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CADU NEWS 21
Claim Birth Defects Rising Across Southern & Central Iraq
Wallace Would Have Been Proud: Genuine Democracy Greets
Brussels Conference Report:For A Ban On Uranium Weapons
Need Your Help - New Research Projects Planned
Claim Birth Defects Rising Across Southern & Central Iraq
In the wake of the 2003 attacks
on Iraq, the anticipated rise in birth defects has begun, according to
IRIN News. After analysing records from public hospitals around the country,
researchers from Baghdad University have shown that the long-documented
rise in deformities in the southern region of the country has spread to
the capital, Baghdad.
According to Dr Nawar Ali,
at the University of Baghdad, who works in the newborn babies research
department: There have been 650 cases in total since August 2003
reported in government hospitals - that is a 20 percent increase from
the previous regime. Private hospitals were not included in the study,
so the number could be higher, he said.
Dr Ali blamed the rise on polluted
groundwater, contaminated with radiation from depleted uranium used in
the two Gulf Wars. Other health professionals in Iraq share Alis
opinion. In my experiments we have found some cases where the mother
or father were suffering from pollution from weapons used in the south
and we believe that it is affecting newborn babies in the country,
said Dr Ibraheem al-Jabouri, a scientist at Baghdad University.
The type of deformities found
in newborn babies are characterised by multiple fingers, unusually large
heads, unilateral lips or no arms or legs. High levels of birth malformations
have been reported from the southern region of Iraq since the mid-Nineties,
but this is the first report of similar conditions spreading to the capital.
Following the first Gulf War, Basra was particularly badly hit; now the
phenomenon is moving north from Najaf to Baghdad.
Other contributory factors
have been looked at. Dr Lamiaa Amran, a paediatrician at the Iraqi
Red Crescent Society (IRCS) hospital in the capital, told IRIN that inter-marriages
were also to blame and that some cases of deformed babies were from poor
families in the southern region. Most of the women who have deformed
babies in our hospital are married to relatives and have no idea that
a common blood factor can also cause such problems, said Amran.
The IRCS hospital sees at least four cases of deformities every week.
During April, 15 cases were reported, according to the hospital spokesman,
a number considered high for a short period of time.
However, Amran added that 60
percent of the cases were not related to blood factors, but due to other
causes. She explained that after studying family history of couples with
deformed babies, they concluded that radiation and pollution were the
main causes of the deformity.
But most of the cases reported
do not survive for more than a week, doctors said. Nearly 90 percent of
such cases at the Central Teaching Hospital for Paediatrics in Baghdad
do not survive, according to Wathiq Ibrahim, director of the hospital.
Fatima Hussein, a 34-year-old
patient at the hospital, told reporters: My two children were born
with deformities and today I had my third one with the same problem. The
doctors say pollution is the cause and now my husband wants to divorce
me claiming that I am not capable of bringing healthy children into the
Health officials have asked
the Iraqi Government to begin an urgent study into the problem.
Would Have Been Proud: Genuine Democracy Greets The G8
In the shadow of Stirlings
Wallace monument, a hugely diverse crowd of activists, anarchists, anti-capitalists,
children and clowns had assembled to show the leaders of the G8 that people
are no longer content to swallow their neoliberal agendas, backed up with
CADUs week had started
with an appearance at Faslane naval base, home to the UKs Trident
missile arsenal. Early on Monday morning 1500 protestors encircled the
base, blocking all five gates. Activists locked-on, spread their picnic
blankets and got comfortable for a day in the sunshine. The 2000 overdressed
police officers resigned themselves to a somewhat more uncomfortable and
sweaty day as the sun broke through the clouds.
The atmosphere remained unashamedly
joyous all day, thanks in no small part to the heroic efforts of several
soundsystems including the Brighton Cyclists and Rinkydink, although Mungos
Hifi from Edinburgh won a special place in peoples hearts thanks
to their day-long dub reggae soundtrack at the South Gate. They were the
perfect soundtrack for the carnival atmosphere.
Only four arrests were made,
and all for the enterprising souls who attempted to sneak over the perimeter
fence. Of particular note was the gentleman who spent all day perched
on top of the razor wire, refusing to come down into the arms of Her Majestys
Shortly after 4pm, a consensus
was reached that our work was completed and we had no wish to further
antagonise the polis, the music was switched off, everybody
unlocked, the music came on again, and everybody had a dance in the afternoon
sunshine before drifting off to the coaches.
