A London court is set to hear a case involving the alleged use of uranium-enhanced weapons by US-led forces in the deadly 2004 battle for Fallujah, which some say is the cause of horrific birth defects and congenital diseases in the Iraqi city.
Please note that the video contains disturbing images
A number of reports have been published claiming that the use of uranium in Iraq was much more widespread than originally believed. Christopher Busby, a visiting biomedical studies professor at the University of Ulster, is the coauthor of two such reports. Busby sat down with RT to discuss the findings in his reports.
RT:Professor Busby, you have now made two studies of Fallujah. Before we move to the latest one, can you remind us what you found in the first study?
Christopher Busby: A lot of cancer, birth defects, sex ratio change after 2004, showing big genetic damage to the population starting after the battles there. But that was just a health study, we didn’t investigate any cause.
RT:What did you do next?
C.B.: We needed to examine the environment and look inside the people. We obtained 25 parents of children with congenital anomalies and measured the concentration of 52 elements in the hair of the mothers and fathers. We also looked at the surface soil, river water and drinking water. We used a very powerful scientific technique called ICPMS.
RT: What did you find?
C.B.: We found high levels of a number of common elements – calcium, aluminum, strontium, bismuth mercury – but the only substance we found that could explain the high levels of genetic damage was the radioactive element uranium.
RT: So the cause, as everyone thought, was depleted uranium, DU?
C.B.: No. Astonishingly, it was not depleted uranium. It was slightly enriched uranium, the kind that is used in nuclear reactors or atomic bombs. We found it in the hair and also in the soil. We concentrated the soil chemically so there could be no mistake. Results showed slightly enriched uranium – manmade.
RT: Could you explain the difference between enriched and depleted uranium?
C.B.: When uranium is mined, it is refined in such a way that one of the isotopes, U235, which is used in nuclear power stations and in atom bombs, is separated. And the rest of the uranium which does not contain so much U235 is called depleted uranium, and it’s a sort of waste product. The other sort, which is, as I said, used in atom bombs and nuclear power stations… we found in the environment of Fallujah – that is, in the soil, in the water and also in the hair of the parents whose children had anomalies. [That] is what we believe is the cause of the cancer increase, anomalies and other genetic effects that we found in earlier studies.
RT: Could you connect this with the battles in 2004?
C.B.: Yes. We did something clever. Uranium is excreted into hair and hair grows at a known rate: 1 centimeter per month. We obtained very long hair samples from some women and measured the uranium along the lengths of the hair, which gave us historic levels back as far as 2005. In one woman, whose hair was 80 centimeters, the uranium concentration went up toward the tip of the hair, showing very high exposures in the past.
RT: Very high relative to what? Could this have been from a local uranium deposit or from drinking water?
C.B.: The levels were compared with measurements made in many countries, but specifically with Israel and Sweden. They were significantly higher now and massively higher in the past. The measurements in soil and water could not explain these levels in the hair, and in any case, the uranium was manmade, it was enriched uranium. Not natural.
RT: So where is the enriched uranium from? Why use it?
C.B.: We are not sure. We believe these results prove the existence of a new secret uranium weapon. We have found some US patents for thermobaric and directed charge warheads which employ uranium powder to increase their effect. It seems clear these uranium weapons have moved on from the simple anti-tank penetrators used in the first Gulf War, which were basically lumps of metal. Since 2003, it seems the military has been using something else entirely. Something quite scary.
RT:But why enriched uranium? Isn’t that expensive?
C.B.: Well, war is expensive. A cruise missile is expensive. The cost of using slightly enriched uranium would make very little difference, a marginal cost, and there will be a lot of it about from the decommissioning of nuclear weapons, which would cost a lot of money to dispose of. We don’t really know the answer. One suggestion is that it could cover their tracks, so they could truthfully say they didn’t use depleted uranium, and save themselves from any war crimes litigation that might emerge when the civilians began to die. And they almost got away with that one. It is only the development of these modern sophisticated measuring systems that enabled us to find it. Another suggestion is that there is an entirely new weapon, a neutron bomb, which employs enriched uranium with heavy hydrogen to produce cold fusion and a neutron blast which would kill people only.
RT: Do you have any supporting evidence?
C.B.: We investigated bomb craters in Lebanon in 2006 after the Israeli attacks and found one which was radioactive and which contained enriched uranium. We found enriched uranium in car air filters from Lebanon and also from Gaza. Others have found evidence of its use in Afghanistan and possibly also in the Balkans.
RT: So what is the overall importance of these findings? What comes next?
C.B.: This is an astonishing discovery with many global implications.
We have to reexamine the health of the Gulf War veterans, especially those from the second Gulf War. They are having children with congenital anomalies and are themselves suffering ill health. They were found to have high levels of uranium in urine tests, but because the uranium was not depleted, the findings were dismissed. This has to be revisited, since we now know why this is.
It is clear that the military has a secret uranium weapon of some sort. It causes widespread and terrifying genetic defects, causing cancer and birth anomalies and poisoning the gene pool of whole populations. This is a war crime and must be properly investigated.
The focus of activists and parliaments on depleted uranium is misplaced. All uranium weapons must be banned as weapons of indiscriminate effect, like poison gas.
This material from the Gulf Wars is slowly contaminating the whole planet. It is poisoning the human gene pool, leading to increases in cancer, congenital anomalies, miscarriages and infertility. We must stop the military from using it. It has probably been employed in Libya, so we must wait and see what levels of cancer and congenital disease appears there.