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Depleted uranium
Recycling death

URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER

NEW YORK TOWN PROVIDES EVIDENCE OF TRUE DANGER OF DEPLETED URANIUM

Parrish's team has found that DU contamination, which remains radioactive for millions of years, is in effect impossible to eradicate, not only from the environment but also from the bodies of humans. Twenty-three years after production ceased they tested the urine of five former workers. All are still contaminated with DU. So were 20 per cent of people tested who had spent at least 10 years living near the factory when it was still working. . .

MORE DAMAGE FROM DEPLETED URANIUM FOUND

GUARDIAN, UK - Depleted uranium, which is used in armor-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal's effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.0508 05 1DU is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. It is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density - twice that of lead - makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. In November, the Ministry of Defense was forced to counteract claims that apparent increases in cancers and birth defects among Iraqis in southern Iraq were due to DU in weapons.

Now researchers at the University of Southern Maine have shown that DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations. The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. "These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer," the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. . . Prof Wise said it is too early to say whether DU causes lung cancer in people exposed on the battlefield because the disease takes several decades to develop.
"Our data suggest that it should be monitored as the potential risk is there," he said.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/08/1059/

DEPLETED URANIUM BACK IN THE NEWS

AUDREY PARENTE, DAYTONA BEACH HERALD, FL - Lori Brim cradled her son in her arms for three months before he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Dustin Brim, a 22-year-old Army specialist had collapsed three years ago in Iraq from a very aggressive cancer that attacked his kidney, caused a mass to grow over his esophagus and collapsed a lung. The problems she saw during her time at Walter Reed, including her son screaming in pain while doctors argued over medications, had nothing to do with mold and shabby conditions documented in recent news reports. What this mother saw was an unexplainable illness consuming her son.

And what she has learned since her son's death is that his was not an isolated case. Lori Brim has joined other parents, hundreds of other sick soldiers, legislators, research scientists and environmental activists who say the cause of their problems results from exposure to depleted uranium, a radioactive metal used in the manufacture of U.S. tank armor and weapon casings.

http://www.news-journalonline.com/special/uranium/DUFOLO041507.htm

CANADIAN REPORT: U.S. USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM RAISED RADIOACTIVITY 300 TIMES

MNA - Canadian research centers have reported that during the war against Iraq the U.S. military used depleted uranium weapons which caused the radiation level to rise at least 300 times above normal, and the weapons caused similar effects in Afghanistan.

U.S. troops have recently begun removing contaminated topsoil in Iraq, taking it to an unknown location. Scientists believe the next generation of children of citizens of both countries exposed to DU will suffer from higher rates of birth defects and cancer.

The Uranium Medical Research Center issued a report based on a 13-day survey throughout the primary conflict zones in urban and rural areas of central and southern Iraq on October 2003, according to Risq News. . .

The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the U.S. occupied base in southwestern Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the international airport and hosts one of the largest coalition bases around Baghdad, occupying the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard. . . Departing the coalition-occupied base was a long, a steady stream of tandem-axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading south away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully loaded dump trucks waiting to enter the base. As the team passed the base's main entrance, the gates were opened to reveal bulldozers spreading soil while front-end loaders were filling the trucks that had just emptied their loads of soil (silt and sand). The arriving trucks were delivering loads of sand into the base while the departing trucks were hauling away the base's topsoil.

DEPLETED URANIUM FOUND IN TROOPS

JUAN GONZALEZ, NY DAILY NEWS - Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found. They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah. . . A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four "almost certainly" inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

CARD GIVEN BRITISH TROOPS IN IRAQ


NOTE: THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE WEB PAGE HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN

BRITISH ISSUE DEPLETED URANIUM WARNING CARDS TO ITS TROOPS IN IRAQ

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SUPPRESSED STUDY ON DEPLETED URANIUM

ROB EDWARDS, SUNDAY HERALD, UK - An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq's civilian population would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium weapons has been kept secret. The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organisation, which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO.

Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use of DU weapons in last year's war, and to clean up afterwards. Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from the United Nations Environment Program have so far not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution.

