[Text slide: Warning: the images displayed here are extremely graphic and are not intended for young children.]
[Text slide: Images of the dead are respectfully displayed for the purposes of seeking truth and justice, and not for entertainment.]
It all started when I saw an installment of “Vice” on HBO titled “Toxic Iraq” about birth defects in southern Iraq. Vice interviewed Representative Jim McDermott of the 7th congressional district out of Seattle about his efforts to shed light on a rise in both cancer and birth defect rates in southern Iraq after the most recent war there. By the way, Jim McDermott is a physician and according to him a scientist who during the Vietnam war witnessed Pentagon denials about the now well known adverse health effects and birth defects associated with Agent Orange.
Rep McDermott said that he went to the CDC to try to get them to at least gather more information about depleted uranium, and he got Defense authorization Bill HR5122 passed that was supposed to authorize a study(SEC. 716 Study of health Effects of Exposure to Depleted Uranium) that was to be completed in a year. The result was a two page report that said this,”there is inadequate/insufficient evidence to determine whether an association exists between exposure to Uranium and depleted uranium and any adverse health outcome.”
[image of Bullshit!]
First of all, we have known for over a century that uranium and many of the decay products of uranium are extremely dangerous in quantity. Notwithstanding the long half life of DU(uranium 238), you will recognize Polonium a daughter isotope of uranium used to poison Alexander Litvinenko [image(may he rest in peace)] a Russian defector who was a journalist critical of Vladimir Putin back in 2006. And, let’s not forget Radon gas a common decay product of Uranium that has caused lung cancer in pets and basement dwellers around the world since the beginning of time. The Uranium decay chain takes many steps until a stable daughter isotope is found. That means that if Uranium is in your body, your insides are blasted with alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays many different times until the final stable daughter isotope is found. But that’s not all. Heavy metals in this particular location of the periodic table may have a tendency to also be highly chemically mutagenic. That means that their chemical properties may cause birth defects and cancer.
Okay, I’m personally going on a limb here by stating, without formal proof, my theory that you can readily equate the toxicity and mutagenicity of Hexa-Valent Chromium to the Hexa-Valent chemical species of Uranium. Granted, Uranium is part of the Actinide series of elements. Which, means that instead of having four D orbital electrons in its valence shell it has four F orbital electrons. Note here that D orbitals and F orbitals (can) have a very similar shape and relative position about the atomic nucleus. ( In this particular case, considering that both elements are only four electrons above the last filled S-orbital, and recognizing the consequences of the much larger atomic mass and diameter of Uranium. ) And, if we were to treat Uranium as a typical transition metal a little higher in the Periodic Table, it would be in the same column as Chromium. [Text slide: elements are organized by similar chemical behavior in columns] Without disputing the substance of these superficial observations, however, it seems to me that heavy elements like Uranium have so many different ionization states and so many different possible intermediate chemical species that it is impossible for anyone to predict a particular biochemical reaction, benign or otherwise.
Now to be fair, U238 is considered weakly radioactive. On the other hand Reactor fuel (u235) is radioactive enough to cause a chain reaction. This is an important distinction because U235 with a half life of less than a quarter of u238 does not have to be ingested to be deadly to human habitation where as U238 must be physically consumed to be harmful. Ninety nine percent of naturally occurring Uranium is U238 and it is very common in the soil, air, and water all over the world. It is common enough that all of us have some amount of uranium in our bodies at all times. Exposure only becomes a readily observable problem when larger than normal mounts are ingested.
The vectors for possible ingestion of DU are where most of the blurriness in the narrative exists. The arguments over routes of ingestion center on things like the solubilitys of different oxidation states of uranium and how long the metal stays in the body after it is ingested. The Urinous or plus 4 state is insoluble and thought to pass through the intestines without largely entering the blood stream but may lodge in the lungs and potentially stay there for years before finally being absorbed. The urnalyl or plus 2 state is considered soluble but in many cases we are lead to believe that it passes through the kidneys and out of the body fairly rapidly. Though chemically damaging to internal organs, it is believed that half of the uranium ingested passes from the body within about 15 days.
Several government agency documents have discussed the fact that Uranium is pyrophoric which means that it spontaneously bursts into flame when exposed to oxygen and water. This is one of the reasons it makes such a nasty weapon. When a DU round hits its target the impact force atomizes the uranium and it spontaneously bursts into flame sucking all of the air out of the space that it hits and suffocating its victims as it burns them up. I was fascinated to learn that a metal like uranium actually burns in air. But, when I saw the statement in one of these government reports that uranium oxide was the main reaction product you get when you burn it, I became somewhat skeptical. My experience with chemistry in college told me that something might be wrong.
