collusion of UN, UNEP and WHO in US and NATO cover-ups of the Persian Gulf and Balkan DU genocide (and of earlier fouling of our Planet with nuclear contamination from “minor” accidents like the nuclear reactor disasters), IPPNW recommends:

The US government and NATO have an absolute obligation to provide independent, unbiased researchers with the funding, data, and access required conducting such studies. The World Health Organization has requested $2 million as an immediate payment toward a four-year $20 million clinical study of DU health effects in Iraq and the Balkans. The US and NATO have an obligation to promptly and unconditionally fund the WHO's work in this area.

NATO would surely fund it. This farce was likely sought by them: “independent” WHO calls for a study, and eventually US-NATO “reluctantly” diverts $20 million from smart bombs marked “Iraq”. The results are predictable. If US-NATO wished to discover the truth about their use of DU in low-intensity nuclear wars in Iraq and the Balkans, they only needed to open own reports from before 1991.

IPPNW may have composed a conclusion of the upcoming four-year WHO “study” when they wrote:

While the peer-reviewed studies of health effects from natural uranium exposure are weighted against the probability that DU exposure, in and of itself, is likely to have caused an increase in leukemias or other cancers in the relatively short time since it has been dispersed in the Balkans environment, the science is controversial and the possibility cannot be ruled out.

Pentagon is already preparing for the “study”. American Forces Press Service wrote on February 23rd, 2001, that Pentagon remained “very concerned that “some” former and present soldiers “believe they've become ill because of their service in the war,” and advised them to “immediately” contact government-sponsored outreach programs. The Canadian government statistics bureau is about to violate privacy rules by conducting surveys of Gulf and Balkan syndromes on orders from the department of defence.

The military press announcement was a call to war. Angus Parker of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association responded:

More PR and PSYOPS. We do not believe we are ill due to the vaccines and NAPS (PB) administered without informed consent during the Gulf war, WE KNOW! [...] Certainly don't go to the military to have your health assessed, that's the action of a fool. Just carry on funding and partaking in none government research until this problem is solved. Then bring down your elected government with the strength of their own denial and victimisation of loyal soldiers. Sons and daughters of America. Time for veterans to lead and do what we do best, FIGHT!!!

NATO Peers

IPPNW refers to “a recent editorial” in British Medical Journal, BMJ, which concluded that the argument for uranium being the cause of leukaemia in peacekeeping forces is thin, notwithstanding the short latencies implied, even by the standards of haematological malignancies. It is science worthy of some professors at the Royal Society and their followers concerned about losing their urbanite “lifestyle” on a commuter train from Cambridge to London. Any decent research paper, textbook, and oncologist say leukemia starts about 2 years after nuclear exposure. “Kosovo leukemia” in Y2K was actually irradiation cases from Bosnia and the most acute and sensitive cases from Kosovo.

Our condemnation is not limited to the calcitrant British science. The Clinton-Blair connection shines through when the IPPNW goes on:

[...] With regard to non-cancer illnesses, "no single candidate hazard...serves as its unifying explanation, depleted uranium included" [4]. To point to these other exposures as possible contributors to post-war health problems is not to exonerate DU weapons in the absence of independent clinical study of the populations that were actually exposed.

The magic [4] is the same “recent editorial” titled Depleted uranium and public health: Fifty years' study of occupational exposure provides little evidence of cancer in BMJ of 20th January 2001. The author is Dr. McDiarmid; the same one who couldn’t figure the DU-malignant disease connection for a decade, although the US government supplied her with lab rabbits stuffed with DU shrapnel – the Gulf War veterans themselves. Dr. Doug Rokke testified before the UK Parliament that Dr. McDiarmid refused to treat him and ignored him, although he is a US Gulf War veteran contaminated with DU.

What really happens to veterans with DU shrapnel? Jerry Wheat discovered by coincidence that the shrapnel he took out of his body and war gear was radioactive. His father, a nuclear technician, tested them. Wheat lost weight, got stomach, joint and head pains immediately after his armoured vehicle was hit by mistake by American DU fire. The day after he brought his war gear into his home, his son went to hospital with respiratory problems. Another son, born in 1991, has strange blisters on his hands. Wheat’s spouse gave premature birth to another child after 1991. More recently, Wheat had a surgery to remove a tumor in his shoulder where the DU shrapnel lodged itself in 1991. According to Drs McDiarmids of this world, the Wheats’ ailments must have been post-combat trauma symptoms of the combatant and his family.


As much as I used to dislike communist propaganda and dispatches from the Soviet Pravda, this publication became one of the few voices of reason, certainly preferable to NATO spin. Pravda reported on February 22nd, 2001, that the father of Hugo Paulino, who died after serving in Kosovo, was dissatisfied with the answer from the Portuguese military for the death of his son. Portuguese army chief, General Barrento, accused him of aiding the Serbs by requesting more tests and exams! Nevertheless, the father contracted independent who determined that there was something eventually created in the theatre of operations whose toxicity caused his death.

The reports from the military hospital, where he died, never made any mention of toxic DU and the results of the autopsy were only made available months after, due to the insistence of the soldier’s father. He declared he has nothing to lose, because he already lost his son.

There is nothing sacred left in the NWO surrealism: soldiers are uranium meat, civilians are collateral damage, Milosevic is guilty of bombing the TV studio in Belgrade with NATO bombs, and Baghdad had to be bombed because Iraqi ghost planes flew over a no-fly zone in the south. The only rogue state is building a system capable of nuking half the galaxy to defend US national interests from some rogue states. Death certificates and scientific papers became as good as assortment of toilet paper rolls advertised on TV to lure us with the charms of their softness, aroma and colour.

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