Leukaemia and birth defect babies in Iraq

Baby born in Iraq with birth deformities (Photo credit: Karen Robinson)

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Huge increase in leukaemia and birth defects in Iraq

THE use of depleted uranium in Iraq by the US and UK military has led to a huge increase in leukemia and birth defects in the cities of Najaf, Fallujah and Basra, according to reports from the Norwegian government and a Dutch report.

The city of Najaf saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 imperialist invasion.

Every residential street in several neighbourhoods has seen multiple cases of families whose children are either suffering from cancer or whose children have died from it.

This video says about itself:

23 July 2013

The US military’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq has led to a sharp increase in leukemia and birth defects in the city of Najaf — and panicked residents are fearing for their health. Cancer is now more common than the flu, a local doctor tells RT.

The city of Najaf saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 invasion. RT traveled to the area, quickly learning that every residential street in several neighborhoods has seen multiple cases of families whose children are ill, as well as families who have lost children, and families who have many relatives suffering from cancer.

Speaking on the rooftop of her house instead of her laboratory, Dr. Sundus Nsaif says the city has seen a “dramatic rise” in cancer and birth defects since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Nsaif said the alternative location was chosen because there is an active push by the government not to talk about the issue, perhaps in an effort not to embarrass coalition forces.

“After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf. The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases. We believe it’s because of the’ illegal’ weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans. When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu,” Nsaif told RT’s Lucy Kafanov.

The News Line article continues:

Interviewed by Russia Today (RT), Dr Sundus Nsaif says the city has seen a ‘dramatic rise’ in cancer and birth defects since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

‘After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf.
‘The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases.

‘We believe it’s because of the illegal weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans.

‘When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu.’

Leila Jabar, whose three children died because they were born with congenital deformities, told RT: ‘The war isn’t over. Yes, the Americans are gone, but we are still suffering from the consequences.’

She believes that radioactive ammunition used by American forces during the war is responsible for the health problems of her children.

Her only surviving child, an 8-months-old boy Ahmed, has a nervous system disorder and doctors don’t expect him to survive his first birthday.

Dr Chris Busby, who has extensively researched the effects of depleted uranium (DU), said the only source of uranium in Iraq was used by American-led forces.

Quoted in a Dutch report, he said: ‘We looked at the parents of children with congenital malformation and we did analysis of their hair to see what was inside their hair that might be genotoxic, that might be the sort of thing that can cause congenital malformation.

‘The only thing that we found was uranium. We found uranium in the mothers of the children with congenital malformations.’

In Fallujah, there have been extremely high rates of congenital birth defects.

At least two types of bomb that utilise DU munitions were employed against Fallujah by the imperialists in 2003.

At least 440,000kg of DU were used in Iraq, some ending up as DU dust, and some as corroding penetrators – leaving a still unknown number of sites with contaminated vehicles, buildings and soils, according to the Dutch report by the Ikv Pax Christi charity.

The report states: ‘The exposure risks to civilians from the use of DU in populated areas have been compounded by the US’s persistent refusal to release the data that could have helped facilitate the effective assessment and clearance work, providing that the Iraqi government had the capacity and finances to undertake it.

‘Aside from DU’s potential impact on physical health, it is highly likely that its use and presence in Iraq has led to heightened fear and anxiety, which in turn may have created a measurable psycho-social impact.’

Another report, funded by the Norwegian government, recently found that depleted uranium was used against civilian targets in populated areas in Iraq in 2003.

It highlights an incident in Najaf where a Bradley armoured fighting vehicle fired 305 depleted uranium rounds in a single engagement.

Dr Busby continued: ‘We know that uranium is genotoxic, that it causes these levels of genetic damage, and because of that it also causes cancer.

‘The only source of uranium was the use by the American-led forces of uranium weapons.

‘Not only depleted uranium weapons but, as we later found out, slightly enriched uranium weapons which we believe they were using in order to cover their tracks.

‘So, I think we have more or less proved that these effects are a result of the use, during the two wars, of uranium and the particles that the uranium weapons produced.’

Depleted uranium weapons are known for the ability to penetrate through walls and tanks.