U.S. LEFT 75 TONS OF DEPLETED URANIUM TO POLLUTE IRAQ

U.S. FORCES UNLEASHED at least 75 tons of toxic depleted uranium on Iraq during the war, reports the Christian Science Monitor. An unnamed U.S. Central Command spokesman disclosed to the Monitor last week that coalition forces fired 300,000 bullets coated with armored-piercing depleted uranium during the war. "The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 -- a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq," wrote correspondent Scott Peterson. Peterson measured four sites around Baghdad struck with depleted uranium munitions and found high levels of radioactive contamination, but few warnings to this effect issued among the populace at large. While the Pentagon maintains that spent weapons coated with the low-level, radioactive nuclear-waste are relatively harmless, Peterson notes that U.S. soldiers have taken it among themselves to print leaflets or post signs warning of DU contamination. "After we shoot something with DU, we're not supposed to go around it, due to the fact that it could cause cancer," said one sergeant requesting anonymity.

DEPLETED URANIUM

PAUL KRASSNER, NY METRO - The officer came around a row of missiles, and Ethan asked him the question he had for him about his TAD request, and then asked him, "What the hell kind of missiles are these?"

"Those aren't missiles; they're cobalt jackets."

"What are they for?"

"Well, this is 'need to know,' so keep your mouth shut, but they are designed to slide on over most of our conventional ordinance. They're made out of radioactive cobalt, and when the bomb they're wrapped around detonates, they contaminate everything in the blast zone and quite a bit beyond."

"So they turn regular ordinance into nukes?"

"No, not exactly. The cobalt doesn't detonate itself. It just scatters everywhere."

"Well, what? Does the radiation kill people?"

"Not immediately. Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They're for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won't capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt ­ and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea ­ and contaminate the world. If we can't have it, nobody can. . .

I emailed the anecdote to no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of The Superpower of Peace. I asked him to comment in a couple of hundred words:

"This nightmare has now essentially come true with the use of depleted uranium on anti-tank and other shells in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The military rationale is that the super-hard depleted uranium helps shells penetrate tanks and other hard structures. But the long-term effect is that the uranium vaporizes upon explosion and contaminates everything for hundreds of yards, if not miles."

STUDY FINDS DEPLETED URANIUM USED IN AFGHANISTAN

IRAQI CITIES HOT WITH DEPLETED URANIUM

DEPLETED URANIUM: DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL

JAY SHAFT, COALITION FOR FREE THOUGHT IN MEDIA - In three separate interviews a U.S. Special Operations Command Colonel admitted that the U.S. and Great Britain fired 500 tons of DU munitions into Iraq. He has also informed me that the GBU-28 BLU 113 Penetrator Bunker Buster 5000 pound bomb contains DU in the warhead. Until now, as far as I know, the materials used to make the warhead of the GBU-28 have remained shrouded in mystery. He admitted that privately the Pentagon has acknowledged the health hazards of DU for years. . .

J.S.: What about the cities? Did you deliberately use DU on them?

U.S.C.: Let's just say that we didn't do anything to avoid using DU in cities or heavily populated areas. I know that I selected some DU bunker busters because of the fact that they have a high penetration factor. I used DU weapons exclusively on some targets so as to ensure maximum damage on those targets. You don't want to just halfway destroy some targets, you want maximum damage. . .

J.S.: What about the health risks that are associated with DU? Or do you deny there are any?

U.S.C.: You are determined to get me to make a statement about the health risks aren't you?

J.S.: If you will, I want to see what the behind the scenes view of DU is in the Pentagon.

U.S.C.: Well. . . (long pause, followed by heavy profanity). . . Okay, I'll give you some dirt if that's what you're looking for. The Pentagon knows there are huge health risks associated with DU They know from years of monitoring our own test ranges and manufacturing facilities.

There were parts of Iraq designated as high contamination areas before we ever placed any troops on the ground. The areas around Basra, Jalibah, Talil, most of the southern desert, and various other hot spots were all identified as contaminated before the war. Some of the areas in the southern desert region along the Kuwaiti border are especially radioactive on scans and tests.
One of our test ranges in Saudi Arabia shows over 1000 times the normal background level for radiation. We have test ranges in the U.S. that are extremely contaminated; hell, they have been since the 80's and nothing is ever said publicly. Don't ask don't tell is not only applied to gays, it is applied to this matter very heavily.

