Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Webster Tarpley Podcast vault :


The CRU...

Sunday, 20 December 2009
The CRU ....

Saturday, 19 December 2009
climate change and peak oil

Thanks to anynoymous for the tip on this one.

James Dellingpole is a good writer, a fine stand in for the irreplacable Mark Steyn


This is a guest post by contributor Andrew30 (whose full name I’ll give you when he reminds me via email). He put it up in comments but it’s so interesting it really deserves a blog all to itself).

Why would a Middle Eastern kingdom be funding a British Climate research business?

Oman has just completed a massive investment in LNG, and developed and installed new CO2 removal technology in their process; this lowers the carbon footprint of their gas. So using their gas to drive electricity generation will be less costly once CO2 is taxed.
They have no problem with this whole thing.

Saudi Arabia, who have oil and not so much gas, are in a different position, they have a problem with this whole thing.

Just an observation; a 4 degree rise in temperature in the Sultanate of Oman or Saudi
Arabia would change it from really hot to really hot.

Maybe it is just good business.


Oman LNG L.L.C
Formed: Set up by Royal Decree in February 1994.
Location: Head office: Muscat; Plant: Qalhat near Sur (approx 340 km from Muscat)
Products: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Shareholders: Government of Oman 51 %, Royal Dutch/Shell Group 30%, Total Elf Fina 5.54%, KOLNG 5%, Partex 2% Mitsubishi 2.77%, Mitsui 2.77%, ltochu 0.92%.

The Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the UK was set up in 1971 with funding from Shell and BP as is described in the book: “The history of the University of East Anglia, Norwich; Page 285)” By Michael Sanderson. The CRU was still being funded in 2008 by Shell, BP, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and UK Nirex LTD (the nuclear waste people in the UK)

This is important to know, for two reasons.
Firstly, the key institution providing support for Global Warming theories and the basis for the IPCC findings receives funding from “Big Oil” and the nuclear power industry.

Secondly, the research from the institution which is perceived to be independent publicly funded research, is actually beholden to soft money, CRU is in fact a business.

The funders of the CRU are on the bottom of this page from their website:

So, there a business set up in the early 1970’s, so what?

I thought that this might explain a bit about how we got to where we are. I am not a conspiracy theorist but to me it looks like this may have been a very, very long term plan. Of course it could all just be coincidental, but it does seem to fit the observable information.

A few weeks ago I explained the apparent CRU fraud to a friend of mine, a believer in AGW; he said ‘Why would they do it?’ I indicated the Jones had received 22 million, etc, but he countered, ‘For a fraud this large, going on for this long, there would have to be billions of dollars to be made, not millions’. That made sense.

So I looked into it a bit. First this is no short term thing, it covers two or three decades, involves many countries and government on both sides of the isle, the US alone has had 4 different presidents and the UK a similar number of prime ministers, Canada the same. So is it not political in the partisan sense of the word.

If, and this is a big if, you make the assumption that the objectives were:

1. Provide a smooth replacement of the use of oil in power generation and transportation, so as to avoid a panic over Peak Oil.
2. Get people to buy into Nuclear Power so that base load electrical power generation would not consume the available fossil fuel supply.
3. Get the people to really want to pay for it all.

Note: The IEA put a date on peak oil production THIS WEEK, so if the CO2 scare does not pan out they are already starting to put the ‘Peak Oil’ story into play. It is also the 2020 date, why am I not surprised.


Then the following is not unbelievable.

The newer scrubber technology for coal fired plants was moving along well back then, and in fact today their scrubbers can remove pretty much everything except CO2. However there is really not much money in coal, it is abundant, easy to handle, local in most instance to the base load demand for electricity, and a coal fired power plant is not much more complicated, or expensive, then a good steam engine.

Since there was not enough money in coal it would not be financially rewarding to simply try to promote coal as a replacement for oil.

So they looked at the situation and realized that the difference between the different technologies to replace base load power generation was the amount of CO2 per kilowatt/hour.

At that point CO2 became the target. That happened sometime between 1985 and 1988.

Now, the environmental movement is comprised mostly of followers, you can look up ‘dihydrogen monoxide’ (water), on many occasions at environmental conferences comedians and light news organizations have managed to get lots of environmentalists to sign a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide. So apparently they do not do a lot of independent analysis before making a conclusion, they are mostly followers.

So if you need a large number of followers, there is a ready supply, but you need people, a few leaders, to tell the followers what to think. The followers do not need to, or perhaps even want to, know the reason or the facts; they just need something or someone to follow.

Now you gain control of a climate research business, and begin the task of demonizing CO2, you realize that it will take years but that is OK, there are billions of dollars waiting at the end. Slowly over time you manage to get control of the worlds climate data and begin adjusting it, you use what you have been told by the marketing people to present the information needed in as clear and scary manager as is possible. Remember the two biggest motivators are fear and greed, and in this case, because of the number of followers greed will not work. There are simply too many followers to pay them all off.

So there we have it, a campaign of fear, based on non-science emanating from a few leaders that ultimately drive the followers to do something that would just not have been possible after Three Mile Island.

They are marching in the streets of Copenhagen in support of nuclear power. They do not know this of course, but that is what the plan on the table says. Check it out, look at exactly what are the big technologies being pushed at the summit. I will give you a hint, it is not windmills.