One of the unfortunate facts of life that most mechanical engineers become intimately familiar with is that of incomplete burning in internal combustion engines. Almost eighty percent of air is nitrogen and when you burn anything in air you almost always get nitrogen oxides from incomplete burning. This fact lead me to wonder what the nitrates of uranium are like. So I looked it up.
Prior to the use of Silver Halides, Uranyl N itrate was originally used as a photosensitive salt in photographic processes in the 1800′s. It is also used as “a negative stain for viruses in electron microscopy; in tissue samples it stabilizes nucleic acids and cell membranes.”(Wikipedia) Let me say that again. “in tissue samples it stabilizes nucleic acids and cell membranes.” Can we infer from the word “stabilize” that this uranium salt stays there for a while.
But, here is the clincher:
-I hope you will forgive me for quoting right from Wikipedia but this is what it says. Quote.-
“Uranyl nitrate is an oxidizing and highly toxic compound and should not be ingested; it causes severe renal insufficiency and acute tubular necrosis and is a lymphocyte mitogen. Target organs include the kidneys, liver, lungs and brain.”(Wikipedia)
[text slide: Though considered pedestrian by some, I reference Wikipedia out of appreciation for its utility.]
To be fair once again, Uranyl nitrate is not a stable compound. It “represents a severe fire and explosion risk when heated or subjected to shock in contact with oxidizable substances.”(wiki) Not only that, but exposure to ultra violet radiation causes it to reduce to the insoluble Uranium (IV) oxidation state. This means that in the sunlight uranyl nitrate will probably degrade rapidly. Incomplete burning however is, to me, still an open question.
The thing about incomplete burning and uranyl nitrate as a vector for human internal contamination is that we would expect more aircraft weapons specialists, and tank gunners to have symptoms of exposure. This is because Depleted uranium munitions are propelled by burning gunpowder or essentially burning nitrates. When you look at a cross-section of a Penetrator tank round it looks like the spear-like-bullet is literally encased in gun powder. One might expect that the explosive heat and force of that gunpowder pushing the round out of the barrel would erode and burn at least some of the DU in that environment. If so this might leave a uranium residue on the shell casings, the cannons themselves, or the enclosed pods of an aircraft that house rotary guns. And, what about the people handling the spent shell casings? Is there any uranium residue left over in the empty shells?
This brings to mind all of the claims that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by depleted uranium. And, originally this installment was going to have a treatment on Gulf War Syndrome, however, there is too much information(to fit gainfully in this piece) and not enough conclusive data to make a direct correlation between Gulf War Syndrome and Depleted Uranium. In order to do the subject justice, I would have to write a book. Short of that, you can see my findings on Gulf War Syndrome in my next installment.
[Text slide: see what I cut from here...]
As far as depleted uranium exposure causing birth defects in southern Iraq is concerned the question of how the people were exposed comes to mind. Most people think of the conventional war that was fought there and all of the destroyed military vehicles left behind. The theory is that people who scavenge scrap became contaminated by harvesting metal from these vast vehicle bone yards.
[Text slide of an ellipsis followed by a cash register sound and a text dollar sign]
In terms of depleted uranium scrap, if you take in the potential value of Depleted uranium at Nine Dollars a gram.
[Two text slides showing weights and possible scrap prices of DU projectiles]
That would mean that a Twenty mili-meter cannon round weighs 180 grams, that’s $1,620.00 each, for each bullet. (Assumed to mean without the shell casing)
For a Twenty Five mili-meter cannon round, that’s 200 grams for $1,800.00 each, for each bullet. (Assumed to mean without the shell casing)
Thirty mili-meter cannon round, 280 grams a piece, that’s $2520.00 a piece.(Assumed to mean without the shell casing)
Now, if you should happen to be lucky enough to find a 105 mili-meter penetrator round weighing 3.5 kilo-grams(3,500 grams) that’s $31,000! If you were able to find a complete penetrator round(meaning just the projectile not including the charge packed shell casing)
Then of course you have the 120 mili-meter penetrator round. if you should happened to find one of those, intact, at 4.5 kilo-grams. That’s $40,500.00 a piece.( Again, just the projectile, the word “intact” is stressed because one would expect these projectiles to get broken up once they are fired. We assume that any fully intact munitions would be long gone by the end of the battle )
think about that in terms of how much money we are spending for war.
[Text slide:Leave a comment if you believe these figures are wrong. But, even if the scrap price for DU was a tenth of that stated it is still a lot of money]
[ Cash register sound with Text slide of a Dollar sign followed by an ellipsis]
But there may be a darker reason for the purported exposure in Falluja.