I know at one time the theory was developed that any soldier exposed to DU shells should have to wear full MOP gear (the chemical protective suit). But they realized that just wouldn't be practical and it was never openly discussed again.

J.S.: So the stories that they know DU is harmful are true?

U.S.C.: Yes, there is no doubt that most high level commanders who were around during the 80's know about it.

J.S.: So how do you feel about the fact that you exposed your own men to DU?

U.S.C.: F...k you!! What do you know about my job? I did what I had to do to take out the targets I was given. If it was necessary to use DU, than I put it in my target analysis reports. I didn't actually fire the rounds myself; I work in a remote office.

J.S.: So you'll never have to worry about being exposed to DU huh? Very brave.

U.S.C.: (lot's of profanity) this interview is over with (more profanity, followed by the phone slamming down)

U.S. TO USE DEPLETED URANIUM AGAIN

BBC - A United States defense official has said moves to ban depleted uranium ammunition are just an attempt by America's enemies to blunt its military might. Colonel James Naughton of US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium shells had no medical basis. "They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them," he told a Pentagon briefing.

If war starts, tons of depleted uranium weapons are likely to be used by British and American tanks and by ground attack aircraft. Some believe people are still suffering ill health from ammunition used in the Gulf War 12 years ago, and other conflicts. In the House of Commons in London on Monday, Labor MP Joan Ruddock said a test of the UK Government's pledge to keep civilian casualties to a minimum in an attack on Iraq would include not using depleted uranium weapons.

Apparently anticipating complaints, the US defense department briefed journalists about DU - making it plain it would continue to be used. . .

Cancer surgeons in the southern Iraqi port of Basra report a marked increase in cancers which they suspect were caused by DU contamination from tank battles on the farmland to the west of the city. . . Depleted uranium is mildly radioactive but the main health concern is that it is a heavy metal, potentially poisonous. The likelihood of absorbing it is increased significantly if a weapon has struck a target and exploded because the DU vaporizes into a fine dust and can be inhaled. . .

A 1995 report from the US Army Environmental Policy Institute, for example, said: "If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences."

UN AGENCY FINDS DEPLETED URANIUM IN BOSNIA AREA BOMBED BY U.S.

RADIATION DETECTED IN BOSNIA WHERE DEPLETED URANIUM WAS USED

ANDY KERSHAW, COUNTERPUNCH, DECEMBER 1, 2001 - I nearly lost my breakfast last week at the Basrah Maternity and Children's Hospital in southern Iraq. Dr Amer, the hospital's director, had invited me into a room in which were displayed color photographs of what, in cold medical language, are called "congenital anomalies," but what you and I would better understand as horrific birth deformities. The images of these babies were head-spinningly grotesque. . . At one point I had to grab hold of the back of a chair to support my legs. . .

During the Gulf war, Britain and the United States pounded the city and its surroundings with 96,000 depleted-uranium shells. The wretched creatures in the photographs--for they were scarcely human--are the result, Dr Amer said. He guided me past pictures of children born without eyes, without brains. Another had arrived in the world with only half a head, nothing above the eyes. Then there was a head with legs, babies without genitalia, a little girl born with her brain outside her skull and the whatever-it-was whose eyes were below the level of its nose. Then the chair-grabbing moment--a photograph of what I can only describe (inadequately) as a pair of buttocks with a face and two amphibian arms. Mercifully, none of these babies survived for long.

Depleted uranium has an incubation period in humans of five years. In the four years from 1991 (the end of the Gulf war) until 1994, the Basrah Maternity Hospital saw 11 congenital anomalies. Last year there were 221. Then there is the alarming increase in cases of leukemia among Basrah babies lucky enough to have been born with the full complement of limbs and features in the right place. The hospital treated 15 children with leukemia in 1993. In 2000 it was 60. By the end of this year that figure again will be topped. And so it will go on. Forever. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.1 billion years. Total disintegration occurs after 25 billion years, the age of the earth

RAMZI KYSIA, COUNTERPUNCH, DECEMBER 28, 2001 - According to [a] study, malignancies and leukemia's among children under the age of 15 have more than tripled since 1990. Whereas in 1990 young children accounted for only 13 per cent of cancer cases, today over 56 per cent of all cancer in Iraq occurs among children under the age of 5.

