18 October 2009

Is there an epidemic of malformed babies in Iraq?

The following excerpts come from a letter written to the United Nations General Assembly regarding neonatal problems in Fallujah, Iraq:

In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 new born babies, 24% of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75% of the dead babies were classified as deformed.

This can be compared with data from the month of August in 2002 where there were 530 new born babies of whom six were dead within the first seven days and only one birth defect was reported.

Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects but premature births have also considerably increased after 2003. But what is more alarming is that doctors in Fallujah have said, “a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage”...

We request from the United Nations General Assembly the following:

1. To acknowledge that there is a serious problem regarding the unprecedented number of birth defects and cancer cases in Iraq specifically in Fallujah, Basra, Baghdad and Al - Najaf.

2. To set up an independent committee to conduct a full investigation into the problem of the increased number of birth defects and cancers in Iraq.

3. To implement the cleaning up of toxic materials used by the occupying forces including Depleted Uranium, and White Phosphorus.

The letter has been published in the U.N. Observer and International Report (which is not a U.N. publication). The implied pathogenic substance would be depleted uranium. The neonatal data are so egregiously bad that one would think some mainstream media would have picked up on the story, but I haven't seen this reported elsewhere. It may or may not be true; we'll follow with interest...

Via Reddit, where a discussion thread has begun.

Update March 2010:  The BBC reports that Fallujah continues to see a rising number of newborns with birth defects -
They were well aware that what they said went against the government version, and we were told privately that the Iraqi authorities are anxious not to embarrass the Americans over the issue...

But it is impossible, as a visitor, not to be struck by the terrible number of cases of birth defects there...

While we were at the clinic, people kept arriving with children who were suffering major problems - a little girl with only one arm, several children who were paralysed, and another girl with a spinal condition so bad I asked my cameraman not to film her...

We went to a house where three children, all under six, were suffering from birth defects.

Two boys were partially paralysed, and their sister clearly had serious brain damage...

We went to a house where three children, all under six, were suffering from birth defects.

Two boys were partially paralysed, and their sister clearly had serious brain damage.


  1. YES! Please follow up on this.


  2. I suspect that if there is depleted uranium, which I doubt, it's left over from Sadam's weapons of mass destruction. In other words, I think their claims are specious.

  3. Barbwire, here's what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has to say -

    "In 1991, the United States and its Persian Gulf War allies blasted the vehicles with armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium -- the first time such weapons had been used in warfare -- as the Iraqis retreated from Kuwait."

    "DU shell holes in the vehicles along the Highway of Death are 1,000 times more radioactive than background radiation, according to Geiger counter readings done for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer by Dr. Khajak Vartaanian, a nuclear medicine expert from the Iraq Department of Radiation Protection in Basra, and Col. Amal Kassim of the Iraqi navy.

    The desert around the vehicles was 100 times more radioactive than background radiation..."

    And here's a quote from the Defense Department: In response to written queries, the Defense Department said, "The U.S. Military Services use DU munitions because of DU's superior lethality against armor and other hard targets."

    source: http://www.seattlepi.com/national/95178_du12.shtml

    The article goes on to discuss the teratogenicity of DU and the increasing number of deformed Iraqi babies.

    It was written in 2002...

  4. Barbwire, just Google "Depleted Uranium." There's no question the U.S. used weapons made of depleted uranium in both Gulf Wars, also in Bosnia. For awhile there early in the current Iraq War's early days, the Defense Department was busy putting out statements denying that depleted uranium had any negative effects on health (while at the same time requiring soldiers who came in contact with it to wear heavy protective gear).

    Whether we used it just isn't an issue. The Defense Department certainly hasn't denied doing so.

  5. (Anonymous above is moi.)

  6. wow, barbwire.. what a completely specious comment.

  7. I apologize for not doing my homework.

  8. I was sick, so left only a brief apology. I would like to add that I really must learn to accept that my country not only engages in torture, but is capable of attempted genocide by spent uranium. It's hard to get my head around the evil done by my country. At my age, I shouldn't be so naive.

  9. Just a technical note.. Depleted Uranium is used in armor penetrating shells, used to attack armored vehicles, such as tanks or armored personnel carriers. In normal combat, high explosive is used.

    I don't know of any armored vehicle combat in Fallujah - tanks were used, but to blast bunkers built into houses and apartment blocks. That used high explosives -- DU type rounds would not work.

    I'm also surprized that no one has done either the simple chemical test to determine if there is uranium residue contamination in Fallujah, or to test to see if there is an radioactive background increase. Any hospital which uses X-Ray machines has the capability of doing the radiactove background check, and any high school chemistry lab or equivalent can test for Uranium contamination. Postive results from such tests would be devasting, if verifable -- so it's even more surprizing that such simple tests have not been done.


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