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European Solidarity Delegation in Iraq

Around 100 people from 15 European countries and 30 Algerian university professors visited Iraq from April 13-27th on a fact finding mission. This delegation was organised by SOS Iraq, Belgium and Dutch-Iraqi-Friendship association. Along with 83 Journalists, TV crews, students and physicians, a Scottish and French veteran participated in the delegation. Both had taken part in the war on Iraq in 1991 & as a result they are affected due to the use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition. The soldiers want to come together with Iraqi veterans to exchange information about their common state of health and apologise for their participation in the war.

Dr. Al Hashimi, president of the Organisation of Friendship, Peace and Solidarity/Iraq, Minister of Health in Iraq and former Iraqi Ambassador to Germany, said “We are prepared for the worst. If the US decides to attack Iraq, they will do, no matter which international laws rule against it. They will call a reason for their attack, whether it is the truth or not does not play an important role”

Being part of the DU team, we were able to visit the children’s hospitals in Basra and Bagdad, and the teaching hospital in Bashra. We had conversations with the atomic physicist Dr. Baha Marouf and heard talks by the Minister of Health, Dr. Mubarak; Dr. Al-Azzawi of the Environment Energy Dept; Dr. Jawad Al-Ali and Dr. Abdel Abbas of the children’s hospital in Bashra; and General Abdul Wahab. Some of these people were suggested to us, others we contacted directly, and we had no problems organising independent meetings with them.

During our stay in Bashra, an independent Iraqi DU expert accompanied us to the battlefield known as the „Highway of Death“ at the Kuwaiti border. Our deep fear - to be bombarded with incorrect propaganda information by the Iraqi government - now seems to be partially unfounded. Each misunderstanding was immediately resolved, while contradictions disappeared within some honest conversations that led to a deeper understanding of the situation.

Effects of the DU ammunition in Iraq

For checking the existence of DU you have to find an increase of gamma radiation. This is an indicator that alpha is also present, but can´t be detected directly in the field. We measured radiation levels at tank impact holes as more than 200 times that of current background levels, and found similarly high readings at an oil pumping station which still had 30 millimeter ammunition lying around openly! The un-measured alpha radiation in this area must be much higher and poses a big danger through inhalation and also through direct contact, i.e. through internal and contact exposures.

The Scottish veteran Bernard McPhillips underlined how governments downplay the dangers of DU: “They fear the call for priceless compensation. Soldiers of all involved parties were directly touched by use of DU.

We have to organize an independent study with international experts in collaboration with international media ourselves. Even if I do not like to say these words, a study like this would express very well the genocidal character of these weapons, and the actual sorrow of the Iraqi population. What we have experienced in Iraq today can be seen as a preview of what will await us in Yugoslavia. The solidarity of the international community with independent doctors will in the future play a more important role than before.

Marion Küpker of Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen (GAAA),,

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From CADU News 11 : Summer 2002

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003