Australian Gulf War
Australian service personnel who served in the
Gulf during 1991 have tested positive for uranium
contamination. The Uranium Medical Research Centre
(UMRC) in Canada, working in conjunction with DUSK
Australia (Depleted Uranium Silent Killer) has tested
a representative from the Australian Navy and a
representative from the Australian Army. The uranium
isotope analysis on their urine was carried out
at the J.W. Goethe University in Germany and confirms
depleted uranium contamination.
To date, the Australian Government has not acknowledged
the possibility that Australian service personnel
could be contaminated with uranium. However, scientific
research reveals that Iraq is highly contaminated
with the radioactive fallout from depleted uranium
weapons. The positive tests of these Australian
veterans, reveals that they are still excreting
uranium through their kidneys, fifteen years after
their return from Gulf War 1.
The Australian veterans in this test case are ill.
They exhibit multiple health problems from their
exposure to radiological warfare. Their intimate
partners suffer health problems and so do their
children. The contamination of Iraq has resulted
in an explosion of cancer, leukaemia and birth defects
among the local civilian population.
Depleted uranium is highly toxic and radioactive
waste. It is a by- product of the enrichment process
that prepares uranium for use in nuclear reactors
and nuclear weapons. This radioactive waste is denser
and heavier than lead. It is manufactured into bunker
busters that can penetrate deep into the earth and
into the most powerful anti tank weapons available
in the arms market today.
The Australian debate about embracing nuclear power
technology, has omitted the inextricable link between
uranium mining and uranium weapons. The proliferation
of nuclear weapons causes concern, but depleted
uranium weapons, are used daily in conflicts across
the world. The nuclear industry exists on the understanding
that radioactive contamination is safely contained
within nuclear facilities. The ethics of recycling
radioactive waste into weapons and shooting it into
another countries’ backyard is missing from
this debate. When depleted uranium weapons are fired,
they immediately flare off uranium particles that
can be ingested and inhaled. They lodge in the lung
and other organs, irradiating the victim from the
There are repercussions for all Australians now
that Australian service personnel have tested positive
for uranium contamination. The Uranium Medical Research
Centre is concerned about blood products and organ
donations from persons known or suspected to be
exposed to depleted uranium.
Uranium weapons are illegal. They fail the four
rules derived from the whole of humanitarian law
1. Weapons may only be used in the legal field
2. Weapons can only be used for the duration of
the armed conflict.
3. Weapons must not be unduly inhumane
4. Weapons may not have an unduly negative effect
on the natural environment.
Depleted uranium is radioactive for 4.5 billion
Therefore, uranium weapons cannot be contained
on the legal battlefield, nor within the timeframe
of the battle. The birth defects exhibited by babies
born after the conflict and the explosion of cancers
afflicting civilians is evidence of the inhumanity
of these weapons. The radioactive particles will
drift across countries and around the world, contaminating
air, water, soil and all life forms.
Australians are at risk at home. The Senate Hansard
reveals that we have imported from the United States
34,000 depleted uranium weapons. The Australian
Navy has used these weapons in training off the
Australian coast. There are no records available
to the public to identify ‘when or where’
these weapons were expended. Wind patterns at the
time of the training exercises would reveal communities
at risk of contamination.
In 2003 the Australian Government opened up all
of our defence training areas to the United States.
There is ship to shore and air to ground bombing
near Perth in Western Australia at the Lancelin
Defence Training Area. In January 2006 the United
States began flying in from Guam for regular bombing
of the Northern Territory. This occurs just west
of Katherine at the Delemere bombing range. The
Shoalwater Bay defence training area in Queensland
includes a section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park. It will host the largest joint Australian
US military training exercise in June, Talisman
The Australian Government is adamant that no uranium
weapons are being used, however no testing of water
and soil is being done to reassure the public that
uranium weapons have not and will not be used. The
Australian Defence Force has purchased the M1A1
tank that is shielded in depleted uranium. The patent
of the Hellfire 11 missile reveals a “dense
metal” warhead of tungsten or uranium alloy.
It is being imported from the United States for
use with the Australian Tiger Helicopter, currently
being manufactured in Brisbane.
As a result of the uranium contamination of Australian
Army and Navy personnel, it is time for Australia
to rethink the export of uranium. Government safeguards
assuring us that Australian uranium is only used
for ‘peaceful’ purposes are simply an
illusion of protection. Once our uranium is exported,
it can be mixed with uranium from other countries.
In the gaseous diffusion that separates enriched
and depleted uranium, it is not possible to isolate
Australia’s uranium. We export uranium to
the United States, the world’s largest manufacturer
and exporter of arms.
Estimates reveal that up to 800 tons of radioactive
waste (depleted uranium) was dumped on Iraq during
Gulf War 1. There is an estimate of about 1,100
tons used in Gulf War 2 and the bombing continues.
How many Australian service personnel are contaminated?
How will this affect the Australian civilian population?
It is time to take seriously the undiagnosed illnesses
of Australian Gulf War veterans who have been deployed
to a radioactive theatre of war.
It is time to address the sickness of their partners
and their children.
It is time to look carefully at what is happening
on Australia’s defence training areas.
From uranium mines to uranium weapons: Has Australia’s
uranium unleashed a public health catastrophe?
DUSK/ UMRC project to test Australian veterans for
DUSK (Depleted Uranium Silent Killer) Australia
UMRC (Uranium Medical Research Centre) Canada www.umrc.net
“Your Future with Depleted Uranium”