Thanks to everyone at the peace
camp for their friendliness and spirit and keep up the good work.
On Tuesday, CADU headed off
to Stirling to the Hori-Zone Eco-Camp. The Dissent Network had done a
brilliant job of throwing together a temporary camp for 3000 plus people.
Despite the reports in the
media about a gathering of dangerous anarchists the vast majority
of people present were committed to peacefully exercising their democratic
rights. Indeed as the week progressed, the most successful actions were
those that fought fire with fluff. The Kids Blockade being a case in point.
Never before have riot police looked quite as ridiculous as they did that
day, suited and booted against the dangerously unpredictable under-fives.
And of course, no G8 report
would be complete without a mention of CIRCA - the Clandestine Insurgent
Rebel Clown Army, they truly are the new darlings of the activist community.
They were incredibly effective in defusing difficult situations with good-natured
mockery and foolishness.
So why were CADU present? We
believe that the link between high seas capitalism and militarism
is as fundamental as the link between civilian nuclear power generation
and DU. Without the use of, or threat of force, G8 nations would find
it much harder to force open markets in the majority world. Would Iraq
have been invaded if it had no oil reserves? Unlikely. Proving once again
that there is no such thing as a single issue pressure group.
And then came 7/7. Shocking
as the events were, what became more shocking as the days went on was
the perceived value of human life in the media. Where 50 dead in London
are worth hundreds of column inches, yet the tedious day-to-day carnage
in Iraq barely elicits a whimper. That is not to belittle the horror inflicted
on innocent commuters in London, but if we are ever to have global equality,
all lives must be equally valued and all deaths equally mourned.
Conference Report: For A Ban On Uranium Weapons
The June conference was the
first annual meeting of ICBUW. They called on EU states not only to implement
their 2003 moratorium on the use of DU weapons, but also to seek a global
ban on them.
It was sponsored by the Intergroup
for Peace Initiatives of the European Parliament and attended by MEPs
and NGO representatives from Japan, the US, Canada and many EU countries.
Several speakers discussed
the health effects that follow the use of DU weapons. Dr Jawad Kadhim
Hassan Al-Ali, Head of the Sadr Teaching Hospital in Basra, Iraq, gave
compelling new evidence of the devastating increases in the incidence
of cancers, other virulent diseases and birth malformations in areas where
DU had been used. No full epidemiological survey has been done in Iraq
yet, though all the evidence indicates a direct link with DU. Dr. Al-Ali
issued a moving appeal for funding to enable him to conduct one.
The former Head of the Radiation
Protection Division of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Keith Baverstock,
discussed the way DU was able to cause genetic damage to the body. The
damage was due not only to the radiation that DU particles emit when lodged
in tissue but also to the chemically toxic nature of DU, with a potential
for synergy between the two. A third route to health risk comes from the
bystander effect, when cells contiguous to one hit by radiation
behave as if they too had been irradiated.
He accused the International
Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) and the IAEA, the International
Atomic Energy Agency, of deliberately ignoring the scientifically proven
health effects of DU and called on them to use the precautionary principle.
He made an impassioned plea for truly independent scientific research,
which had been sacrificed for political expediency.
Dr Toshi Inoshita from the Japan Medical Network, Gretel Munroe from Grassroots
Actions for Peace and Dr Katsumi Furitsu of the Campaign Against Radiation
Exposure gave reports into the evidence they had amassed on damage to
both Iraqi civilians and US veterans exposed to DU dust. Their activities
are not limited to research however, and the groups are variously active
in campaigning on the issue, educating people about the dangers of DU,
political lobbying and seeking to provide medical aid for Iraqis.
Avril McDonald from the Asser
Institute gave an excellent paper on why, with the wealth of international
humanitarian law (IHL) that would seem to make DU already illegal, we
should be seeking a treaty to ban uranium weapons. The body of international
humanitarian law is only relevant whilst conflict is on-going and therefore
cannot be used in a pre- or post- conflict situation. There were existing
laws that could provide some redress but their usefulness was often undermined
by the clause of military necessity.
Some principles of IHL, such
as the obligation to discriminate between civil and military targets,
could never be justified by military necessity, but this principle
concerns only the primary effects of a weapon whereas DU weapons are not
designed to have chemical or radiological toxicity as their prime purpose.