One of its most dangerous side effects is that when the substance vapourises, it generates dust inhaled by individuals.

The Pentagon and the UN estimate that US and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armour-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks in Iraq in March and April, 2003, far more than the (officially) estimated 375 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War, according to a report published in Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2003.

In cities like Basra and Fallujah, where US and British forces used heavy munitions at the beginning of the war, it is believed that more than half of all babies born after the start of the war had heart defects.

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, between October 1994 and October 1995 the number of birth defects per 1,000 live births in Al Basra Maternity Hospital was 1.37.

In 2003, the number of birth defects in the same hospital was 23 per 1,000 live births.

Within less than a decade, the occurrence of congenital birth defects increased by over 1,700 per cent.

Non-government organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) have voiced concerns over the actual effects of the use of such weapons.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Iraq are expected to publish a report on this in the near future.

According to the WHO, the report will not examine the link between the prevalence of birth defects and use of depleted uranium munitions used during the war and occupation in Iraq.

WHO said in a statement: ‘Since the issue of associating congenital birth defects with exposure to depleted uranium has not been included in the scope of this particular study, establishing a link between the congenital birth defects prevalence and exposure to depleted uranium would require further research.’

Meanwhile, people in Najaf struggle to provide the necessary medical support for their children suffering from a wide range of disorders.

Some couples have said that they will not have any more children because of the chance that they will be born with several birth defects.

Report on Fallujah children: here.

Iraq war infant birth defects

This video is called Cancer Birth Defects, Depleted Uranium, 2012, Fallujah, Iraq, Europe.

By Eric London:

US munitions cause spike in Iraqi infant birth defects

27 December 2012

Though it has been nearly a decade since the beginning of the US-led invasion of Iraq, a report from the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology released in September reveals the devastating impact that the war is continuing to have on the Iraqi people—particularly Iraqi infants.

According to the study, titled “Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities,” the Iraqi cities of Basra and Fallujah are experiencing an exponential rise in birth defects, allegedly caused by the use of depleted uranium ammunition by the United States and British invasion forces.

The German-based Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology survey reported that half of the infants it surveyed who were born between 2007 and 2010 were born with a birth defect. This figure was less than 2 percent before 2000. In Basra, the southern Iraqi city and site of a massive bombing campaign undertaken at the start of the invasion in March and April 2003, the birth defect rate was 17 times higher than before the 2003 invasion.

“Some [infants] had only one eye in the forehead. Or two heads. One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey’s face. Or the girl whose legs had grown together, half fish, half human,” Basra children’s cemetery owner Askar Bin Said told Der Spiegel.

Chemist Chris Busby, the co-author of two studies on the subject, told the Guardian that Fallujah is experiencing “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.”

Hair sample studies performed in 2010 by Bulletin researchers revealed that lead levels were five times higher in Fallujah children than in other children. Mercury levels were six times higher. Diagnosed cases of hydrocephalus, or “water in the brain,” are six times higher in Basra children than in children from the United States. Basra is also experiencing the highest ever rate of spina bifida, or “open back disease.” In total, over 45 percent of pregnancies ended in miscarriage between 2004 and 2006.

Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a lead author of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told the Independent that “the massive and repeated bombardment of these cities is clearly implicated here. I have no knowledge of any alternative source of metal contamination in these areas.”

According to Dr. Savabieasfahani, there is now a “footprint of metal in the population” and “compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neuro-toxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments of Iraqi cities.”

Moreover, the data reported by the study was most likely an “underestimate,” according to Dr. Savabieasfahani, on account of many parents’ attempts to hide their children’s defects from public view.

The unprecedented health crisis facing the bombed-out targets of American imperialism is apparently the result of the use of “depleted uranium” ammunition used by the United States and British armed forces during the invasion and occupation. “DU” ammunition contains alloys or cores made of depleted uranium. The added density the uranium gives to projectiles allows bullets and shells to pierce bodies and metal with increased facility.

When the ammunition explodes or hits a target, it releases a chemical dust that is inhaled or permeates through the skin of its victim.

