US War Crimes: Cancer Rate in Fallujah Worse than Hiroshima

By Tom Eley

The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.

The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.

The assault on Fallujah, a city located 43 miles west of Baghdad, was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. After the population resisted the US-led occupation of Iraq—a war of neo-colonial plunder launched on the basis of lies—Washington determined to make an example of the largely Sunni city. This is called “exemplary” or “collective” punishment and is, according to the laws of war, illegal.

The new public health study of the city now all but proves what has long been suspected: that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the assault contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness.

In a study of 711 houses and 4,843 individuals carried out in January and February 2010, authors Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, Entesar Ariabi and a team of researchers found that the cancer rate had increased fourfold since before the US attack five years ago, and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.

In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

Strikingly, after 2005 the proportion of girls born in Fallujah has increased sharply. In normal populations, 1050 boys are born for every 1000 girls. But among those born in Fallujah in the four years after the US assault, the ratio was reduced to 860 boys for every 1000 female births. This alteration is similar to gender ratios found in Hiroshima after the US atomic attack of 1945.

The most likely reason for the change in the sex ratio, according to the researchers, is the impact of a major mutagenic event—likely the use of depleted uranium in US weapons. While boys have one X-chromosome, girls have a redundant X-chromosome and can therefore absorb the loss of one chromosome through genetic damage.

“This is an extraordinary and alarming result,” said Busby, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Ulster and director of scientific research for Green Audit, an independent environmental research group. “To produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened. We need urgently to find out what the agent was. Although many suspect uranium, we cannot be certain without further research and independent analysis of samples from the area.”

Busby told an Italian television news station, RAI 24, that the “extraordinary” increase in radiation-related maladies in Fallujah is higher than that found in the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the US atomic strikes of 1945. “My guess is that this was caused by depleted uranium,” he said. “They must be connected.”

The US military uses depleted uranium, also known as spent nuclear fuel, in armor-piercing shells and bullets because it is twice as dense as lead. Once these shells hit their target, however, as much as 40 percent of the uranium is released in the form of tiny particles in the area of the explosion. It can remain there for years, easily entering the human bloodstream, where it lodges itself in lymph glands and attacks the DNA produced in the sperm and eggs of affected adults, causing, in turn, serious birth defects in the next generation.

The research is the first systematic scientific substantiation of a body of evidence showing a sharp increase in infant mortality, birth defects, and cancer in Fallujah.

In October of 2009, several Iraqi and British doctors wrote a letter to the United Nations demanding an inquiry into the proliferation of radiation-related sickness in the city:

“Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias…

“In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed…

“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.’” (See: “Sharp rise in birth defects in Iraqi city destroyed by US military”)

The Pentagon responded to this report by asserting that there were no studies to prove any proliferation of deformities or other maladies associated with US military actions. “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues,” a Defense Department spokesman told the BBC in March. There have been no studies, however, in large part because Washington and its puppet Baghdad regime have blocked them.

According to the authors of “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” the Iraqi authorities attempted to scuttle their survey. “[S]hortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested,” the study reports.

The history of the atrocity committed by American imperialism against the people of Fallujah began on April 28, 2003, when US Army soldiers fired indiscriminately into a crowd of about 200 residents protesting the conversion of a local school into a US military base. Seventeen were killed in the unprovoked attack, and two days later American soldiers fired on a protest against the murders, killing two more.

This intensified popular anger, and Fallujah became a center of the Sunni resistance against the occupation—and US reprisals. On March 31, 2004, an angry crowd stopped a convoy of the private security firm Blackwater USA, responsible for its own share of war crimes. Four Blackwater mercenaries were dragged from their vehicles, beaten, burned, and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

The US military then promised it would pacify the city, with one unnamed officer saying it would be turned into “a killing field,” but Operation Vigilant Resolve, involving thousands of Marines, ended in the abandonment of the siege by the US military in May, 2004. The victory of Fallujah’s residents against overwhelming military superiority was celebrated throughout Iraq and watched all over the world.

The Pentagon delivered its response in November 2004. The city was surrounded, and all those left inside were declared to be enemy combatants and fair game for the most heavily equipped killing machine in world history. The Associated Press reported that men attempting to flee the city with their families were turned back into the slaughterhouse.

In the attack, the US made heavy use of the chemical agent white phosphorus. Ostensibly used only for illuminating battlefields, white phosphorus causes terrible and often fatal wounds, burning its way through building material and clothing before eating away skin and then bone. The chemical was also used to suck the oxygen out of buildings where civilians were hiding.

Washington’s desire for revenge against the population is indicated by the fact that the US military reported about the same number of “gunmen” killed (1,400) as those taken alive as prisoners (1,300-1,500). In one instance, NBC News captured video footage of a US soldier executing a wounded and helpless Iraqi man. A Navy investigation later found the Marine had been acting in self-defense.