There was a range of other
excellent interventions. These included a report on the campaign to stop
banks investing in DU arms manufacturers, a call to include the chemical
toxicity of DU in our campaigning, a call to make links with low level
radiation and nuclear power campaigners and calls to question our politicians
on whether they have the right to contaminate a country forever.
At the ICBUW board meeting,
two main priorities were agreed: the submission of the Draft treaty to
the appropriate UN bodies and, later this year, the support for an epidemiological
study in Iraq. The study is to be conducted by Dr Al-Ali, consultant at
the Basra Teaching Hospital.
A complete report will soon
be available on the ICBUW website. It was good to have the support of
the European Parliament to air this issue and the welcome motivating contributions
of several MEPs.
The organisers should be congratulated
on the quality of all the interventions made: they provided both food
for thought and inspiration for action.
Over five days, separate juries
found two groups of anti-war activists not-guilty of trespass
last December. This is the fourth time that Minnesota juries have agreed
with peace activists in the state. Activists who had refused to leave
the premises of one of the worlds largest arms manufacturers - Alliant
Senior staff, denying the protesters
a meeting, had the activists arrested after they refused to leave the
site of the $2.4Bn weapons giant. ATK, as it is known to its friends,
is one of the USs foremost producers of DU weapons. But wait, not
content with manufacturing radiologically and chemically toxic shells,
ATK is also famed for its land mines, cluster bombs and rocket motors
just like momma used to make no doubt. As such, it has been the
target of relentless protests for more than nine years.
Along with an identical acquittal
in October 2003, and a similar one in 1997, the politically charged trials
have vindicated a total of 106 people. The 1997 group - 79 protesters
in all - won a not guilty verdict after showing that the outlaw
status of landmines excused what otherwise appears to be trespassing.
Last January and May, three other groups of alleged trespassers had their
charges dropped just prior to trial. Another group of 34 civil resistors
arrested on March 14th had charges dismissed on a technicality. The
December acquittals turned the tables on ordinary trespass
allegations and put ATK (a Honeywell Corporation spin-off) in the hot
Three of the defendants in
the Dec. 14 acquittal had visited Iraq themselves and had seen firsthand
the consequences of using nuclear waste as a weapon of war. They testified
as eye witnesses to the documented increases in cancer and leukaemia in
southern Iraq that have occurred since 1991. The six-person jury in the
most recent case, and in similar trials on the 10th December 2004, and
18th October 2003, decided that the defendants argument is reasonable
even if technically mistaken. As the judge told the jury,
If the defendants acted in good faith under claim of right, even
if reasonably mistaken as to this right, you must find the defendants
They testified that weapons
being made with radioactive waste are illegal and that international law
provided them with a legitimate claim of right in acting to
prevent war crimes.
As the group explained in their closing argument at trial, In a
nutshell, the law says: It is forbidden to use poison or poisoned weapons;
to use weapons that do severe, long-term damage to the environment; to
use weapons that cannot distinguish between civilians and soldiers, or
to use materials or devices that are similar to gas; the planning or preparation
of wars that would violate binding treaties is itself a crime; individuals
are personally responsible for their participation in these crimes
which is to say that we must all avoid such participation, said
John LaForge of Nukewatch. To date, four ordinary juries have
recognized the citizens right to nonviolent obstinacy in the face
of official wrongdoing. In the case of refusing to leave ATKs dirty
bomb headquarters until we were granted a meeting, we merely attempted
an act of crime prevention.
CADUs Rae Street was
in Hiroshima for the World Conference Against the A and H Bombs, it was
a useful opportunity for her to meet with our Japanese ICBUW members.
The NODU Hiroshima
Project met on the afternoon of the 6th August with about 80 people in
the audience from different regions throughout Japan. But at all the meetings
I attended, there were questions about DU munitions and strong support
for working on a ban. Radiological weapons have a strong resonance in
a country where so many suffered so deeply from those fateful explosions
60 years ago. At the international meetings, anti-nuclear activists were
keen to link up with, for example, uranium mining areas in Australia and
with those who have suffered from the affects of uranium mining in the
past. For example, native Americans such as the Navajo from New Mexico.
U.S. Navy contract documents,
detailing U.S. Government payments of $1,699,830.00 to a public relations
firm known as The Rendon Group have been uncovered by Judicial Watch.
