[News] US and Israel - The DIME Bomb: Yet Another Genotoxic Weapon

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 5 11:45:01 EST 2006


US and Israel Targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME 
Bomb: Yet Another Genotoxic Weapon, Part I

By James Brooks

Al-Jazeerah, December 5, 2006

It’s been almost five months since the first 
report that Israeli drone aircraft have been 
dropping a “mystery weapon” on Palestinians in 
the Gaza Strip. Since then, news media around the 
world have run stories depicting the strange and 
“horrific” wounds inflicted by the new bomb. The 
international press has spoken with Palestinian 
doctors and medics who say Israel’s new device is 
a kind of chemical weapon that has significantly 
increased the fatality rate among the victims of Israeli attacks. (1)(2)

In mid-October, Italian investigators reported 
forensic evidence that suggests the new weapon 
may also represent the near future of US 
“counterinsurgency warfare”. Combined with 
photographs of the victims and testimony from 
attending doctors, this evidence points to the 
use of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME). (3)

DIME is an LCD (“low collateral damage”) weapon 
developed at the US Air Force Research 
Laboratory. Publicly, it is slated for initial 
deployment in 2008. DIME bombs produce an 
unusually powerful blast within a relatively 
small area, spraying a superheated 
“micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten 
Alloy (HMTA). Scientific studies have found that 
HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune 
system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic).(4-11)

It is unfortunate that the US media have 
virtually blacked out the story of Israel’s new 
weapon, not least because our own military may 
soon be using it in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 
story might also have told us something about the 
grossly disproportionate brutality of Israel’s 
war on the Palestinian people­reason enough for the media to suppress it. (12)

Thanks to the intrepid Italians, the story could 
even have introduced Americans to their 
government’s DIME weapons program. This 
three-part article will ask whether Israel is 
‘testing’ US DIME bombs in the Gaza Strip, and 
explore the workings, dangers, and projected use 
of DIME weapons and their roots in depleted 
uranium (DU) research. These parallels will lead 
us to consider DIME in its historical context, as 
the latest innovation in the US military’s 
long-running development of genotoxic weapons.

“They cannot return to life again”

The first reports about ‘Israel’s new weapon’ 
came from Dr Joma Al-Saqqa, chief of the 
emergency unit at Gaza’s largest hospital, 
Al-Shifa. Dr. Al-Saqqa said that Israel was using 
“a new ‘chemical’ weapon” and its siege was “a 
live exercise on a new ammunition that, so far, 
has resulted in killing 50 Palestinians and 
injuring 200.” He observed that, “despite the 
damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of 
injured people, the fragments were not detected 
by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or 
dissolved inside the body.”(13)

“There were usually entry and exit wounds,” Dr. 
Al-Saqqa reported. “When the wounds were explored 
no foreign material was found. There was tissue 
death, the extent of which was diff icult to 
.A higher deep infection rate resulted 
with subsequent amputation. In spite of 
amputation there was a higher mortality.” (14) 
The effects of the weapon seemed “radioactive”. (15)
According to Palestine News Network, Dr. Al-Saqqa 
“confirmed that there were dozens of wounded legs 
and arms. Many of them had been burned from the 
inside, and distorted to the point that they cannot return to life again.”(16)

“When the shrapnel hit[s] the body, it causes 
very strong burns that destroy the tissues around 
the bones
it burns and destroys internal organs, 
like the liver, kidneys, and the spleen and other 
organs and makes saving the wounded almost 
impossible. As a surgeon, I have seen thousands 
of wounds during the Intifada, but nothing was like this weapon.”(17)

However, Dr. Al-Saqqa could not analyze the 
chemistry of the bizarre wounds. On the first day 
of the siege, June 27, Israel had conveniently 
destroyed Gaza’s only criminal laboratory. (18)
Despite his pleas to the “international 
community” to investigate and lend assistance in 
treating the victims, “no one has lifted a 
finger”, the doctor was quoted in mid-July. “What 
we found were journalists who came to take 
pictures, but as for the medical community, nothing.” (19)

On August 3, the United Nations Relief and Works 
Agency (UNRWA) reported that Commissioner-General 
Karen AbuZayd had visited Dr. Al-Saqqa’s 
hospital, “where the staff is struggling to deal 
with wounds resulting in an unusually high number 
of amputations.” Commissioner AbuZayd commented 
that “what we saw in Al-Shifa...was rather horrific.” (20)

According to Merlin (Medical Emergency Relief 
International), “75 per cent of war-wounded 
patients admitted at one hospital needed 
amputations” following an Israeli attack on Gaza City. (21)

The World Health Organization was reportedly 
considering an investigation into the injuries. 
Physicians for Human Rights - Israel “agreed to 
take away fragments of tissue from the bodies of 
Palestinians killed during the recent military 
operations in Gaza for possible analysis in 
Israel but urged the medics to seek an international investigation.” (22)

Tungsten in Tissue Samples: A DIME Weapon?

On October 19, Italy’s Rai24news televised an 
investigative report that supplied crucial new 
information. The Italian investigators had tissue 
samples from the victims in Gaza analyzed by Dr. 
Carmela Vaccaio at University Parma. Dr. Vaccaio 
reportedly found “a very high concentration of 
carbon and the presence of unusual materials, 
such as copper, aluminum and tungsten.” The 
doctor concluded that her "findings could be in 
line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is DIME."