They are also marching in Copenhagen against big business, while supporting one of the biggest businesses possible, the World Bank. Is it not strange that the Dutch Text looks to have the World Bank control the trillions being put on the table? So they are marching against exactly what they are supporting, they are simply followers.

Perhaps you can fill in the blanks between the possible objectives I mentioned earlier and where we find ourselves today. Fill in the blanks, connect the dots and follow the money. Look at the funders, how many are involved in delivery, support, financing and maintenance of the movement of liquid energy and the generation of nuclear power.

I do not think this was ever about the environment.

There are lots of other things that may tie into this, like GE buying and now selling a
TV network, they needed then but do not need it now, a bit of a stretch perhaps but GE is a big player in gas and nuclear power generation. Look around, there are others.

That said; I do believe that the world does need to move to nuclear power for base load power generation, and I do believe that the Peak Oil problem is a real threat to stability.

So I agree with the objectives and encourage the outcome, I just do not like them messing with the science and trying, nay succeeding, in conning the masses to agree to it all.

Perhaps there was someone inside the CRU that felt the same way; the means were wrong regardless of the merits of the objectives, so they let slip the package in the hope that someone could figure out what they could not just come out and say publicly.

This thing would not need thousands of scientists to be involved. All that was need was for one or two people in perhaps five or six countries to adjust the raw data. Anyone using the data when making a comparison to CO2 would find the results that had been seeded into the data. The scientists would not be aware that they were being played. They would honestly think that their conclusions were correct. Only none of their predictions would ever be confirmed.

All the papers that used the data, and all the papers that used those papers for support, would therefore be invalid. In the vast majority of the cases I would expect that the authors are without blame, they made no mistake. The mistake was encoded into the base data before they even started.

Only the ones that actually were in control of the raw data and making the ‘adjustments’ needed to know of the exact requirements of the adjustment needed to seed the outcome into the data. When a scientist begins to say things like “the data must be wrong”, or “our monitoring is deficient”, perhaps they might not have been in on the ‘adjustments’ and they are likely frustrated because their model ‘works’ for the past and recent past. Think “We can’t explain the lack of warming”, perhaps the author of that email could not, but perhaps someone else could.

It would only have taken a dozen people in just the right places, and remember it took years to pull this off.

So who might have put these people in just the right place all those years ago, and why?

Central Asian Energy corridor

Sunday, 20 December 2009
The Energy Corridor in Central Asia

About 25 countries have promised to send more troops to Afghanistan in response to President Obama's call for extra support from Nato members. But France and Germany, the two European powers who could make a real difference, remain as hesitant as ever.

French and German leaders now face a painful choice. Should they finally embrace Nato's efforts in Afghanistan more wholeheartedly – which would mean accepting significantly more human and material sacrifices? Or should they or conclude that the war has already been lost, or that "success" does not merit the cost, and abandon the mission altogether?

For their own good, they should choose the first option. They should remember that unlike the war in Iraq, which they strongly opposed from the outset, all Nato member states, including themselves, unanimously and unambiguously sanctioned the war effort in Afghanistan in 2001. But aside from the need to fulfil their alliance duties – and in fact even more important – they have clear national interests at stake in this strategically located central Asian state.

This is not about just about pre-empting future terrorist attacks on European capitals by stopping the Taliban from retaking the country. At stake in Afghanistan is the survival of the transatlantic alliance, Europe's energy security and independence, and whether the deepening ties between Europe – especially Germany – and Russia, will eventually lead to the western integration of Russia, or instead, to it gaining a stranglehold over European energy security. In Afghanistan all three issues are interlinked. This fact remains largely ignored.

Let me explain: Afghanistan is a crucial energy transit corridor in central Asia, potentially connecting the energy-rich central Asian republics with the Arabian Sea and/or the Indian Ocean. Stabilising Afghanistan – not just temporarily to justify withdrawal, but for good – is crucial for the anticipated Trans-Afghanistan pipeline from Turkmenistan to India (known as Tapi) to be built and its security to be guaranteed.

The construction of Tapi is essential for Europe to diversify its energy supplies and reduce its dependence on oil and gas imports from the Gulf and Russia. Failure in Afghanistan, and by extension in Pakistan, would mean abandoning the construction of Tapi and in turn, pave the way for Russia to reassert its former hegemony in the region.

Should this transpire, European dependence on Russian-controlled energy supplies would increase hugely, giving Russia unprecedented leverage over Europe, both economically and politically. A Russia-dependent Europe would damage the transatlantic relationship beyond repair, wean the Europeans away from their former American partner, and split the west into two.

On the other hand, should the mission in Afghanistan succeed and Tapi be built, Europe could continue to deepen its economic and political ties with Russia without running the risk of falling hostage to Russia's geostrategic ambitions (which are still very much alive); it would allow Europe to progressively integrate Russia into a united west.

Despite the emphasis in public on the need for more military assistance, the US knows that France and Germany will not be able to raise troop levels to any meaningful level. President Obama's plea should rather be understood as a more general call for Europeans to do more – namely, to significantly increase their financial support and to bring their technical knowhow and nation-building expertise to bear. But most importantly, the US wants Europe to unmistakably embrace the US and Nato mission in Afghanistan publicly, in order to demonstrate revived western unity and strength.

