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Depleted Uranium Weapons

  1. Sep 7, 2003 #1
    U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY AND DEPLETED URANIUM

    TESTIMONY AT THE JUNE 28, 2003, PUBLIC HEARING FOR
    THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR WAR CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN
    CHIBA, CHIBA PREFECTURE, JAPAN

    BY LEUREN MORET <mailto:leurenmoret@yahoo.com>leurenmoret@yahoo.com

    PRESIDENT, SCIENTISTS FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
    CITY OF BERKELEY ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER
    PAST PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN GEOSCIENTISTS

    We are gathered here today through the efforts of Professor Akira MAEDA and
    Haruhisa TAKASE. I would like to thank both of them, and the many citizens
    and supporters in Japan, who have made this important event possible. We,
    the people of the global community, must hold our governments and elected
    officials responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, for these
    two issues are impossible to separate. Because health connects all
    species, we are all effected by what happens, even in distant countries.

    Today I will describe the intimate connection between U.S. nuclear policy
    and depleted uranium, and the devastating effects they have had on the
    health of all species and the devastation of the environment which supports
    all life. Tragically, Afghanistan is just one of the countries devastated
    for all future generations by the use of depleted uranium weaponry in U.S.
    military aggressive actions dictated by U.S. foreign policy.

    Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
    That it do singe yourself.

    William Shakespeare (1564_1616)

    I am an independent scientist with a background in the geosciences. My
    hope and inspiration comes from my work with scientists and radiation
    specialists around the world to educate and inform the citizens of the
    world about the health and environmental effects from radiation
    exposure. In my professional career, I have worked at two nuclear weapons
    labs, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab where the transuranium elements were
    discovered to build the first atomic weapons, and the Lawrence Livermore
    Lab where nuclear weapons development continues.

    After working on the cleanup and disposal of high level nuclear waste, I
    became a whistleblower in 1991 at the the Lawrence Livermore Lab. After
    observing an entrenched pattern of science fraud, theft, graft, corruption,
    lack of concerns for safety and security, discrimination against women and
    minorities, and severe retaliation practices, I drove out the lab gate one
    day, dropped off my badge and my beeper and never went back.

    I realized after only two years at the lab, that the culture of nuclear
    weapons was a culture of insanity. What species on earth kills its young
    generation after generation? What species on earth sacrifices its young
    for the false notion of security?

    At the end of the millenium which gave birth to nuclear weapons, I visited
    the Peace Museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the 2000 World
    Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs as the guest of
    Gensuikin. That visit to Japan changed my life when I finally understood
    the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. In 1991, in the first Gulf War,
    the United States broke a 60 year taboo and introduced depleted uranium to
    the battleground, a radiological weapon which is truly a weapon of
    indiscriminate killing and mass destruction.

    Now that we know both, we must ask a question - which is worse, the
    horrific effects of flash annihilation from an atomic bomb or slow
    mutilation forever from depleted uranium weapons?

    Today I have a clear conscience, the satisfaction of acting as a citizen
    scientist instead of a prositute for the military or corporations, and have
    hope for the future. I know that the people of the world are the only ones
    who can stop the insanity of nuclear proliferation and radioactive
    contamination of the environment which supports all life. With good
    information the citizens of the world can make good decisions. My purpose
    now with other independent radiation specialists who have joined together
    as the World Committee on Radiation Risk is to provide good information
    about the health and environmental effects of radiation to the global
    community.

    DECLASSIFIED MEMO TO GENERAL L.R. GROVES, OCTOBER 30, 1943:

    BLUEPRINT FOR DEPLETED URANIUM

    A classified memo1 dated October 30, 1943, was sent to General L.R. Groves
    from Dr. A.H. Compton, Dr. James B. Conant, and Dr. H.C. Urey, three of the
    most competent physicists working under General Groves on the Manhattan
    Project. This memo, written nearly two years before the atomic bombs were
    dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was a recommendation that radiological
    materials be developed for use as a military weapon on the battlefield. It
    is a blueprint for depleted uranium weaponry.