In other words, the advanced weaponry utilized by the US with the express goal of facilitating the destruction of Iraqi towns and cities has achieved its goal: local populations will quite literally be feeling the pain of the invasion for generations to come. Infants born even after the public “withdrawal” of invasion troops are killed as a result of the impact of the invasion on young Iraqi mothers and fathers.

“The war is to blame. The pollution. There were many bombs in our neighborhood,” said Sabra Salman, the mother of a 10 year-old child with cancer, to Der Spiegel.

Mohammad Haider, a Basra parent of a deformed child, also told Der Spiegel that he and his wife “both grew up in Basra. I hold the United States responsible. They used DU. My child isn’t an isolated case.”

Fallujah, Iraq children killed by US armed forces?

This video says about itself:

1 August 2012 by Al Jazeera English

New research is under way on the alarming increase in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, showing elevated levels of radioactivity in the city and across the country. Iraqi doctors have long reported a spike of cases involving severe birth defects in Fallujah since 2004 which are shocking in their severity. So is the US being honest about the weapons it used in the 2004 battle for the city, and in its other theatres of war? Guests: Ross Caputi, Dai Williams, Raed Jarrar.

See also here.

A new study confirms what many Iraqi doctors have been saying for years – that there is a virtual epidemic of rare congenital birth defects in cities that suffered bombing and artillery and small arms fire in the U.S.-led attacks and occupations of the country: here.

Human Dignity: A Casualty of War. Matt Southworth, Friends Committee on National Legislation: “As a bright-eyed nineteen-year-old soldier in Iraq in 2004, I was faced with a crisis of conscience. I thought I was going to Iraq to help free Iraqis, but instead I was a part of a mission to put them in a different kind of prison”: here.

In a report presented at the University of Michigan last Wednesday, “The epidemic of birth defects in Iraq and the duty of public health researchers,” Dr. Muhsin Al Sabbak, a gynecologist from Basra Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicology researcher, reviewed the ever-growing mountain of data showing that rates of cancer, child cancer and birth defects (BD) have reached historically unprecedented levels in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities since the 2003 US invasion: here.

A decade after the US military waged two barbaric sieges of Fallujah, the Iraqi city is once again the scene of a bloody armed conflict: here.

Armed clashes erupt around besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah: here.

US soldiers kill Fallujah civilians

People read the Koran as they gathered around the coffins of people killed in a raid by Iraqi and American security forces in Falluja on Wednesday

From the New York Times in the USA:

7 Civilians Killed in U.S. and Iraqi Raid


Published: September 15, 2010

BAGHDAD — Seven Iraqi civilians were killed near the western city of Falluja on Wednesday during an early morning raid conducted by American and Iraqi security forces, officials said.

A wounded man was taken to a hospital in Falluja in the aftermath of a raid by American and Iraqi security forces where seven people were killed and four injured on Wednesday.

Four of the dead were brothers between the ages of 12 and 23, according to the Iraqi police and residents of the area. The United States military in Iraq said in an e-mail Wednesday afternoon that the Iraqi military had “planned and led” the “joint counterterrorism” operation. The raid underscored the continuing presence of American service members in security operations, even after the United States declared an official end to the combat at the end of August. An American military spokesman directed inquiries to the government of Iraq.

It is not clear whether the dead were the targets of the raid or how they were killed. Four other people were wounded during the operation. …

Qasim Mohammed Abed, the governor of Anbar Province, said he had been angered by how the raid was conducted and blamed both the American and Iraqi militaries for the deaths.

“We did not know about this operation — they only informed us that there was going to be a small raid in which they would arrest someone,” he said. “We did not expect this to happen.”

Mr. Abed said he had been told by witnesses that the deaths were unjustified.

“The security forces behaved without morals,” the governor said. “They say that people there resisted them, but it is not true. No one resisted them. They just came to bring trouble to this province.”

See also here.

Two weeks after Obama proclaimed the end of the US “combat mission” in Iraq, a raid by US troops has claimed the lives of at least eight Iraqi civilians in Fallujah: here.

Specialist Neftaly Platero is being accused of shooting and killing two fellow soldiers and wounding one more. The US military says that the incident took place last Thursday after an argument broke out at Camp Fallujah in Iraq. The two men died from their injuries the next day, the third is still being treated for his wounds: here. And here.