Navy & Marines stop using it

USA TODAY: Thousands more people than anticipated face health and pollution threats from plutonium and other highly radioactive elements that fouled vast amounts of uranium recycled by the U.S. nuclear weapons program over the past 50 years . . . New federal studies reviewed by USA Today show that the program yielded 250,000 tons of tainted uranium -- roughly double the estimates of two years ago. The material was handled at about 10 times the number of sites revealed previously, reaching more than 100 federal plants, private manufacturers and universities. The studies suggest that thousands more workers than expected might have unwittingly faced radiation risks beyond those associated with normal uranium, increasing their odds of developing cancer and other ailments. That places an unexpected burden on a soon-to-begin federal program to compensate sick nuclear weapons workers . . . Amid all the controversy, the Navy and Marines have decided to abandon use of the depleted-uranium munitions. Both have switched to tungsten, a non-radioactive, high-density metal. "We're not considering depleted uranium anymore because of the environmental problems associated with it, be them real or perceived," says Col. Clayton Nans, head of the Marines' Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle program and former chief of the service's firepower division. "We don't want to be in a position of having someone say, 'You can't bring your armor piercing rounds on the battlefield.' " MORE

FEBRUARY 2001

MATTHEW CHAPMAN, BBC: The residents of a Caribbean island used as a bombing range are claiming more than $100m in damages from the US Navy over claims that ammunition including depleted uranium shells have caused an epidemic of cancers there. More than a third of the 9,000 inhabitants of Vieques have been found to be suffering from a range of serious illnesses and cancers, which doctors have linked to decades of bombing by the US and the military of other countries including the British Royal Navy. According to official Puerto Rican figures, cancer rates on the island are soaring, with the numbers of people suffering from cancer of the breast, cervix and uterus up by 300% over the past 20 years. The court case brought by the islanders will be closely watched by the governments of NATO countries which sent troops to Kosovo and the Gulf War where the use of DU shells has been linked with leukemia cases . . . Campaigners on the island made an order through the Freedom of Information Act to force the Navy to publicly admit it had fired DU shells onto a range on the eastern tip of the island in 1999 . . . Scientists, however, who have conducted soil samples on the ranges say they have found evidence of systematic bombing with DU shells going back at least a decade. BBC

JANUARY 2001

JOHN LICHFIELD, INDEPENDENT, LONDON: Some shells fired in the Gulf and Balkan wars contained a type of recycled nuclear waste that is much more hazardous than depleted uranium, according to a book to be published in France . The book, "Depleted Uranium: The Invisible War," could change the debate on whether weapons used by the United States and NATO caused widespread sickness among war veterans and civilians. The authors, a Frenchman, a Belgian and an American, produce evidence that the US government knew six years ago that its stocks of "safe" depleted uranium had been contaminated by spent nuclear fuels. Whether this recycled material was mixed up with the "classic" depleted uranium accidentally or deliberately remains unclear . . . In other words, the entire DU debate has been based on false premises. The findings of Martin Meissonnier, Frederic Loore and Roger Trilling have been independently confirmed in the past few days by researchers at a Swiss government laboratory, which analyzed spent US munitions from Kosovo. The lab found that the shells contained traces of an isotope of uranium ­ uranium 236 ­ which occurs only in nuclear waste. INDEPENDENT

[From a Janes Defense Weekly FAQ]

It is alleged that DU causes leukemia?

Leukemia is caused by:
- Ionizing radiation - x-rays, for example
- Derivatives of benzene (hydraulic fluid, lubricating oil, fuel oil, ceramic armor and other products found in modern armored vehicles)
- Viruses

What happens when a DU round hits a tank?