Fifty-one US soldiers died in 10 days of combat. The true number of city residents who were killed is not known. The city’s population before the attack was estimated to be between 425,000 and 600,000. The current population is believed to be between 250,000 and 300,000. Tens of thousands, mostly women and children, fled in advance of the attack. Half of the city’s building were destroyed, most of these reduced to rubble.

Like much of Iraq, Fallujah remains in ruins. According to a recent report from IRIN, a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Fallujah still has no functioning sewage system six years after the attack. “Waste pours onto the streets and seeps into drinking water supplies,” the report notes. “Abdul-Sattar Kadhum al-Nawaf, director of Fallujah general hospital, said the sewage problem had taken its toll on residents’ health. They were increasingly affected by diarrhea, tuberculosis, typhoid and other communicable diseases.”

The savagery of the US assault shocked the world, and added the name Fallujah to an infamous list that includes My Lai, Sabra-Shatila, Guérnica, Nanking, Lidice, and Wounded Knee.

But unlike those other massacres, the crime against Fallujah did not end when the bullets were no longer fired or the bombs stopped falling.

The US military’s decision to heavily deploy depleted uranium, all but proven by “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” was a wanton act of brutality, poisoning an entire generation of children not yet born in 2004.

The Fallujah study is timely, with the US now preparing a major escalation of the violence in Afghanistan. The former head of US Afghanistan operations, General Stanley McChrystal, was replaced last month after a media campaign, assisted by a Rolling Stone magazine feature, accused him, among other things, of tying the hands of US soldiers in their response to Afghan insurgents.

McChrystal was replaced by General David Petraeus, formerly head of the US Central Command. Petraeus has outlined new rules of engagement designed to allow for the use of disproportionate force against suspected militants.

Petraeus, in turn, was replaced at Central Command by General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who played a key planning role in the US assault on Fallujah in 2004. Mattis revels in killing, telling a public gathering in 2005 “it’s fun to shoot some people…. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”

Presidential cancer advisors warn about environmental risks of cancer chemicals

Natural News

When a government panel of experts finds the courage to tell the truth about cancer, it’s an event so rare that it becomesCancernewsworthy. Late last week, a report from the President’s Cancer Panel (PCP) broke ranks with the sick-care cancer establishment and dared to say something that natural health advocates have been warning about for decades: That Americans are “bombarded” with cancer-causing chemicals and radiation, and if we hope to reduce cancer rates, we must eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in foods, medicines, personal care products and our work and home environments.

In a directive to President Obama, the report states, “The panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase healthcare costs, cripple our nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.”

When I first read that, I just about fell out of my chair. Government-appointed experts are really saying that there are cancer-causing chemicals in our food and water? That simple fact has been vehemently denied by the cancer industry, processed food giants, personal care product companies and of course the fluoride lobby — all of which insist their chemicals are perfectly safe.

ACS attacks the report

The American Cancer Society, not surprisingly, was quick to bash the report. The ACS is one of the sick-care cancer industry front groups that reinforces consumer ignorance about both the causes and the solutions for cancer. The ACS has, for decades, engaged in what can only be called a “cancer chemical cover-up” with its denials that environmental chemicals cause cancer. (http://www.naturalnews.com/010244_A…) and (http://www.preventcancer.com/losing…)

Even as cancer experts like Dr Sam Epstein have been warning about carcinogens in cosmetics, personal care products and foods (http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers), the ACS has ridiculously pretended such threats don’t exist. And just to top it off, the ACS has been warning people to stay away from sunlight and become more vitamin D deficient, thereby increasing cancer rates even further.

So it’s no surprise that the ACS doesn’t like this PCP report that dares to state the obvious: There are cancer-causing chemicals in our food and water! “The American people — even before they are born — are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures,” the report writes.

The great chemical denial

Joining the ACS in criticizing the report is the American Chemistry Council, the trade group representing the very same chemical companies that are poisoning our world right now. Remarkably, the ACS and ACC are on the same side here, denying any link between chemicals and cancer. They insist that all those chemicals in your processed foods, cosmetics, antibacterial soaps, shampoos, fragrance products, home cleaning solvents, pesticides, herbicides and other similar products are all safe for you! Eat up, suckers!

Don’t worry about the chemicals, they say. Cancer is just a matter of bad luck. There’s nothing you can do about it. So stop trying.

That’s their message, you see, and it’s a message that plays right into the hands of the cancer industry: Don’t prevent your cancer and when you get sick, they’ll make a fortune off your disease and suffering.

The radiation threat from medical imaging

The PCP report also takes a strong stand on the cancer risks caused by medical imaging radiation. It actually says, “People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors.