Rai24news reporters also talked to Maj. Gen. 
Yitzhak Ben-Israel, former chief of the IDF's 
weapons development program. General Ben-Israel 
appeared to be familiar with DIME weapons. He 
explained that, "one of the ideas is to allow 
those targeted to be hit without causing damage 
to bystanders or other persons." (23)
The US Air Force refers to this emerging realm of 
weaponry as FLM (Focused Lethality Munitions). 
FLM is expected to provide the ‘weapons of 
choice’ for targeting “terrorists hiding among 
civilians”, as a cheerleading Wall Street Journal article put it. (24)

With “focused lethality [and] higher energy 
materials...nano particles, intelligent fuzing, 
[and] mass focus lethality”, the Air Force “will 
be able to strike effectively, wherever and 
whenever necessary, with minimal collateral 
damage.” Ominously, the military thinks these 
weapons will allow it to target sites "previously 
off limits to the warfighter." (25)(26)

This warfare of the future is reminiscent of what 
Israel has been doing for years, but with one-ton 
bombs, 155-mm artillery shells, and tank-fired 
antipersonnel flechette bombs. Are FLM weapons 
like DIME an improvement? Or will they actually 
increase civilian casualties and suffering, and 
mimic depleted uranium weapons by inducing 
disease and genetic damage in their victims? 
These disturbing questions will be explored in 
the next installment of this article.


1) Palestinian injuries suggest Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza
Ma'an News, 7/10/2006

2) Israel used chemical weapons in Lebanon and Gaza
By Jean Shaoul, Centre for Research on Globalization/wsws.org, 10/24/2006

3) Italian TV: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip
Ha'aretz, 10/19/2006

4) Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME)
GlobalSecurity.org, 10/18/2006

5) Abstract: Potential late health effects of 
depleted uranium and tungsten used in 
armor-piercing munitions: comparison of 
neoplastic transformation and genotoxicity with the known carcinogen nickel
Miller, AC, et al, PubMed, 11/26/2006


6) Neoplastic transformation of human osteoblast 
cells to the tumorigenic phenotype by heavy 
metal–tungsten alloy particles: induction of genotoxic effects
Miller, AC, et al
Carcinogenesis, Vol. 22, No. 1, 115-125, January 2001, Oxford University Press

7) Abstract: Carcinogenic Potential of Depleted Uranium and Tungsten Alloys
Alexandra C Miller, Ph. D., Department Of 
Defense, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI)

8) Depleted uranium-catalyzed oxidative DNA damage: absence of significant
alpha particle decay
Miller, AC, et al, Journal of Inorganic 
Biochemistry, Issue 91, 2002 pp. 246– 252

9) Embedded Weapons-Grade Tungsten Alloy Shrapnel 
Rapidly Induces Metastatic High-Grade Rhabdomyosarcomas in F344 Rats
Kalinich et al, Environmental Health Perspectives 
Volume 113, Number 6, June 2005

10) Abstract: Effect of the militarily-relevant 
heavy metals, depleted uranium and heavy metal 
tungsten-alloy on gene expression in human liver carcinoma cells (HepG2)
By Miller, AC, et al, SpringerLink/Molecular and 
Cellular Biochemistry, 1/1/2004

11) Preconceptional paternal exposure to 
radiation or heavy metals like cadmium can induce 
cancer in unexposed offspring
By Alexandra C. Miller, Rafael Rivas, Robert J. 
Merlot and Paul, Carcinogenesis 5: Environmental 
and Endogenous Carcinogens/Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, Volume 47, 2006

12) If Americans Knew

13) Israel 'is using chemical ammunition' in Gaza
By Duraid Al Baik, Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, 6/13/2006


14) Are New Weapons Being Used In Gaza and Lebanon
By David Halpin MB BS FRCS, Electronic Intifada, 8/14/2006

15) Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli 
weapons confirmed by Gaza City medical sources
Palestine News Network, 7/13/2006

16) ibid.

17) Doctors Report Unusual Weapon Used in Gaza
Pacifica/Free Speech Radio News 7/11/2006


18) Israel 'is using chemical ammunition' in Gaza
Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, 6/13/2006


19) Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli 
weapons confirmed by Gaza City medical sources
Palestine News Network, 7/13/2006

20) UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd: 
"Please don't forget what's going on in Gaza"
ReliefWeb/UNRWA, 8/3/2006

21) Hospitals in Gaza overwhelmed and running out of supplies
Electronic Intifada/Merlin, 8/8/2006

22) Gaza doctors encounter 'unexplained injuries'
Donald Macintyre, The Independent 9/4/2006

23) Italian TV: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip
Ha'aretz, 10/12/2006

24) Air Force seeks a bomb with less bang
By Greg Jaffe, The Wall Street Journal/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/11/2006

25) Munition Technology Drivers
By Col. Thomas “Mas” Masiell, Air Force Research Laboratory, 12/1/2006

26) USAF Unfunded Priority List (UPL)
SAF/FMB POC, FY 2007, February 2006, Page 54


James Brooks serves as webmaster for Vermonters 
for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel 
(<http://www.vtjp.org/>www.vtjp.org). He can be 
contacted at <mailto:jamiedb at wildblue.net>jamiedb at wildblue.net.

The Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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