Maybe the time has now come for French and German leaders to realise that the interests at stake in Afghanistan far outweigh the costs involved in pursuing them, and ensure that in a few years down the line the newspaper headlines will read "Mission accomplished" rather than "Afghanistan: where the west went to die – and did

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Afghanistan....Escalate to Exit

Ahead of his address to the nation on December 1, The New York Times broke the news in an Eric Schmitt article titled, "Obama Issues Order for More Troops in Afghanistan," saying:

During a late November 29 Oval Office meeting with top Pentagon brass, "Obama issued orders to send about 30,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan (over the next six months in) what may be one of the most defining decisions of his presidency." Compounding months of public betrayal, it's perhaps another outrage that will make him a one-term president, the way Vietnam ended Lyndon Johnson's hope for a second term.

An additional 30,000+ will raise US forces to about 100,000 plus whatever additional numbers NATO countries provide that at best will be small and come grudgingly for a war no one believes can be won, and some feel never should have been waged.

To these numbers, add a shadow footprint consisting of tens of thousands of private contractors - 73,968 according to a September 21, 2009 Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report as of June 2009. Included are familiar names like Kellogg, Brown and Root, Fluor Corp, Lockheed Martin and hired guns like DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater USA) costing tens of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan for lack of oversight so scandalous that rampant waste, fraud, and abuse go unmonitored and will worsen with more troops.

In addition, CRS reports that supporting each soldier costs $1 million a year, partly because private contractors replaced US troops at a far higher expense plus no oversight giving them license to steal for over eight years and do it as well in Iraq. Yet policy going forward will worsen things and greatly increase costs, already over-stretched by America's largest ever military budget at a time the country has no enemies.

Worse still, besides earlier in the year reinforcements, more buildup "represents a high-stakes gamble by a new commander in chief that he can turn....an eight-year old" quagmire into victory, a possibility many in the Pentagon think unlikely to impossible and other experts agree.

According to Schmitt, Obama will test "his ability to rally an American public that according to polls has grown sour on the war, as well as (vice president Joe Biden and) his fellow Democracts in Congress" - like Senator Carl Levin, Armed Services Committee chairman, as well as Colin Powell, and his Afghan ambassador, Karl Eikenberry.

On condition of anonymity, a senior Defense Department official told The Times that "the first additional troops would be thousands of Marines sent to opium-rich Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold in the south....(They'll begin arriving) in January (to be) followed by a steady flow of tens of thousands."

A November 25 Washington Post Scott Wilson article titled, "War speech to outline escalation and exit" strategies will "outline plans for ending it. (He'll) outline a modest endgame (to) allow US forces to leave and set a general time frame" in 2011, according to some, and after what's announced, beginning in July 2011, over a decade after American forces arrived.

Timelines are always flexible, and Obama hedged by saying withdrawal depends on "conditions on the ground," with further interventions likely because "The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly. (It) extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan," meaning Iran, Somalia, and perhaps Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and/or Cuba, given the Pentagon's growing presence in Colombia as a regional garrison for waging hemispheric conflicts.

Yet he said America can't afford and shouldn't shoulder an open-ended commitment - which, among others, begs these questions:

-- besides the situation in Iraq, why are we in Afghanistan at all; and

-- why for an unwinnable, illegal war over-stretching the federal budget toward bankruptcy while ignoring vital homeland needs.

Also, opposition is increasing, including among congressional Democrats. The situation is unstable and much depends on uncontrollable factors and a growing conviction that after eight years, the war is lost and withdrawal, not escalation is advised.

Others fear imperial madness, perpetual wars, the illusion of Pax Americana, and the nation transitioning toward tyranny, already entrenched with a strong foothold, but who'll tell the public when the media won't, and everyone knows politicians lie, especially the president and others with power.

Nonetheless, Obama told West Point cadets he'll "bring this war to a successful conclusion," and added:

"America, we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering....If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow" - while telling foreign allies: "This is not just America's war."

Fact Check

Planned a year or more in advance, America willfully, maliciously, illegally, and preemptively attacked a non-belligerent nation (four weeks after 9/11 on October 7) in violation of international and US laws. Those responsible are war criminals. Those continuing it, including congressional members funding it, are as well. Those claiming America's security was threatened lied. It wasn't then. It's not now, and international and US laws are clear.

The UN Charter's Article 51 allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."

In other words, justifiable self-defense is permissible. In addition, Charter Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or authorized by the Security Council.

Three General Assembly resolutions concur, absolutely prohibiting "non-consensual military intervention:"

-- the 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty;

-- the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations; and

-- the 1974 Definition of Aggression, drawing largely on the UN Charter's Article II, paragraph 4 stating:

"All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Aggression was defined:

-- a "crime against peace;"

-- the "Invasion of a State by the armed forces of another State, with or without occupation of the territory; (and)

-- attacks on marine fleets."

The UN Charter's Article 39 provides for the Security Council to determine the existence of any act of aggression and "shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security."

The Rome Statute of the International Court of Justice calls the crime of aggression one of the "most serious crimes of concern to the international community," and provides for it to fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after state parties agree on a definition and define the conditions under which guilty parties may be prosecuted.