    This memo which is now declassified, was given to me by Major Doug Rokke, a
    physicist and former head of the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Weapons
    Project. He is a Gulf War I veteran and is now suffering from depleted
    uranium exposure with severe health effects refered to as Gulf War
    Syndrome. My work is inspired by the hibakusha around the world who, like
    Doug, have told me their stories.

    It is clear from this memo that the U.S. Government and military have known
    before 1943 that radioactive materials, dispersed as very fine particles on
    the ground or from the air, would be an effective battlefield weapon. This
    plan was recommended so that the Germans would not develop it first from
    radioactive materials created by the waste of nuclear weapons
    development. Depleted uranium is nuclear trash from the nuclear weapons
    project.

    In the memo, the scientists recommended dispersing the radioactive
    materials in very fine particles, 0.1 microns in diameter, from the ground
    or the air. It would disperse like a radioactive gas, invisible and
    undetectable to the enemy. They described how increasing the amounts of
    radiation dispersed would accelerate the lethality and decrease the time
    until death and increase the numbers of dead.

    It was known at that time that it would contaminate the air, water, food,
    and the soil. Entry into contaminated environments was impossible without
    certain exposure both to the enemy and to friendly forces. The memo
    detailed the fact that no protective methods were possible to develop, and
    that very fine particles would pass through all gas masks.

    The memo also described that inhaled particles behave like a gas in the
    lungs, go directly into the blood and are dispersed thoughout the tissues
    of the body. The gut would also be exposed by ingesting contaminated
    foods, and areas of the gut where the food sat for longer periods would
    have more radiation exposure and increased damage.

    In conclusion, it is clear from this 1943 memo, that everything was known
    about the extreme hazards to health and environment of radiological
    materials dispersed in fine particles on the battlefield. The fact that
    depleted uranium burns at high temperatures and forms large numbers of
    extremely fine particles makes it even more deadly and effective than
    nearly any other material as a radiological weapon. The half-life of
    depleted uranium is so great, 4.5 billion years, that environments where it
    is used as a weapon will remain radioactive forever.

    It is no accident that an international taboo prevented further use of
    nuclear and radioactive weapons on the battlefield after 1945. The use of
    depleted uranium in Gulf War I was a decision made by the Strategic Defense
    Command in order to blur the distinction between conventional and nuclear
    weapons. Because public opposition globally is so strong, the use of
    depleted uranium was used as a strategy to reintroduce the use of nuclear
    weapons.

    LEGALITY TEST FOR WEAPONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

    Weapons must pass four tests in order to determine that they are legal
    under international law. The tests are:

    TEMPORAL TEST _ Weapons must not continue to act after the battle is over.

    ENVIRONMENTAL TEST _ Weapons must not be unduly harmful to the environment
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2003 #2

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    This article speaks a great deal about the horrors of radiological materials, and also says a few things about the properties of depleted uranium. But nowhere (AFAIK) does it offer support for the underlying assumption that depleted uranium is a radialogical material. It does mention that DU has a halflife of about 4.5 billion years, however.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2003
  4. Sep 18, 2003 #3
    DU Veterans

    Military Families Concerned With Depleted Uranium

    Voices For Change, September 9, 2003

    http://www.voice4change.org/stories/showstory.asp?file=030908~bthn.asp

    During the war, US and British forces shot ammo made from Depleted
    Uranium (DU), a radioactive and toxic waste that is suspected as a cause
    of some illnesses affecting veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

    Scientists believe respiratory irritation caused by sand storms, oil
    fires, and concentrated vehicle fumes during Operation Desert Storm
    weakened the blood/brain barrier and allowed DU to enter the central
    nervous system of soldiers in the field resulting in slowly developing
    neurotoxic responses. Their brains, in effect, were slowly poisoned.

    The brain is a 'target organ' for dissolved uranium. Tests on some
    Desert Storm vets show lowered ability to think and solve problems, as
    well as lowered motor skills in subjects with above average uranium levels.

    During the latest operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, American and
    British tanks fired thousands of depleted uranium armor penetrators.
    American A-10 and AV-8B aircraft shot hundreds of thousands of small
    caliber depleted uranium rounds.

