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Leaked US files show how uranium weapons have caused problems for EOD teams

The Iraqi War Logs, recently released on the Wikileaks website, show that the presence in Iraq of munitions containing DU causes difficulties for US troops.
2 November 2010 - ICBUW

Wikileaks Logo Documents show that uranium weapons are complicating explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) efforts by US troops, and suspected DU is cited in several false alarms. There is also a case of an hoax improvised explosive device (IED) being constructed with a round containing DU, and of trucks carrying radioactive scrap being intercepted near the border with Turkey. As Iraq did not possess uranium weapons prior to 2003, it must be assumed that for all the incidents involving uranium weapons, these weapons were brought into the country by either US or UK forces.

The released information is comprised of over 390,000 US military field reports from 2004 to 2009, and follows the release of similar documents related to the war in Afghanistan. ICBUW has investigated both sets of documents for evidence of the use of uranium weapons. However each report covers a single incident which might be of interest to military superiors, and only contains details which might be noteworthy for such an audience. Information such as the type of ammunition fired is generally not included.

After the release of the Afghanistan documents, there were claims that information could have endangered US informants, however the pentagon has been forced to concede that there is no evidence that this has actually occurred. However, in response to this criticism Wikileaks have heavily redacted information from the Iraqi documents. Unfortunately, the way this has been done is rather erratic, and unobjectionable information, such as the calibre of rounds, has also been removed.

However, information that can be gleaned from the Iraqi documents show the effect that the presence of uranium weapons has had on coalition operations. In several instances, the work of EOD teams has been complicated by the suspected presence of DU. In some cases this appears to have been abandoned or unexploded uranium weapons left by coalition forces.

However, other reports show the alarm that suspected DU can cause US troops. At an incident between Ramadi and Fallujah in 2005, it was suspected that a rocket fired at US troops may have contained DU, and the area was cleared (see below for the report). In 2006, soldiers who were disarming an IED in a market north of Baghdad found a substance they suspected to be DU, and had to call for a more experienced EOD team – the substance was found to be home made explosive.

Another report suggests that insurgents may be using concerns about DU to their advantage. A 2008 incident involved a fake IED incorporating a uranium weapons round north of Tikrit. The round was passed on to an EOD team, but analysis in the report suggests that purpose of the hoax device may have been to lure an EOD team to the area. The team, who would be considered a high value target by insurgents because of their skills, would then be targeted by a real device.

An incident in 2004 highlights another well known concern about the use of uranium weapons – that contaminated metal from targeted vehicles may find its way into the commercial scrap trade. Several trucks that were apparently crossing into Turkey had high levels of radioactivity. Although the report does not indicate what radioactive materials were on the trucks, several scrap yards were investigated as the possible source. A copy of this report is detailed below.

Taken together, these incidents clearly show that the use of uranium weapons by the US and UK were not just a matter of concern for civilians and the Iraqi authorities, but have presented also difficulties for their own side. It also seems clear that, despite their attempts to imply that there is no health risk from DU, this propaganda is not even believed by their own troops on the ground.

Iraqi War Logs - 2005-309-012351-0399
IDF ATTK ON -___ AR IVO : ___ INJ/DAMAGE
2005-11-04 11:42:00


AT 1742C, -___ REPORTS THAT (___) ROUND OF IDF IMPACTED IVO GRID ( ___). THE IMPACT LOCATION WAS OBSERVED BY ECP-___, OP-___ AND OP-___. ROUGH RIDERS ___ WHERE DISPATCHED TO THE AREA TO CONDUCT A SEARCH. PANTHER FIRE SUPPORT ELEMENT (___) FROM CAMP ___ REPORTED THAT AN OP FROM ___ ENGINEERS IVO ( ___) WITNESSED A LAUNCH IVO ( ___), AT AN ___ OF ___ DEG. PANTHER ALSO REPORTED THAT THIS COULD BE A ___ ROCKET WITH DEPLETED URANIUM ___. WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF HAZARDOUS MATERIAL AND DARKNESS, THE ROUGH RIDERS WHERE PULLED BACK OUTSIDE THE AREA. THE ROUGH RIDERS ___ SEARCH FOR THE POI IN THE MORNING. AFTER CONTACTING CAPTAIN ___ AT ___ ENGINEERS, THIS POI WAS DISCUSSED AS ONE PREVIOUSLY USED; HOWEVER, NO IDENTIFICATION OF THE SPECIFIC TYPE OF ROCKET COULD BE DETERMINED FOR THIS ATTACK. THE SITUATION ___ DEVELOP VIA INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE /___ INFANTRY AND THE ___ ENGINEERS. COUNTER BATTERY RADAR DID NOT ACQUIRE THIS IDF AND PANTHER ___ DID NOT HAVE A COUNTER BATTERY FIRE MISSION AT THE TIME OF IMPACT. UPDATE TO FOLLOW.