The Nuremberg Tribunal said:

"To initiate a war of aggression....is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime (against peace) differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause (Article VI, paragraph 20), the Constitution, federal statutes, and US treaties are "the supreme law of the land," including international laws (like Geneva) to which America is a signatory. The paragraph reads:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding."

US law is also clear and unequivocal. Under the Constitution's Article I, Section 8, only Congress may:

-- "....provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States....

-- ....declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

-- "....provide and maintain a navy;

-- ....make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

-- ....provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; (and)

--....provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States...."

Nowhere does it authorize a preemptive, imperial, aggressive attack on a non-belligerent nation.

The Founders considered declaring and waging wars so important that no single person, including the president, should decide it alone.

Congress last obeyed the law on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. Thereafter, every US war was illegal, according to the Constitution of the United States. By continuing such wars, President Obama stands guilty of war crimes and is fully accountable under US and international laws.

Further, under Article I, Section 7, only Congress may fund wars as:

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills."

Either body may originate appropriation bills, although the House claims sole responsibility for it. Either one may amend bills, including revenue and appropriation measures. Congress may resist defunding, but it's empowered to withhold future amounts without which wars and occupations aren't possible so the current ones would end.

Congressional appropriation power is key under Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 saying:

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury; and a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time."

It means Congress alone has constitutional power over the federal budget, including the funding of wars. Cut it off and wars and occupations end, with or without presidential concurrence.

After years of congressional inaction, the 1972 Church-Clifford amendment, attached to foreign aid legislation, tried to end Southeast Asian war funding, but it was defeated in the House. However, the June 1973 Church-Case amendment succeeded after earlier attempts failed, and ended America's involvement in Vietnam. In the same year, over Richard Nixon's veto, Congress passed the War Powers Act (still the law) requiring the president to consult with Congress before authorizing troop deployments for extended periods.

Without congressional collusion, wars can't be fought or continued. The 111th Congress and most previous ones have been complicit in America's aggressive wars and share equal guilt with the president and top Pentagon brass. Ending wars politically are daunting, but doing so financially is as simple as cutting off funding.

Afghanistan's Tragic History: Ravaged by Wars Without End

For centuries, Afghanistan has been war-torn and ravaged by invaders, yet endured by repeatedly repelling them - more recently against Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the Soviets in the 1980s. Today imperial America risks the same fate after eight failed years, yet those in power won't act because of Afghanistan's strategic importance and fear of strong repercussions from an opposition looking for reasons to criticize.

As a result, Afghans keep suffering the way John Pilger poignantly described under conditions there in his 2006 book, "Freedom Next Time, saying:"

"Throughout all the humanitarian crises in living memory, no country has been abused and suffered more, and none helped less than Afghanistan." He described Kabul like many parts of the country today, plagued by "contours of rubble rather than streets, where people live in collapsed buildings, like earthquake victims waiting for rescue (with) no light....heat," or relief from perpetual wars and human misery, the result of imperial invasions and internal conflicts.

Over time, the toll has been horrific:

-- unemployment is around 50%;

-- impoverishment is among the highest in the world affecting nearly two-thirds of the country;

-- in October 2008, spokesman for the UN mission in Kabul, Adrian Edwards, told the BBC that:

"The human conditions in Afghanistan are very serious. Continuous insecurity, drought and booming food prices on the world level are the main cause for the emergence of this situation but the condition in the future months is not tangible. There is no doubt that people are in dire need of food."

-- conditions today are no better and perhaps worse;

-- those with jobs don't earn enough to meet minimal needs;

-- life expectancy at 44 years is one of the lowest in the world;

-- the infant mortality rate is the world's highest with 20% of children dying before age five;

-- an Afghan woman dies in childbirth every 30 minutes;

-- 75% of the population has no access to safe drinking water;

-- homelessness is epidemic forcing many to live under deplorable conditions;

-- only one doctor is available per 6,000 people and one nurse per 2,500 people;

-- unexploded ordnance kills or wounds hundreds each month, a situation worsening as conflict persists;

-- children are kidnapped and sold into slavery or murdered for their organs;

-- less than 6% of Afghans have access to electricity, available only sporadically;

-- women's literacy is about 19%, and many have to beg on streets or turn to prostitution to survive.

In addition, no part of the country is safe. Internal conflict rages. Life for most Afghans is intolerable, and accounting for around 60% of its economy, Afghanistan is the world's largest opium producer.

On September 2, 2009, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that opium cultivation dropped to 123,000 hectares, down from the 2007 193,000 hectare peak. However, production fell only 10% to 6,900 tons from 2008 because farmers get more yield per bulb. At the same time, world demand is stable at around 5,000 tons, much less than Afghanistan supplies. In contrast, prior to America's invasion, the Taliban eradicated 94% of opium production, reducing it to 185 tons according to UN figures.

Under eight years of occupation, it again flourishes, mostly benefitting organized crime, the CIA, and powerful Western business and financial interests, in America most of all.

Also, in its latest 2009 report, Transparency International ranks Afghanistan the world's second most corrupt country after Somalia under its US-backed Transitional Federal Government and African Union paramilitary peacekeepers. Occupied Iraq ranks fifth, further testimony to imperialism's exploitive failure and its harm to targeted countries.