Falluja was the scene of three of the fiercest battles of the most recent Iraq war. Insurgent forces numbered in the thousands. They had built tunnels, spider holes, trenches, battlements of various types within homes and mosques, and they had even bricked up stairways leading to roof tops so that American snipers could not get into position. The fighting was so intense at times that US forces on occasion resorted to using white phosphorous munitions on spider holes and other difficult to reach insurgent positions. Some of those battlements were constructed inside homes and mosques. The question is if the US forces were frustrated enough to use White Phosphorous what else did they use?
It is known that penetrator anti tank weapons are also useful against buildings. The DU penetrator projectile fractures, atomizes, and burns on impact. The resulting combination of inertial force and fire are compounded by the fact that the depleted uranium burns up all of the available oxygen causing the enemy to suffocate. This horrific effect is what has caused some people to suggest that DU should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. Whatever the case these weapons should probably not be used on civilians or on structures that will once again be used as dwellings.
This brings us to the following clips from a documentary by Sigfrido Ranucci titled “Falluja The Hidden Massacre” with comments made by journalist Giuliana Sgrena of “Il manefesto” an Italian newspaper.
[[[("Hidden massacre" comments by Giuliana Sgrena)
Male reporter: "Did you gather any particular information about Falluja?"
Giuliana Sgrena(through interpreter): "Not only in Falluja, I had heard stories from the inhabitants about the use of certain weapons like Nepalm in Bagdad during the Battle at the airport in April 2003. And then, I had collected just before going to interview the city refugees testimonies of other inhabitants of Falluja about the use of Guns and White Phosphorous. In particular, some women had tried to enter their homes and they had found a certain dust spread all over the house. The Americans themselves had told them to clean their houses with detergents because that dust was very dangerous. In fact, they had some effect on their bodies, leaving some very strange things. I would have liked to interview those persons but unfortunately my kidnappers ,who said to be part of Falluja's resistance, have forbidden me to tell what I had known about Faklluja by kidnapping me."(probably not a good translation)]]]
What is interesting here are her comments about us soldiers coming into Iraqi homes and warning the people that they needed to clean up dust left from the battle and that the dust was very dangerous. These comments were made back in 2006 verified by the upload date (of Dec 23rd, 2006) for the video. The video goes on to show victims of what they thought was white phosphorous. Let me warn you that the following images are unpleasant to look at, but it is necessary to illustrate my belief that these people were killed not by white phosphorus, or any other incendiary, but by Depleted uranium penetrator rounds.
[[[ (More "Hidden Massacre" comments by reporter )
Translation of man with his son: "This is my son after the bombing of( probably means by) the Americans in April. His body started to change, his skull has grown...
Reporter:" Dr. Hamid Hadid(may be misspelled) and his team were given US authorization to enter Falluja with the unenviable task of identifying and burring the dead. The bodies of the civilian casualties of women still clutching the (Misbaha) an Islamic Rosary. Their bodies showing strange injuries, some burned to the bone, others with skin hanging from their flesh. There is no sign of bullet wounds. The faces have literally melted away, just like other parts of the body. The clothes are strangely intact. and so it is easier to distinguish the insurgents who are wearing bullet proof jackets from combatants and civilians."]]]
What makes White phosphorous such a nasty weapon is that it breaks into small pieces that stick to the skin of the victim and cannot be extinguished until it burns its way far enough into the body that it runs out of air. In essence, WP makes nasty unmistakable holes in its victims. The bodies of the women shown here with their heads and hands burned in a very specific even pattern show no signs of holes.
[[[More "Hidden Massacre" comments by reporter:
"The clothes are strangely intact and so it is easier to distinguish the insurgents who are wearing bullet proof jackets from combatants and civilians. Some animals are also dead without any apparent injury." ]]]
The fact that the bodies are not totally burned up is evidence that the fire ran out of air to breath. This pattern is indicative of a depleted uranium weapon in use. The purported admonishment of the soldiers to the civilians in Falluja to clean up a dangerous dust in light of this is interesting.
At this point, you have to take Giuliana Sgrena’s word for it on the dust. However these images of burn patterns on the deceased can at least be dated to 2006. If depleted uranium weapons were used, anyone coming home to a house destroyed by them and digging through the rubble with their hands to find their loved ones and belongings would certainly have been exposed to depleted uranium. And, almost certainly without expert uranium abatement, significant contamination would remain for the foreseeable future.
Though the use of depleted uranium weapons on civilian structures during the battles with insurgents at Falluja is highly plausible, I have not proved it here. In order to make that case, there has to be either documentation of the use of these weapons there or a trustworthy catalog of radioactive hot spots in civilian areas of Falluja. My aim in this installment is merely to inject some common sense objectivity to claims by anyone that Depleted uranium is not harmful. On the face of it Uranium and many of its decay products are well known to be harmful to humans. Having said that, I do not want to aid anyone making false claims about contamination for personal or political gain, which is a distinct possibility. For the sake of the reputation of the United States and all of the children born in Iraq going forward, a thorough study should be made of the extent of contamination, clean up efforts should be made, and reparations for damages paid.