    Many troops in Iraq are being exposed to some level of DU, and the
    exposure this time may be far more long-term. The longer troops stay in
    theater if they are in a contaminated area, the more exposure they will
    have. DU is also toxic to the kidneys, and is known to cause cancer from
    inhalation. It is reasonable to assume that neither skin exposure nor
    swallowing particles of DU is wise.

    The exposure to DU combined with the exposure to extensive combustion
    products from oil fires and blowing sand from the desert environment,
    however, is unique and the extent of exposure to respiratory irritants
    during this war was probably greater than in previous wars. These
    exposures for some soldiers may be more intense and more sustained now
    than they were in 1991.

    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF D.U. EXPOSURE?

    Depleted uranium has two different effects on the body, chemical
    poisoning and radiation poisoning. Symptoms are similar to those
    described as Gulf War Syndrome. DU may also cause respiratory problems
    and is known to elevate the risk of lung cancer and leukemia.

    * Chronic Fatigue

    * Neurological signs or symptoms

    * Signs or symptoms involving upper or lower respiratory system

    * Menstrual disorders

    * Kidney problems

    WHAT SHOULD ONE DO IF THESE SYMPTOMS APPEAR?

    * Report them to a physician and get them on record. If they
    persist, do not be discouraged by military doctors who seem to brush
    them off. Return again and again if necessary as long as the symptoms
    persist.

    * Those who are still on active duty should immediately register
    with DOD by calling 1-800-796-9699. Those who have left active military
    service should call the Veterans Administration at 1-800-PGW-VETS.

    * Increase the frequency of screening for lung cancer and leukemia.

    WHAT CAN ONE DO TO LIMIT EXPOSURE TO D.U. AND OTHER CAUSATIVE AGENTS?

    Get out of Iraq or Afghanistan. If that is not an option . . . Cover the
    face to prevent inhalation of dust, and keep dust out of food and water.
    Avoid exhaust fumes and other respiratory irritants. Inform the chain of
    command when there is a way to reduce exposure to dust and respiratory
    irritants, and explain to them why.

    --


    Posted for educational and research purposes only,
    ~ in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 ~

    See also http://nucnews.net - NucNews Links and Archives
     
  5. Sep 20, 2003 #4
    URGENT APPEAL

    Uranium Contamination of Iraq

    An urgent appeal on behalf of the people of Iraq by
    Uranium Medical Research Centre

    Dear Friend and Supporter,

    The Uranium Medical and Research Centre (UMRC) is once again obliged to revisit a region and situation it knows all too well. UMRC's initial involvement and work in DU internal contamination research arose out of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Now 12 years later, it is that country's unfortunate fate to suffer another war and yet again be the victim of DU weapons.

    UMRC is planning a field trip to collect samples and conduct laboratory analyses. We cannot do this without the help of our friends and supporters. As in previous occasions UMRC needs to find independent funding to support its projects. Please take a moment to review the attached letter which provides fuller details. If you or someone you know would like to help the effort financially or with other types of support, please respond as soon as possible.

    One more request, please forward this email to appropriate individuals in your network of friends or associates who may be interested in supporting this very important work. It may be that you and the individuals you know would fund the analysis of one sample. Please see the letter below for details.

    UMRC is sending this communication to individuals and organizations who are concerned about the effects of low-level radiation and depleted uranium, and the spread of radioactive waste.

    UMRC is a not-for-profit research organization providing independent, objective and expert scientific and medical research into the effects of uranium and other isotopes on the environment and humans.

    This is an appeal for immediate aid to finance a field trip to
    collect and conduct laboratory analysis of human, soil and
    water samples taken from Iraqi individuals and communities
    likely exposed to Uranium internal contamination during the
    Spring 2003 bombing campaign.

    Background

    Twelve years since the Gulf War of 1991 and the first time most of the world learned of Depleted Uranium (DU) in bombs and the serious effects on the environment and people, Iraq was once again the target of a massive bombing using DU weapons. Beginning in March 2003, the United States and Britain, in UN unauthorized military action, conducted extensive bombing in many areas of Iraq including some with heavy concentrations of civilian population.

