January 17, 2008
An award winning documentary film produced for German television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn. The film exposes the use and impact ... all » of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq. The story is told by citizens of many nations. It opens with comments by two British veterans, Kenny Duncan and Jenny Moore, describing their exposure to radioactive, so-called depleted uranium (DU), weapons and the congenital abnormalities of their children. Dr. Siegwart-Horst Gunther, a former colleague of Albert Schweitzer, and Tedd Weyman of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) traveled to Iraq, from Germany and Canada respectively, to assess uranium contamination in Iraq.
"The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children" is a documentary film by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn. This new, video just released by Ochoa-Wagner Produktion in 2004 in Germany, documents uranium contamination in Iraq following aerial bombardment and armored tank assaults by U.S. and allied forces. The story is told by citizens of many nations and opens with comments by two British vets, Kenny Duncan and Jenny Moore, describing their exposure to radioactive, so-called 'depleted uranium (DU), weapons and the congenital abnormalities of their children.
Dr. Siegwart-Horst Günther, a former colleague of Albert Schweitzer, and Tedd Weyman of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) traveled to Iraq, from Germany and Canada respectively, to assess uranium contamination in Iraq. As an M.D., Dr. Günther is especially interested in the health effects that can be caused by such contamination. Dr. Jenan Hassan brought Dr. Günther and the film-makers through the Mother and Children's Hospital in Basra. Over 300 tons of uranium weapons were used by coalition forces in 1991 during Gulf War I, and some of the heaviest use was in Basra, in southern Iraq. There we glimpse an on-going health catastrophe--a ten-fold increase in cancers and a twenty-fold increase in congenital deformities. Iraqi doctors who appear in the film give greater detail on cancer statistics on-line at http://www.traprockpeace.org or http://www.uraniumweaponsconference.de The grisly realities of the cancer ward are vivid and provide an appropriate alarm that could help to stop the use of these weapons unless it is shown they will not harm civilians for generations to come.
Throughout his travels, the film shows Tedd Weyman regularly noting Geiger-counter readings and taking soil and water samples for laboratory analysis. Weyman visited a bombed television station, areas where tanks shelled buildings and vehicles, city streets and scrap yards where children played on the remains of destroyed vehicles, often forgoing the use of protective gear in order to gather samples without being stopped by authorities.
"The Doctor ..." introduces us to Dr. Axel Gerdes a geologist at the Mineralogical Institute at Goethe University at Frankfurt-am-Mien. Gerdes used mass spectrometry on behalf of UMRC to precisely analyze soil samples collected near a refreshment stand in Baghdad. He reports the concentrations of uranium dust found there to be as high as 50-60%. Such concentrations pose a tremendous hazard for inhalation of this radioactive and toxic heavy metal. U236 (a highly radioactive man-made isotope of uranium) was also detected by mass spectrometry, and was probably used in coalition weapons. The US has acknowledged that traces of U236, plutonium and other transuranics (waste products from nuclear reactors and nuclear reprocessing facilities) have contaminated American DU munitions. Analysis of urine samples collected from Iraqis showed uranium levels as high as 400 times normal. Dr. Asaf Duracovic, founder of the Uranium Medical Research Center, and formerly a Colonel in the U.S. Army, says that in years past the Canadian government wasted a million dollars on tests provided to Canadian veterans, using faulty methodology that looked for uranium in the hair, where uranium will not accumulate.
This video offers a brief chronology of Dr. Günther's life, from his early involvement in East Germany with Hitler's Youth Brigades and his participation in the resistance toward the end of WWII, to his many awards for humanitarian service. Günther speculated that German industrial research from 1973-1996 by MBB, a corporation in Bavaria, on the development of uranium weapons may be one reason that his findings are not always well-received in Germany. Günther was the victim of a hit and run accident while walking on a country road. German authorities fined him 3,000 DM for carrying a uranium bullet fragment from Iraq into Germany, even though the German government later claimed that use of these weapons in the Balkans posed no health threat to residents living in contaminated areas. Of 3500 resettled from a contaminated area there, 1112 have developed cancer.
-- A Review by Sunny Miller, Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, MA 01342 - August 10, 2004
Thanks to Marion Küpker for alerting us to this resource. She was a convener of the World Uranium Weapons Conference 2003 - http://www.uraniumweaponsconference.de
For information on how you can help veterans and civilians be tested for uranium contamination, or for links to many groups working to abolish uranium weapons see http://www.traprockpeace.org