(Thanks to Representative Jim McDermott of the Seventh district of Seattle Washington for your efforts at finding truth and justice for the innocent children of Iraq.)
[News from the can and R. Crosby Lyles are not affiliated with Rep. Jim McDermott, HBO, or "Vice"]
[The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author R. Crosby Lyles]
["Deadly Uranium" A News from the can Special Report written, directed, and produced by R.Crosby Lyles]
[It is considered pedestrian by some writers to reference Wikipedia. I reference Wikipedia because I am grateful that it exists.]
[Slide of Wikipedia "imagine a world without free knowledge" announcement ]
Sorry about the mess. Dr. Douglas Rokke, Leuren Moret, Jeff Rense, and Alex Jones have largely been dismissed as a cranks by most rational people. Links to them have been included because I looked at what they had to say while I was researching this piece. My mission was indeed to verify claims about Depleted Uranium, and to debunk any Alex Jones hysteria I might happened to find. It is however a large, complicated story that took on a life of it's own. And, I'm not finished with it yet. To be fair to Alex Jones, Jeff Rinse, Doug Rokke, and who ever else might be out there jumping up and down about Depleted Uranium, I discovered various characteristics about DU that are very troubling. But, I was not able to convincingly connect the dots between Depleted Uranium and Gulf War Syndrome. Most of what I read point towards a Prophylactic Nerve Gas drug and Bug spray as the root cause of GWS. Which is why I cut the parts about GWS out of this piece and will put them in my next piece.
Memorandum to: Brigadier General L. R. Groves From: Drs. Conant, Compton, and Urey / War Department, United States Engineer Office, Manhattan District, Oak Ridge Tennessee October 30, 1943 Declassified June 5, 1974
Oxford JournalsMedicine American Journal of Epidemiology Volume 155, Issue 11Pp. 1033-1044.
Self-reported Symptoms and Medical Conditions among 11,868 Gulf War-era Veterans
The Seabee Health Study
Gregory C. Gray 1 , 2 , Robert J. Reed 1 , Kevin S. Kaiser 1 , Tyler C. Smith 1 and Victor M. Gastañaga 1
+ Author Affiliations
1Department of Defense Center for Deployment Health Research, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA.
2Current affiliation: Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, C21-K GH, Iowa City, IA 52242 (e-mail: email@example.com). (Correspondence to Dr. Gregory Gray at this address).
^ Persian Gulf War Illnesses Task Force (1997-04-09). "Khamisiyah: A Historical Perspective on Related Intelligence". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
^ http://www.zaxo.at/... retrieved the 15th of May 2011
^ a b "Zaxo". Kurdawary. 2004. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ Bell, Gertrude Lothian (1924). Amurath to Amurath. Macmillan. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ Campanile, Giuseppe (1953). "Histoire du Kurdistan". Le Kréyé. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ 1 Chronicles 5
^ Sabar, Ariel (2008). "My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ "Notes on Revelation, Eclipse Path, Turkey, Iraq". Judaeo-Christian Research. 1999-08-11. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ Brawarsky, Sandee (2008-08-13). "The Man From Zakho". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 2009-09-06.[dead link]
^ Gavish, Haya (2009). "Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan". Wayne State University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ Shai, Donna (2008-10-09). "Changes in the oral tradition among the jews of kurdistan". Contemporary Jewry - Springer Netherlands. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ "Chaldean Parishes around the world". St Peter the Apostle Catholic Diocese for Chaldeans and Assyrians USA. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ Campanile, Giuseppe (1953). "Histoire du Kurdistan". Le Kréyé. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ "KDP Flexes Muscles in Dohuk". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ "Foreign oil deal renews debate on Kurd autonomy". USA Today. 2005-12-09. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ Tawfeeq, Mohammed (3 December 2011). "Kurdish leader: Clerics 'instigated ... acts of sabotage,' wounding 25". CNN. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
^ "GOVERNORATE ASSESSMENT REPORT: DAHUK GOVERNORATE". UNHCR. September 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
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^ "Iraqi Kurdish Paper Says Turkish Military Bases Inside Kurdistan Region". iStockAnalyst. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
RADIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT REPORTS SERIES
Depleted Uranium Technical Brief
That depends on where you are. In the US, United Nuclear used to sell small samples like that, but I think they're out of stock now. It is rather dangerous, causes leukemia and other chronic disorders; so you need to cover samples with some protection. Eberline Services sells lab-quality slabs (4" x 4" x 1/8") for $3,700. That's about 626 grams, or 22.1 ounces, at $5.91 per gram.
Back in January 2010, United Nuclear was selling 61 grams for $549, that is $9 per gram.