    The consequences of this second round is likely much more catastrophic to the people and natural environment of Iraq. The weapons contained more DU, more bombs were dropped and the bombing was much more widespread across the country. To magnify the problem further, the US has refused to conduct any level of clean up.

    The situation facing Iraq

    Uranium dust and particulate matter released into the air, water and soil becomes a permanent, contaminating feature of an environment bombed by these weapons. Every exposed person and all subsequent generations are at risk.

    The world now knows of the increased incidence of cancer, leukemia, birth defects and other illnesses inside Iraq and among the Gulf war veterans after 1991. According to the UN Observer (September 9, 2003) thousands of U.S. troops have been evacuated from Iraq for unexplained medical reasons.

    As in 1991, there is denial and obfuscation as to exactly what ordinances where used and in what quantity and what are the consequences to the regions health. Again there is a conspicuous lack of objectivity and independent research to address these questions.

    As in the situation with Afghanistan, swift action is needed to survey the scope of the contamination, identify exact nature of the medical effects and assist local government and communities in Iraq to manage the public health consequences.

    Urgent need to finance collection of samples and conduct scientific analysis

    To the best of our knowledge there has been no collection of samples for testing and therefore no possibility to substantiate the true extent of the bombing and its contamination impact. UMRC has received invitations from doctors in Iraq to collect samples to help assess the damage. Study areas have been identified and contacts with locals made to facilitate the field trip. All that remains is to raise the funds necessary to underwrite the field trip (primarily transportation) and the subsequent laboratory analysis (conducted in Europe) of water, soil and human samples.

    UMRC estimates 75,000 USD is needed to cover field trip expenses (10,000 USD) and the remainder for laboratory analysis at approximately 1,000 USD per sample.

    Laboratory costs are kept as low as possible through special arrangements. However the detection and quantification of DU requires a specialized and very expensive procedure called Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry in which laboratory staff must conduct rigorous and detailed preparations and measurements of samples. We have also enlarged our testing protocol to include nanopathology and genetic studies in collaboration with several independent laboratories

    What will be done with the results?

    As with past UMRC work, findings will be compiled and reports published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals and conferences. The results will also be reported to the available authorities in an attempt to get responsible action to address this issue.

    Your financial donation is vitally important

    Please consider sponsoring one or more samples from Iraq at 1,000 USD per sample. Donations can be made directly to UMRC's bank account as a transfer from your bank.

    You can also mail a cheque, money order or bank draft to UMRC. Please contact us by telephone or e-mail to make arrangements. Canada +1 - 416 - 465 1341 or e-mail to Info@UMRC.net.

    All donations are confidential. In Canada and the United States, UMRC Inc. is a registered non-profit corporation, which supplies official receipts for tax deductions.

    The recent Afghanistan study was made possible through the support and
    generous donations from individuals and organizations across the world.
    Particular mention goes to our especially committed supporters in Japan.
    Please visit our website, http://www.umrc.net/AfghanistanOEF.asp where you
    will find a summary of UMRC Afghanistan studies.

    About UMRC

    Professor Asaf Durakovic, MD, Ph.D., is Medical Research Director, UMRC.

    UMRC is the first organization to scientifically identify indisputable evidence of Depleted Uranium contamination of US, British, and Canadian veterans of Persian Gulf War in 1991. UMRCs Gulf War studies has been published in medical and peer-reviewed scientific journals, presented to international medical conferences, and distributed to NATO governments.

    UMRC has recently completed tests and publishing findings from four rounds of samples taken from population and geology of Afghanistan. They show high concentrations of Uranium. Dr. Durakovic has been interviewed for TV and documentaries and media in Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East. Programs include BBC, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, ARD and Canal+.

    UMRC is a not-for-profit research organization providing independent, objective and expert scientific and medical research into the effects of uranium and other radioisotopes on the environment and humans.
     
  6. Sep 21, 2003 #5

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Depleted uranium in bombs? I have never heard of that before. What is the source of that information, I believe it is false. Not 100% sure, but darn close to it.
     
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