The DU penetrator hits the tank armor, both the penetrator and armor partially liquefying under pressure. Once the armor has been perforated, that part of the penetrator which has not melted, together with the molten armor and fragments that break away from the interior, ricochet inside the vehicle. This usually causes a fire. Studies in the USA, UK and France show that when an armored vehicle burns at about 10,000 degrees C, the resulting oxidization of the materials aboard, including benzene products and depleted uranium, can create particulates that are harmful to the human body; ingested they can affect the lungs and kidneys. JANES

SUNDAY HERALD, SCOTLAND: Forty-eight hours after the Gulf war ended, an Iraqi Republican Guard tank division was making for its base outside Basra along a narrow causeway over Lake Hamar. It was one of five agreed exit routes for the defeated army to take in its retreat. The ground war had lasted just 100 hours and there had been 79 American deaths, eight of them among the 24th Division, commanded by General Barry McCaffrey, whose armor and ordnance was lying about three miles away from the causeway. Suddenly, and over-riding a warning from the division operations officer, McCaffrey ordered an assault on the column. Later he would claim that his troops had been fired on by the retreating Iraqis, which is hotly denied by the Republican Guard commander. Apache attack helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles and artillery units pummeled the helpless column for hours. It was, as McCaffrey later commented, "one of the most astounding scenes of destruction I have ever participated in." . . . Six months ago, when I visited the site of what has become known as the Battle of Rumaila, with a scientist carrying a Geiger counter, the needle threatened to burst out of its casing as he repeatedly ran it over sand and wreckage, gun barrels, tank parts and spent DU detritus. SUNDAY HERALD

ENS In his final report before the change of administration, the Defense Department's special assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Dr. Bernard Rostker, told reporters that pesticides, but not exposure to depleted uranium (DU), may be "among the potential contributing agents" to illnesses among Gulf War veterans . . . A study by the Rand Corporation commissioned by the Department of Defense, "did not find a plausible link" between depleted uranium and health problems, Dr. Rostker said at a special Pentagon briefing. The Institutes of Medicine, charged by Congress to review the possible causes of Gulf War illnesses, "reported on their first four potential risk factors, one of them being depleted uranium," Dr. Rostker said. "In their review of uranium and soldiers who have been involved with depleted uranium, we do not see a health risk," he said. The Institutes of Medicine reviewed the potential risk factors of depleted uranium, low levels of the nerve agent sarin, pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills used to guard against nerve agents, and vaccinations against biological weapons. The only thing the Institutes of Medicine were prepared to rule out was the impact of depleted uranium on lung cancers and on renal disease from heavy metal toxicity, Dr. Rostker said . . . Researchers identified 64 different pesticide products containing 35 active ingredients that were used during the Gulf War. ENS | REVIEW DU ARCHIVES

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Residents of Iraq's second largest city are filled with dread at the growing debate over depleted uranium munitions and suspected links to cancer, as Iraq marks the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War. "Leukemia and radioactive pollution are now the number one topic of conversation among the people here in Basra," said student Saleh Neema. Basra, located near the Kuwaiti and Iranian borders, bears the scars of both the conflict over Kuwait and the 1980-1988 war against Iran. Most walls are still pockmarked by bullets or by shrapnel from exploding shells. "People are worried and living in fear of contracting cancerous diseases because of the pollution" from DU bullets fired by the US-led allies during the six-week war that broke out on January 17, 1991, said merchant Abdullah Hamid. Awad Badran, a retired civil servant from Basra, which together with its outskirts has a population of around one million, said the widespread fear was having a social impact. "Things are so bad in Basra that quite a number of people thinking of getting married are hesitant for fear of having children with deformities," he told AFP . . . As many as 940,000 rounds of DU were used. That, together with the explosion of two allied military vehicles loaded with DU arms, "polluted the environment and caused great damage to the public's health," he said. Al-Jumhuriya, an official daily, has blamed DU for the deaths of 50,000 Iraqi children in 1991 alone and said it was behind a dramatic increase in cancer rates over the past decade, citing a report from Iraqi experts

GUARDIAN, LONDON: Depleted uranium shells fired by Britain in the Gulf war and the US in Kosovo contained traces of plutonium and other highly radioactive particles, the Ministry of Defense and the US department of energy admitted. The fact that DU rounds used by British and US forces contain far more radioactive isotopes than uranium, which are more likely to cause cancer, is bound to fuel the controversy over Gulf war syndrome. But the additional risk to British and US servicemen was minimal because the amounts of contaminants were so small, a MoD spokeswoman in London said, echoing a NATO statement issued in Brussels.