I remember receiving hate mail from cancer industry shills when I once made the same statement in an article about mammograms and CT scans. (http://www.naturalnews.com/026113_m…) And yet that statement was factually quite correct: If you undergo several medical imaging tests in a hospital today, you can very easily receive just as much radiation as a person standing a few miles away from the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshoma during World War II. This is not an exaggeration. It is a simple fact of physics and the law of inverse squares. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invers…)

The environmental dangers of pharmaceuticals

Here at NaturalNews, I’ve been talking about the environmental pollution of pharmaceuticals for years. The fact that pharmaceutical chemicals are flushed down the drain and end up in the water supply is the “dirty little secret” of the drug industry. The problem has gone virtually unrecognized by the entire mainstream medical system… they just pretend it doesn’t exist.

Yet this PCP report takes aim at it by saying: “Pharmaceuticals have become a considerable source of environmental contamination. Drugs of all types enter the water supply when they are excreted or improperly disposed of; the health impact of long-term exposure to varying mixtures of these compounds is unknown.”

It’s about time somebody in Washington stood up and challenged the pharmaceutical industry on the environmental effects of its toxic chemicals. HRT drugs, antidepressants, painkillers and many other types of drugs are right now polluting our oceans and waterways. You can hardly catch a fish near any major U.S. city now that isn’t contaminated with pharmaceuticals.

But don’t expect anyone to give credence to this warning. This entire PCP report is being largely ignored in Washington (and attacked by Big Business).

What the report really says

The President’s Cancer Panel is headed by:

LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., Chair
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery
Howard University College of Medicine
Washington, DC 20059

Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D.
Vivian L. Smith Chair and Professor Emerita
The University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 77030

These two people deserve your support for having the courage to publish a report that challenges the status quo of the corrupt cancer industry. So if you wish, send them a thank-you email for their work.

The report is entitled, “REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL CANCER RISK – What We Can Do Now”

Here are some of the highlights from the report:


• In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million American men, women, and children were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease. Approximately 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent will die from cancer. The incidence of some cancers, including some most common among children, is increasing for unexplained reasons.

• The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread. One such ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is still found in many consumer products and remains unregulated in the United States, despite the growing link between BPA and several diseases, including various cancers.

• However, the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program. The American people — even before they are born — are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.

• Some scientists maintain that current toxicity testing and exposure limit-setting methods fail to accurately represent the nature of human exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Current toxicity testing relies heavily on animal studies that utilize doses substantially higher than those likely to be encountered by humans. These data — and the exposure limits extrapolated from them — fail to take into account harmful effects that may occur only at very low doses.

• Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.

• While all Americans now carry many foreign chemicals in their bodies, women often have higher levels of many toxic and hormone-disrupting substances than do men. Some of these chemicals have been found in maternal blood, placental tissue, and breast milk samples from pregnant women and mothers who recently gave birth. Thus, chemical contaminants are being passed on to the next generation, both prenatally and during breastfeeding.

• The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals, some of which also are used in residential and commercial landscaping. Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties. Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contain nearly 900 active ingredients, many of which are toxic.

• Many of the solvents, fillers, and other chemicals listed as inert ingredients on pesticide labels also are toxic, but are not required to be tested for their potential to cause chronic diseases such as cancer. In addition to pesticides, agricultural fertilizers and veterinary pharmaceuticals are major contributors to water pollution, both directly and as a result of chemical processes that form toxic by-products when these substances enter the water supply.

• The use of cell phones and other wireless technology is of great concern, particularly since these devices are being used regularly by ever larger and younger segments of the population.

• Americans now are estimated to receive nearly half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, compared with only 15 percent in the early 1980s. The increase in medical radiation has nearly doubled the total average effective radiation dose per individual in the United States. Computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine tests alone now contribute 36 percent of the total radiation exposure and 75 percent of the medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population.

• Many referring physicians, radiology professionals, and the public are unaware of the radiation dose associated with various tests or the total radiation dose and related increased cancer risk individuals may accumulate over a lifetime. People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors.

• Hundreds of thousands of military personnel and civilians in the United States received significant radiation doses as a result of their participation in nuclear weapons testing and supporting occupations and industries, including nuclear fuel and weapons production, and uranium mining, milling, and ore transport. Hundreds of thousands more were irradiated at levels sufficient to cause cancer and other diseases.

• Numerous environmental contaminants can cross the placental barrier; to a disturbing extent, babies are born “pre-polluted.” There is a critical lack of knowledge and appreciation of environmental threats to children’s health and a severe shortage of researchers and clinicians trained in children’s environmental health.

• Single-agent toxicity testing and reliance on animal testing are inadequate to address the backlog of untested chemicals already in use and the plethora of new chemicals introduced every year.

• Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated. Enforcement of most existing regulations is poor. In virtually all cases, regulations fail to take multiple exposures and exposure interactions into account.

• Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated. Enforcement of most existing regulations is poor. In virtually all cases, regulations fail to take multiple exposures and exposure interactions into account. [Editor’s note: In other words, people should read NaturalNews! We’ve been doing this for years!]