Meanwhile, since Afghan commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, took charge of US and NATO forces last June, he's favored more troops for a wider war he can't win using similar tactics he was infamous for as head of the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) - established in 1980 and comprised of the Army's Delta Force and Navy seals, de facto death squads writer Seymour Hersh once described as an "executive assassination wing" operating out of Dick Cheney's office.

While escalating the Afghan war, he's also destabilizing Pakistan to balkanize both countries, weakening them by design to control the Caspian Sea's oil and gas riches and their energy routes to secured ports for export. The strategy includes encircling Russia, China, and Iran, obstructing their solidarity and cohesion, toppling the Iranian government, perhaps attacking its nuclear sites, eliminating Israel's main regional rival, defusing a feared geopolitical alliance, and securing the ultimate goal of unchallenged Eurasian dominance in a part of the world rich in oil, gas and other vital minerals.

It's a huge task for any commander, let alone a man James Petras calls a "notorious psychopath" who's perhaps the right man to pin failure on if things go sour or if popular discontent reaches critical mass, forcing withdrawal like from Vietnam. Blame it on the general, not the commander-in-chief who appointed him who may not get off easily, nor should he given an ill-chosen strategy cooler heads want to avoid, but not vocal hawks who demand he press on no matter the long odds or overstretched the budget, threatening bankruptcy because of its unaffordability combined with bailing out Wall Street and other obligations.

The die is cast. Escalation is now fact by a man promising change, delivering betrayal, and seeing his approval rating fall from a 68% late January high to 47% according to the December 1 Rasmussen Report, a number steadily falling because growing numbers of supporters are losing faith. Heading into 2010, the combination of economic hardship, eroding civil liberties, and wasted billions on futile wars promises to raise public discontent and disapproval of a president and Congress they no longer trust. What's disturbing is why they did in the first place.

Webster Tarpley WCR 5/12/09...8 parts....

Webster Tarpley WCR 28/11/09...8parts...

Depleted Uranium

In September this year, say campaigners, 170 children were born at Fallujah General Hospital, 24 per cent of whom died within seven days. Three-quarters of these exhibited deformities, including "children born with two heads, no heads, a single eye in their foreheads, or missing limbs". The comparable data for August 2002 -- before the invasion -- records 530 births, of whom six died and only one of whom was deformed.

The data -- contained in a letter sent by a group of British and Iraqi doctors and campaigners to the United Nations last month -- presaged claims made in a report in The Guardian yesterday that there has been a sharp rise in birth defects in the city. The paper quoted Fallujah General's director and senior specialist, Dr Ayman Qais, as saying: "We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies... There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of brain tumours." Earlier this year Sky News reported a Fallujah grave-digger saying that, of the four or five new-born babies he buries every day, most have deformities. [right: Iraqi boys play with remains of US rocket.]

The campaigners' letter to the UN calls for an independent investigation to be set up, "the cleaning up of toxic materials used by the occupying forces, including depleted uranium and white phosphorus", and an inquiry launched to discover if any war crimes have been committed.

The campaigners believe that either white phosphorus or depleted uranium is a major, if not only, cause of the birth defects. White phosphorus, which US military has admitted firing on insurgents in heavily populated Fallujah, has a long history of military use, dating back to the First World War.

And although no scientific study has ever proved a causal link between depleted uranium and serious medical problems Ð and several studies seem to have proved the opposite -- it is by no means in the clear. Ever since the first Gulf War, its use has been linked to cancers among returning troops.


Depleted Uranium, or DU, is a waste material left over from the nuclear industry. A vast amount of this waste DU is produced when natural uranium is enriched for use in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Only the uranium isotope U-235 can be used in nuclear processes, such as reactors and weapons. As most of this isotope is removed from naturally occurring uranium, the remaining uranium product comprises U-238 and smaller amounts of the more highly radioactive U-235 and U-234. DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. It is this latter product, the left over uranium, comprising mainly U-238, which has been used to make 'depleted' uranium weapons. It is used for weapons because this heavy, dense metal is judged by the army to be an excellent penetrator of enemy armour, tanks, and even buildings.

A large amount of DU in the stockpiles held in the United States has been contaminated with recycled spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. For example trace amounts of U-236 and highly radioactive substances such as plutonium, neptunium and technetium were found in a DU anti-tank shell used in Kosovo. Hundreds of thousands of tons of this contaminated stock was exported to the UK, France and other countries in the 1990s. The extent to which this DU has been contaminated with recycled spent fuel is still unknown and undisclosed.

Governments have largely ignored the serious dangers this recycled fuel represents. A common defence used by the British and US governments and their militaries is to claim that depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium and therefore does not constitute a risk to human health. This statement is, however, misleading. In its natural form uranium is present in our environment in very small quantities as an ore, for example in rocks and soil. Conversely, the DU used by the military has been concentrated relative to background amounts, and is therefore many times more radioactive than uranium ore.

In May 2003 Scott Peterson, a writer with the US newspaper CSM, examined radioactivity levels next to DU bullets in Baghdad and found Geiger-counter readings were 1900 times greater than background radiation levels next to DU bullets. When natural uranium is concentrated in a similar form to 'depleted' uranium it emits about 40% more alpha radiation, 15% more gamma radiation and around the same level of beta radiation. The chemical toxicity of uranium does not depend on the isotope, therefore enriched, 'normal', and depleted uranium are equally toxic chemically.