Their purpose? Influencing the outcome of a public referendum held on
The 2001 referendum concerned
the proposed closure of the Vieques Bombing Range. The U.S. Navy
sought to continue using the range for live-fire combat training. Tasks
for The Rendon Group included: ...organise local leaders to build
grassroots communications support...ensure the integrity of the voting
process...and develop methods and tracking procedures to increase support
Opponents of the Navy garnered
68 percent of the vote, which drew 80.6 percent of the islands 5,893
registered voters. The Navy spent approximately $358 per referendum
voter in their failed
bid to continue using the range. In
February 2003 the Navy ceased operations at the Vieques range and moved
operations to Florida and elsewhere in the United States.
The Rendon Group is a self-described
global strategic communications consultancy that has been
paid more than $40 million by the U.S. Defense Department since 9/11.
Media reports have also tied The Rendon Group to a Pentagon funded Internet
site called Empower Peace, targeting American school age children,
teachers and schools in what purports to be a grassroots peace
Judicial Watch was forced to
file a FOIA lawsuit against the Defense Department on February 25, 2005,
following 11 months of stonewalling by the Government over a lawful open
records request concerning The Rendon Groups involvement in U.S.
Government funded information operations and perception
A uranium rush is triggering
the reactivation of dozens of uranium mines worldwide after China and
India pledged to boost their nuclear power sectors in the face of global
warming. In Australia, the federal government has wrested control of the
Northern Territorys US$9.2Bn deposits from the states Labour
government, who had imposed a moratorium on uranium mining.
This morning in our meeting
with the NT resources minister it was made clear by the territory government
that they were abdicating their part of decision-making on uranium mining,
MacFarlane told reporters in the northern capital, Darwin. The
federal government would now assume responsibility for the approval of
uranium mines, he said.
MacFarlane said the government
was taking control for the good of the territory and resources
industry. We cant allow this confusion to continue. This no-uranium
policy is a nonsensical policy. The Northern Territory is open for business
on uranium mining.
About a dozen companies are
currently exploring for uranium in the resource-rich territory. Currently,
the only operating mine is Rio Tintos Energy Resources of Australia
mine at Ranger, which is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park. French
nuclear power company Cogema is lobbying its aboriginal owners in a bid
to mine the multi-million dollar, 14,000-tonne Koongarra deposit in the
World Heritage-listed park.
Macfarlane said he shared the local governments unease about the
Koongarra deposit but would consider all applications. He said no mining
would be approved unless it had the full support of the indigenous
owners of the area where the mine is proposed.
Australia currently has just
three working uranium mines BHP Billitons Olympic Dam and
Heathgate Resources Beverley mine in South Australia and the Ranger
Uranium prices have been rising
steadily in recent years, to around 29 dollars per pound from nearly 10
dollars a pound four years ago.
Need Your Help - New Research Projects Planned
CADU are extremely pleased
to report that we have two fundraising projects planned for the next few
months. The first is a study into Iraqi childrens exposure to DU.
This could give the movement some powerful and compelling scientific evidence
to support a global ban on DU production and use. The second is an epidemiological
project in southern Iraq, sponsored by the International Coalition, full
details in the next issue...
The Iraqi Children's Tooth
Following the use of depleted
uranium munitions in the Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, many populated areas
of Iraq became contaminated with fine uranium oxide dusts that are readily
Despite continued reports of
substantial increases in cancer and birth defects there are virtually
no data on the extent to which Iraqi civilians have sustained internal
Everyone has trace levels of
uranium in their body, the majority of which is stored in the bones and
teeth. Consequently, the primary or deciduous teeth that children normally
lose between ages six and 12 represent valuable biologic specimens that
can be used to study a childs uranium burden.
In total, 52 teeth from northern,
central and southern Iraq have been collected. these will be analysed
alongside 16 North American archaeological teeth from
the 1940s - prior to the nuclear age.
The analysis will be done in
the British Geological Surveys state-of-the-art laboratories in
Nottingham, England. Professor of Geological Chemistry, Randall Parrish
Ph.D from the BGS will use multi-collector, inductively coupled plasma
mass spectrometry (MC ICP MS) to analyse the teeth for their content of
four uranium isotopes. The varying proportions of these will indicate
the type of uranium the children have been exposed to.
Professor Parrish will be working
alongside Dr Thomas Fasy from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New
The project needs $87,000 to
complete the study because each tooth costs $1000 to analyse. It is hoped
that much of it can be raised in the US, but as co-sponsors of the project
CADU will do its utmost to ensure that the figure is met. We are looking
for groups that might want to sponsor a tooth. Think you could? Then get
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