UPDATE # - ___ ENGINEERS HAS REVISED THE POO GRID AS ( ___). ALSO, A WHITE ___ TRUCK WITH RAILS WAS SPOTTED IN THE AREA AT THE TIME OF LAUNCH. THIS TYPE OF VEHICLE HAD BEEN OBSERVED IN THE PAST, VIA UAV, AS A ROCKET LAUNCH PLATFORM.

UPDATE # , --___ QRF ELEMENT SWEPT POSSIBLE IMPACT AREA WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS.

AT 1742C, -___ REPORTS THAT (___) ROUND OF IDF IMPACTED IVO GRID ( ___). THE IMPACT LOCATION WAS OBSERVED BY ECP-___, OP-___ AND OP-___. ROUGH RIDERS ___ WHERE DISPATCHED TO THE AREA TO CONDUCT A SEARCH. PANTHER FIRE SUPPORT ELEMENT (___) FROM CAMP ___ REPORTED THAT AN OP FROM ___ ENGINEERS IVO ( ___) WITNESSED A LAUNCH IVO ( ___), AT AN ___ OF ___ DEG. PANTHER ALSO REPORTED THAT THIS COULD BE A ___ ROCKET WITH DEPLETED URANIUM ___. WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF HAZARDOUS MATERIAL AND DARKNESS, THE ROUGH RIDERS WHERE PULLED BACK OUTSIDE THE AREA. THE ROUGH RIDERS ___ SEARCH FOR THE POI IN THE MORNING. AFTER CONTACTING CAPTAIN ___ AT ___ ENGINEERS, THIS POI WAS DISCUSSED AS ONE PREVIOUSLY USED; HOWEVER, NO IDENTIFICATION OF THE SPECIFIC TYPE OF ROCKET COULD BE DETERMINED FOR THIS ATTACK. THE SITUATION ___ DEVELOP VIA INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE /___ INFANTRY AND THE ___ ENGINEERS. COUNTER BATTERY RADAR DID NOT ACQUIRE THIS IDF AND PANTHER ___ DID NOT HAVE A COUNTER BATTERY FIRE MISSION AT THE TIME OF IMPACT. UPDATE TO FOLLOW.

UPDATE # - ___ ENGINEERS HAS REVISED THE POO GRID AS ( ___). ALSO, A WHITE ___ TRUCK WITH RAILS WAS SPOTTED IN THE AREA AT THE TIME OF LAUNCH. THIS TYPE OF VEHICLE HAD BEEN OBSERVED IN THE PAST, VIA UAV, AS A ROCKET LAUNCH PLATFORM.

UPDATE # , --___ QRF ELEMENT SWEPT POSSIBLE IMPACT AREA WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS.

Iraqi War Logs - 01LNO-91939054
___ SURVEY AT ___ GATE
2004-01-26 07:00:00

TF -___ CAV (___ TRP) REPORTED THEIR ___ FOX RECON PLATOON CONDUCTED ___ SURVEY AT ___ GATE IAW CJTF-___ FRAGO ___. THE PLATOON REPORTED ___ OF ___ SCRAP METAL TRUCKS HAD HIGH LEVELS OF RADIATION (___). THE TRUCKS ARE ISOLATED AND SECURED. SURVEYED OTHER TRUCKS CROSSING INTO TURKEY AND THE SCRAP METAL YARD (___) WHERE THE SOURCES MAY HAVE ORIGINATED. ALL SURVEYS ARE NEGATIVE.TF -___ CAV (___ TRP) REPORTED THEIR ___ FOX RECON PLATOON CONDUCTED ___ SURVEY AT ___ GATE IAW CJTF-___ FRAGO ___. THE PLATOON REPORTED ___ OF ___ SCRAP METAL TRUCKS HAD HIGH LEVELS OF RADIATION (___). THE TRUCKS ARE ISOLATED AND SECURED. SURVEYED OTHER TRUCKS CROSSING INTO TURKEY AND THE SCRAP METAL YARD (___) WHERE THE SOURCES MAY HAVE ORIGINATED. ALL SURVEYS ARE NEGATIVE.

Notes:

http://wikileaks.org/iraq/diarydig
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iraq-war-logs