It is extremely difficult and expensive for the nuclear industry to store DU. It is thought that the US currently has 1 billion tonnes of depleted uranium radioactive waste, while the UK has at least 50,000 tonnes. This waste is stored in cylinders at many sites across the US and UK and is vulnerable to corrosion and leaks owing to ageing cylinders and outside storage. It is stored mainly in the form of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) which can leak if the corroding cylinders are breached. At least 10 cylinders are known to have breached during the past 10 years.

Turning this DU waste into weapons solves some of the problem faced by the Government and nuclear industry, concerning what to do with these large stockpiles. Not only is DU practically free of charge for the arms manufacturers, but it no longer has to be stored and monitored indefinitely.


Depleted uranium is a risk to health both as a toxic heavy metal and as a radioactive substance. The UK and US Governments have long sought to play down these risks. While, as late as 2003, the UK Government was claiming that DU presented no harm to soldiers or civilians, yet accumulating and alarming evidence from scientists, soldiers and activists has forced them to back down and recognise the risks posed.(1) However what is clear from reading all major studies is that more research urgently needs to be done. There exists very little research on the effects of uranium contamination in humans and accurate tests to understand exposure doses from military uses of DU have never been done.

There are three main routes through which DU exposure on the battlefield takes place: inhalation, ingestion and wounding.(2) As a DU penetrator hits its target some of the DU from the weapon reacts with the air in the ensuing fire and becomes a fine dust (often called an 'aerosol') that makes inhalation and ingestion a possibility for those in the area. Even after the dust has settled, the danger remains that it may be resuspended in the future by further activity or the wind, and again pose a threat to civilians and others for many years into the future. DU particles have been reported as travelling twenty-five miles on air currents.(3) Open wounds also allow a gateway for DU into the body and some veterans have also been left with DU fragments in their bodies, remaining after combat.

Inhaled DU dust will settle in the nose, mouth, lung, airways and guts. As a DU penetrator hits its target, the high temperatures caused by the impact ensure the DU dust particles become ceramic and therefore water insoluble. This means that, unlike other more soluble forms of uranium, DU will stay in the body for much longer periods of time. This aspect of uranium toxicology has often been ignored in studies of the health effects of DU, which base their excretion rates on soluble uranium. DU dust can remain in the sticky tissues of the lung and other organs such as the kidneys for many years. It is also deposited in the bones where it can remain for up to 25 years.(4) This helps explain why studies of Gulf War veterans have found that soldiers are still excreting DU in their urine over 12 years after the 1991 conflict (5) . Ingested DU can be incorporated into bone and from there will irradiate the bone marrow, increasing the risk of leukaemia and an impaired immune system. (6)

External exposure to DU entails exposure to alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Although the skin will block alpha particles, beta and gamma radiation can penetrate beyond the dead outer skin layers and damage living tissue. Beta particles can penetrate to a depth of 2 cm, while gamma radiation (through a process called 'the Compton effect') generates beta particle radiation along its trajectory through the body. Neither is all external exposure to alpha radiation harmless. Cataracts, for example, can be caused by exposure to alpha radiation.(7)

Inside the body, DU poses a health risk in a variety of ways to different organs. The kidneys are the first organ to be dfamaged by DU. At a high dose kidney uranium levels can lead to kidney failure within a few days of exposure.8 Lower doses lead to kidney dysfunction, and can lead to an increased risk of kidney disease later in life.

As a radioactive emitter, DU also presents a risk to the lungs. Traditionally, radiation dosimetry measures the extent of harm by calculating the external radiation absorbed by the tissues; the so-called 'absorbed' dose.(9)However because DU dust is inhaled or ingested, it can remain in the body tissues and emit intensive radiation over a longer period. This way it can cause a large amount of damage over a relatively small area, changing a person's genetic codes and causing cancers. For these reasons soldiers and civilians exposed to DU risk developing lung cancers, particularly if they are smokers because their lungs will already have been irritated.

There is much new evidence emerging about the risks from so-called 'low level' radiation and the damage it can do to DNA. Considerable evidence has been accumulated recently about the 'by-stander' effect, which shows that irradiated cells pass on damage to surrounding healthy cells. In this way it is thought low-level radiation can cause much greater damage than would otherwise be expected.(10) Studies have also shown that irradiated cells pass on chromosomal aberrations to their progeny so that non-irradiated cells several generations, or cell divisions later, will exhibit this radiation-induced genomic instability (RIGI).(11)

New evidence is also suggesting that the chemical toxicity of DU and its radioactivity reinforce each other in a so-called 'synergistic effect', which means it 'punches above its own weight' in terms of the damage it can do to cells. Alexandra Miller of the US Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in the USA found in a study in 2003 that when human bone cells are exposed to DU, fragments break away from the chromosomes and form tiny rings of genetic material. This damage was seen in new cells more than a month after removal of the DU, leading to an eight-fold increase in genetic damage relative to that expected.

