Author Topic: Gulf-War illness report shows DU coverup by US gov't scientists  (Read 1723 times)


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1. Gulf-War illness report shows DU coverup by US gov't scientists
    From: Wes Rehberg

1. Gulf-War illness report shows DU coverup by US gov't scientists
    Posted by: "Wes Rehberg" wildclearing
    Date: Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:41 am ((PST))

Gulf War Illness report shows cover-up by US government scientists A US
Congressional report on Gulf War illness has accused US Government
scientists of covering up key data on the impact of
depleted uranium on veterans' health.
12 December 2008 - Dave Cullen

In mid November, a committee set up by the US Congress released a
landmark report on Gulf War Illness (GWI), an event widely reported by the
media. It was considered a landmark study, as it stated categorically that
the ill effects suffered by veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War were real, and
amounted to a distinct medical condition.

The report identified two probable causes of this illness - pyridostigmine
bromide (PB) pills which were given to troops to protect them from nerve
agents, and pesticides which were liberally used to protect troops from

However, amidst all the fuss, some incredibly damning information on the
US government's response to the use of uranium weapons was completely
ignored by the media. The section on DU related a litany of irrelevant
research, obstructive and incompetent behaviour by the US government,
and confirmation that a touchstone study on veterans affected by DU
covered up an incidence of cancer in the group.

McDiarmid study
Melissa McDiarmid’s Baltimore study, which looks at the health of friendly
fire victims, many of whom have DU fragments in their bodies, drew
particular criticism. This study is frequently referred to by the UK and US
governments when they seek to defend DU, and has been repeatedly
attacked by campaigners – all of whom are vindicated by the report.

While the DoD has indicated that at least 900 veterans were involved in
incidents that could cause higher-level DU exposure, only 70 were studied in
total – and only 30 in any single follow up. The crude categories used for
medical problems and the lack of a control group in all but one of the
studies, mean that they are of little use for drawing meaningful conclusions.
It is also suggested that the studies failed to follow up significant findings,
including detectable levels of uranium in the sperm of several veterans in

Cancer cover-up
Most damming of all is the attempt to cover up the incidence of tumours in
McDiarmid’s study group. The fact that one veteran developed Hodgkin’s
lymphoma is mentioned in passing in one write-up in 1999, but omitted from
subsequent reports, and the occurrence of a non-malignant bone tumour in
another is not mentioned at all.

This was first exposed by US veteran and DU researcher Dan Fahey, and
was mentioned in his presentation during ICBUW’s workshop at the United
Nations in April 2008, but the fact that the committee confirmed it is a huge
vindication. The omission is euphemistically described as ‘puzzling’, and the
committee questioned the study director about it, who apparently replied
that: “these cases were not included because they were not believed to be
the result of DU exposure.”

Knowledge gaps
In comparison to the relatively clear evidence for PB and pesticides being a
possible cause of Gulf War illness, the information on other possible causes
is much less clear, and DU falls into this category. The report makes clear
that there are huge gaps in our knowledge concerning the use of uranium

Unlike oil well fires and possible nerve agent exposure, the US government
has not provided reports into the areas where DU was used, and the units
most likely to be affected. Although a map exists, it appears the committee
was not shown it. Instead they have to fall back on the estimates by Dan
Fahey that several hundred thousand veterans may have been exposed to

Other knowledge gaps highlighted by the committee are that most of the
models used to estimate the dangers of DU are based around the scenario
of friendly fire incidents, which are not typical of the majority of exposures,
and that self-reporting – the main source of information for studies which
track exposure to health problems – will be even less reliable as most
soldiers knew nothing about DU during deployment.

Flawed studies
The concentration in research into well understood diagnosable conditions
is singled out for particular criticism, as it is practically useless in assessing
any link between DU exposure and the collection of ill-defined symptoms
that constitute GWI. The report is particularly critical of the US Institute of
Medicine's ‘Gulf War and Health’ reports for this reason. While the report
on DU is not singled out for particular criticism, this flaw and the omission
of important research in other reports in the series lead the committee to
declare the series did not fulfil their legal requirements, and it recommends
that the government office that commissioned them should be stripped of
responsibility for future research.

Potential dangers of DU
There may have been some disagreement within the committee about the
potential dangers of DU, as they cite preliminary evidence from animal
studies of its damaging effects on the brain as “potentially of great
importance” but state that more research is required before they could
make recommendations on the basis of this evidence. They also go out of
their way to point out that health concerns about DU are much broader than
GWI, and there is scant evidence with which to judge its links with cancers
and birth defects. Indeed, it is implied that the Department for Veterans
Affairs has not released information it has on the health of veterans’

The recommendations that follow are very simple – suitably broad
epidemiological studies of veterans to establish links between DU exposure
and health outcomes, more sophisticated attempts to establish exposure
than self-reporting, and monitoring of cancer and mortality amongst
veterans thought to be active in areas where DU has been used. As this is
the kind of recommendation which a first year medical student would have
made when the DU issue came to prominence, it is hard to think of a greater
indictment of the 17 years of research since 1991.

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses: http://
Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans (7178 Kb - Format pdf)
The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses was
created by Congress in 1998, and first appointed by Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Anthony J. Principi in January, 2002. The mission of the Committee is
to make recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on
government research relating to the health consequences of military service
in the Southwest Asia theatre of operations during
the Persian Gulf War.

This document is in PDF format and can be read using Acrobat Reader.

from ICBUW

Wes Rehberg
Wild Clearing
Skype: wildclearing