A row of US Army 25mm rounds of depleted uranium ammunition, 11 February 2004, at the base of Charlie Company, 1-22 Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, in Tikrit, 180 km (110 miles) north of BaghdadInternationalIndiaAfricaExclusiveThe use of uranium ammunition pushed by the UK will cause irreversible harm to the health of the military and civilian population of Ukraine and beyond, the Russian Defense Ministry has warned. Dr Chris Busby, the scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, told Sputnik that Moscow’s fears are completely justified.Russian President Vladimir Putin has accurately identified depleted uranium (DU) munitions as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) and of indiscriminate effect, Dr Chris Busby, a physical chemist who has worked for the UK government’s uranium committee, emphasized while talking to Sputnik.
"The British and the Americans continue to cling to their crazy theory that these radioactive substances which bind to DNA are effectively harmless and have no genetic or indiscriminate effects on populations," Busby said. "In this case, I just have to say that the British are wrong, that this substance contaminates Europe and will cause all of the effects that it caused in Iraq (…) It will cause all those effects in Germany, and Luxemburg, and France, and Sweden, and the Baltic States and a long list of countries which stand between Ukraine and the United Kingdom, where we measured it."
On 21 March, UK Minister of State for Defense Annabel Goldie told British lawmakers that London would grant a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Kiev, as well as ammunition including armor-piercing rounds that contain depleted uranium. She boasted that “such rounds are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles”.
However, what she didn’t mention is that depleted uranium causes irreversible health effects previously registered among civilians in Yugoslavia and Iraq, bombed by NATO with DU weapons as well as among the military bloc’s troops.MultimediaHow the West’s Depleted Uranium Ammo Spells Death for Soldier and Civilian Alike23 March, 15:54 GMT
Dr Busby’s Research Into Iraq War’s Painful Legacy
Dr Chris Busby is an old hand at scientific research of radiation risks who personally conducted a series of studies including the one in Fallujah which came under massive attacks from DU munitions used by the US military back in 2004.
"We were concerned about the reports that were coming from Fallujah about high levels of cancer and birth defects. Since it was impossible to get official data, we decided to run a survey ourselves, in which people went around and knocked on doors and asked who lived in the property, how many people were there, and how many cancers there were, what sort of cancers, how many children had died in the past five years and all these sort of questions," Busby recalled.
"I've already studied the health effects of the Hiroshima bombing, which are quite well recorded," the scientist continued. "And what we found was that the levels of cancer in Fallujah were higher than that. And the particular cancers that we found were cancers associated with radiation: these were leukemia – particularly leukemia in children – and also lymphoma in children. And that's another disease that you get from radiation, or we believe so. We found out the high level of infant mortality within the first year of life and the cause of these deaths were congenital malformations. We also find out a skewed birth:sex ratio, which is another sign of genetic damage associated with radiation exposure."
When the scientists brought all those results together, they came to the conclusion that there had been some very large genetic damage event which occurred about the time of the Fallujah attacks.AnalysisKiev’s Use of Depleted Uranium Ammo May Cause Health Problems Akin to Yugoslavia and Iraq21 March, 15:01 GMT
Fallujah Case: Link Found Between DU and Congenital Malformations
Busby and his team suspected that the primary cause of those congenital malformations in Fallujah was DU. The scientist served on the DU committee of the British Ministry of Defense, and he had dealt with lots of reports of ill health associated with serving in the Gulf War by British soldiers.
"I gave evidence on this to the American Congressional Committee on DU and they put me on the board of the Ministry of Defense looking into this sphere," he said. "And because of that, from about 1999 onwards, I was increasingly interested in how it was that uranium, which is a not terribly radioactive substance, could be causing Gulf War syndrome and all the congenital malformation effects that were slowly emerging in the British soldiers and also in the American soldiers."
"So we can get a graph of the uranium in the hair going right the way back to about 2005. And what we found is that the uranium went up the further back in time we went. So clearly there was an increase in uranium round about the time just after Fallujah battle, which then fell as time went on, obviously because it got out of the system. So we had proof – more or less – that uranium was the cause of all of these congenital malformations, genetic damage, sex ratio and extraordinarily high level of cancer," the physical chemist underscored.
DU is a by-product of the enrichment process. It is considered to be less radioactive than natural uranium. But still, even in its weakened form, this substance is very radioactive, the scientist stressed. But that is not all:
"The most important thing about it is that uranium for a long time has been known to bind very strongly to DNA," explained Busby. "Now, DNA is the target for all radiation effects. If you're looking at the reason radiation causes genetic damage and cancer, it's been well-accepted since the Fifties, since the discovery of DNA in 1952, that the DNA is the target for all the genetic effects. Uranium binds to it very strongly, as it has a strong chemical affinity for DNA. This fact has been known for a very long time (…) Now, if uranium is radioactive and it attacks the chromosomes, clearly it's going to be much more dangerous than some kind of neutral substance that you drink and then goes out of your body. It's a calcium seeker and it binds to DNA. So that's the first thing."
Busby highlighted that neither the US nor the British governments had listened to the results of the scientific research in Fallujah.
"I've been on two British government committees relating to radiation, and they really don't like anything that I say," he stressed. "Once I was asked to be an expert in a coroner's jury, about a Gulf War veteran, Mr Dyson, who died of colon cancer. He fought in the first Gulf War and he developed colon cancer and died. And so the coroner, whose job is to decide why he died, called a jury for certain people to come in and listen to these arguments. The Ministry of Defense sent a representative to argue that uranium was harmless and couldn't have caused his cancer. I brought in my evidence and they brought in their evidence. And the jury found totally for what I said, that the colon cancer in this man, Stewart Dyson, was caused by the uranium."
He noted that instead of considering DU munitions as WMD – which it is – the US and UK military see it as a wonder weapon that helps them effectively blast the adversary’s armored vehicles and they don’t really care about civilians dying as a result, the collateral damage. Likewise, the American and British governments remain in denial about the disastrous effects of DU weapons and potential negative consequences for nations far beyond the Ukraine conflict zone.”Democracy is run on the basis of truth, on the basis of perfect knowledge. If people in a democracy have perfect knowledge that something that our government is doing that is killing them, then they ought to get another government. Quickly,” Busby concluded.