It's not just in terms of increased risk of cancer that DU DNA damage can affect health. It is also implicated in causing a depressed immune system, reproductive problems, and birth defects. For example, a study of US Gulf War veterans has found that they are up to three times as likely to have children with birth deformities than fathers who had not served; and that pregnancies result in significantly higher rates of miscarriage.(12) A major 2004 Ministry of Defence-funded survey study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that babies whose fathers served in the first Gulf War are 50 per cent more likely to have physical abnormalities. They also found a 40 per cent increased risk of miscarriage among women whose partners served in the Gulf.

In Basra, in southern Iraq, there have been striking reports for a number of years about the rise in local childhood cancers and birth deformities seen there. The findings of a leading Iraqi epidemiologist, Dr Alim Yacoub,13 were presented in New York in June 2003 and suggest there has been a more than five fold increase in congenital malformations and a quadrupling of the incidence rates of malignant diseases in Basra.(14)

The Dutch Journal of Medical Science reported the findings of the Flemish eye doctor, Edward De Sutter. He found 20 cases out of 4000 births in Iraq of babies with the phenomenon anophthalmos: babies who have been born with only one eye or who are missing both eyes. The very rare condition usually only affects 1 out of 50 million births.

The damaging effects to health that DU weapons present are of particular concern because of the likelihood of civilians becoming exposed after conflicts have ended. Children especially are at risk because of playing in and ingesting contaminated soil and most of the health risks discussed are of particular danger to younger children.


The release of DU into the environment can pollute land and water for decades to come. Its danger is not limited to battlefield releases but will expose present and future generations of civilians to contaminated food and water supplies. Environmental releases of this sort can also be expected to have negative effects on plant and animal life although little is known about this.

DU dust in the environment can become resuspended through weather conditions and human activity, such as farming. Of particular worry is that children are especially vulnerable to receiving significant exposures through playing on sites and ingestion of contaminated soil by way of typical hand-to-mouth activity.

DU can also contaminate soil through corrosion from the original penetrator. It is believed that 70-80% of all DU penetrators used in the Gulf and the Balkans remain buried in the soil. A United Nations Environment Programme study in Spring 2002 found that recovered penetrators had decreased in mass by 10-15%. Corrosion can feed uranium into groundwater, where it can travel into local water supplies. DU in soil can also enter the food chain since it is taken up by plants grown in it and by animals used for food. A UNEP post- conflict report on Bosnia and Herzegovina has indeed found that DU had also leached into local groundwater. The same study found that radioactive hotspots persisted at some of the sites studied. Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of UNEP, said at the time, "Seven years after the conflict, DU still remains an environmental concern and, therefore, it is vital that we have the scientific facts, based upon which we can give clear recommendations on how to minimise any risk".

The British and US militaries have demonstrated extreme irresponsibility in releasing DU into the environment, using it without proper monitoring or information about the risks it poses even in their own countries. In January 2003, the US Navy admitted routinely firing DU from its Phalanx guns in prime fishing waters off the coast of Washington state since 1977. At the Dundrennan testsite in Scotland around 30 tonnes of DU rounds have been fired into the Solway Firth. Only one has ever been retrieved, when it was found in a fisherman's net.

Both governments have been equally callous in their disregard concerning the long term risk to civilians in countries where they have used DU.


DU is used in a variety of military applications. It is attractive to the military, governments and the nuclear industry for three main reasons. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, it is in cheap and plentiful supply and solves the problem of storage and monitoring. Secondly, it is a very effective battlefield weapon because its high density and self-sharpening qualities enable it to penetrate hard targets with ease. Thirdly, DU is pyrophoric, which means it burns on impact, enhancing its ability to destroy enemy targets. The UK test firing of DU began at the Eskmeals range in Cumbria in the early 1960s. Testing continues today at Dundrennan, in Southern Scotland, most recently before the 2003 attack on Iraq. DU is now used in two types of ammunition in the British armed forces: the 120 mm anti-tank rounds (CHARM 3), which is fired by the Army's Challenger tanks and 20mm rounds used by the Royal Navy's Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (a missile defence system). The Phalanx system was developed by the US Navy and is used by both the Australian and British Navies. In 1993, a leaked Pentagon report revealed how the use of DU could lead to increased cancer risks: this leak caused the US manufacturers to switch to tungsten alternatives. Because of this the Royal Navy has been forced to convert its replacement ammunition to tungsten too, although it still has stockpiles of DU.

The US military uses DU mainly for its Abrahams tanks and A10 warplanes, although it is also used in its Bradley fighting vehicles, AV-8B Harrier aircraft, Super Cobra helicopter and its Navy Phalanx system. It is also used by the US military for a variety of other applications including bombshells, tank armour plating, aircraft ballast and anti-personnel mines. Although the US and UK militaries are the only countries who have been properly documented as using DU weapons, they are known to be held by at least seventeen other countries including: Australia, Bahrain, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The testing of DU weapons has caused considerable contamination at test sites across the world. At Dundrennan, in Scotland, for example, a 2004 Ministry of Defence report revealed how, since 1982 over 90 shells had either been misfired or had malfunctioned and scattered fragments of DU across the ground. Despite searches, some of these fragments have never been recovered. Contamination levels were high in these areas, which have had to be fenced off. At Okinawa in Japan, and Vieques, an island of Puerto Rico, the US military used DU weapons without the appropriate licences and without informing their respective governments or local populations. In the US, the Army is attempting to walk away from its responsibilities to decontaminate former test sites, such as Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey and Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana.

It is now clear that the military have known the risks of depleted uranium but failed to provide safety instructions to soldiers in both the 1991 Gulf Wars and the Balkan conflicts. A study prepared for the US Army in July 1990, a month before Iraq invaded Kuwait, says: "The health risks associated with internal & external DU exposure during combat conditions are certainly far less than other combat-related risks. Following combat, however, the condition of the battlefield and the long-term health risks to natives & combat veterans may become issues in the acceptability of the continued use of DU."

Furthermore, a leaked 1993 document from the US Army Surgeon General's office said, "When soldiers inhale or ingest DU dust they incur a potential increase in cancer risk ... that increase can be quantified in terms of projected days of life loss."


The 1991 Gulf War saw the first verified use of DU weapons. Around 320 tonnes of DU in weapons were used in the war, of which about 1 tonne was used by the UK military. According to data from the US Department of Defense, tens or hundreds of thousands of US military personnel could have been exposed to DU. Both the US and UK Governments refused any responsibility for decontamination and both refused to study the exposure rates or after-effects of this DU use. After a few years, evidence began to emerge from Iraq about the increasing incidence of cancer and birth deformities in the south of the country. After heavy US lobbying in November 2001 the UN General Assembly voted down an Iraqi proposal that the UN study the effects of the DU used there.

In the 2003 attack on Iraq, the US and UK militaries used DU again despite the lack of reliable data on the effects of using it in Iraq 12 years previously. The British Government has admitted using 1.9 tonnes of DU. Even though this is only a tiny proportion of all DU used in Iraq, it is double the amount used in 1991. The US authorities have still not said how much has been used, although an initial Pentagon source revealed 75 tons of DU may remain in Iraq from A-10 planes alone.

The implications for Iraqi civilians are very alarming. Unlike the first Gulf War, which was largely confined to desert areas, much of the DU use has been in built-up, heavily populated areas. The US Government has refused any cleanup of DU in Iraq, clinging to the statement that it has no link with ill health, while the British Government has for the first time admitted it does have a responsibility but says it is low on their list of priorities.


BOSNIA 1994-1995

DU rounds were used in Bosnia by US A-20 warplanes under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Around 10,800 DU rounds, or 3 tonnes, were used in Bosnia. However NATO always denied DU had been used until 2000, 6 years after the attacks, when media reports began to emerge. For all this time no cleanups or public awareness campaigns could be run, leading to unnecessary civilian exposures. The UNEP report,1 mentioned earlier, and released in March 2003, found DU contamination of drinking water and radioactive 'hotspots'. UNEP recommended ongoing monitoring of drinking water, cleanup of DU sites, cleaning of contaminated buildings and the release by NATO of all DU-attack coordinates.


US A-10 aircraft fired around 31,300 rounds of DU, or 9 tons of DU in areas of Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro during NATO action there in 1999. Partial information about the use of DU was released a year after the war when UN Secretary General KofiAnnan sent a letter requesting the information to NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson. An analysis in a UNEP Post-Conflict field study of recovered DU shells, published in March 2001, found that some of the shells were made with recycled uranium (that is, with uranium that had been through a nuclear reactor) and were contaminated with plutonium. The study did not find widespread contamination but did find evidence of airborne movement of DU dust. It also found localised points of concentrated contamination showing U-238 at 10,000 times normal background levels. The study recommended decontamination, removal of penetrators and drinking water monitoring. A separate report published by UNEP on DU contamination in Serbia and Montenegro found "widespread, but low-level DU contamination, airborne DU particles" and that "DU dust was widely dispersed into the environment."

As well as official reports there has been widespread anecdotal evidence of so-called 'Balkans syndrome' among both soldiers deployed in the region and civilian populations. Symptoms are similar sounding to "Gulf War Syndrome" with heightened levels of leukaemia, respiratory and immune system illnesses. By mid-2004 twenty-seven Italian soldiers have died of symptoms thought to be linked to DU exposure. A court in Rome ordered the Italian Ministry of Defence to compensate the family of Stefano Melone, a soldier who died of a malignant vascular tumour. According to the court, Mr Melone's death was "due to exposure to radioactive and carcinogen substances" on missions in the Balkans.

Tension was caused within NATO as member countries were not warned that their soldiers would be entering DU contaminated zones.

AFGHANISTAN 2001- 2004

There is some evidence that DU has been used in Afghanistan, although this has never been confirmed officially. For example, US A-10s and Harrier aircraft, which both use DU ammunition, are known to have been active in the region. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that the US has found radioactivity indicating DU use by the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

Geneva Convention Rules (to which US and UK are signees)

- The limitation of unnecessary human suffering [Art.35.2]
- The limitation of damage to the environment [Art. 35.3 and 55.1]
- It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering [Art. 35.3]
- It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment. [Art. 35.2]
- In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives. [Art. 48]
- Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
(c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. [Art.51.4]
- Care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term and severe damage. This protection includes a prohibition of the use of methods or means of warfare which are intended or may be expected to cause such damage to the natural environment and thereby to prejudice the health or survival of the population. [Art. 55.1]