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna was not so sure that the dangers of uranium containing even traces of plutonium were small, saying there was no data on what happened to contaminated depleted uranium when released into the atmosphere. David Kyd, spokesman for the agency, said: "The science simply can't provide the answers in terms of the long-term consequences. It is definitely worth investigating further, not only in the Balkans but also in Iraq." GUARDIAN

INDEPENDENT, LONDON: The Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, announced that he would meet the chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunal to discuss NATO's use of depleted uranium shells as a war crime against civilians. Mr. Kostunica explained that his change of mind about meeting the UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte was prompted by the depleted uranium issue. "Finally the lies on the use of DU became public and that was the first reason why I changed my mind about seeing Ms del Ponte. This is a serious case for The Hague tribunal," he said. The president shares the view of many Serbs that NATO's use of depleted uranium-capped shells in its 1999 conflict with Belgrade over Kosovo should be investigated as a war crime. He had until now refused to meet Ms Del Ponte, who is to travel to Belgrade next week to discuss prosecuting indicted war criminals, including the former president, Slobodan Milosevic. INDEPENDENT

JONATHON CARR-BROWN, SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON: Shells fired in the Gulf war and Kosovo were made out of material contaminated by a potentially lethal cocktail of nuclear waste, according to a book published this week. The claim, supported by American army and government documents, suggests that the military in Kosovo and Iraq used depleted uranium shells containing traces of elements that indicate the probable presence of plutonium and other highly toxic nuclear by-products . . . Martin Messonnier, Frederick Loore and Roger Trilling, the authors of the book, are convinced that the Pentagon has misled the world with claims that its DU is safe. Until now, the Pentagon has maintained that DU shells are safe because they contain only mildly radioactive uranium. But the authors claim the shells were made with uranium contaminated with more toxic elements. SUNDAY TIMES

FAIR: Since the new year, stories about the depleted uranium controversy have been running almost daily in every major British newspaper, with the Guardian and Independent each running editorials calling for a NATO investigation into DU's health effects. Altogether, the London Independent has run 14 original articles; the London Times has run 12; the Daily Telegraph has run 10; and the Guardian and its Sunday paper, the Observer, have run eight. Meanwhile, in the US-- the country most responsible by far for DU contamination-- newspapers have relegated most of their coverage to news briefs and short wire stories. The only US newspaper in the Nexis media database to have run an editorial on the current controversy is the Seattle Times. Big picture questions about the extensive use of DU since the Gulf War, its lasting impact on civilian populations and the record of official deception around DU have been largely ignored in both print and broadcast reports . . . Television coverage has also been limited. CNN has aired two reports on DU, while the three networks' evening news broadcasts each did one story. Only three of the mainstream US media reports about the current controversy have referred in any detail to the parallels between Balkans War Syndrome and the illnesses alleged to have resulted from use of DU during the Gulf War . . . Nor was the larger question about DU raised: Is it legal? In a December 18 draft recommendation that went largely unremarked, the Environment Committee of the Council of Europe found that during the Kosovo war, NATO countries violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions intended to limit environmental damage. Among other things, the committee cited "the use of depleted uranium in warheads" as a violation that had "dramatically worsened" Yugoslavia's environment "with long-lasting effects on the health and quality of life for future generations." The committee further found that this damage "can be presumed to have been deliberate."

FAIR
MILITARY TOXICS PROJECT
NATIONAL GULF WAR RESOURCES CENTER

GULF VETERANS LEFT IN COLD

RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR AND ANDREW OSBORN, GUARDIAN, LONDON: The government bowed to intense domestic and international pressure by agreeing to screen Balkans veterans for signs of contamination from depleted uranium used in US anti-tank shells. But the announcement infuriated Gulf war veterans, whose supporters labeled the refusal to offer the tests to troops in previous conflicts a "vicious injustice . . . At NATO headquarters in Brussels, Britain and the US joined forces to kill off an Italian proposal, backed by Germany, for the alliance's 19 member countries to stop using depleted uranium ammunition until further notice . . . Malcolm Hooper, emeritus professor of medicinal chemistry at Sunderland University, described the Ministry of Defense move as a "cynical betrayal" and "vicious injustice." The MoD, he said, was testing for high-level exposure to soluble material, rather than long-term, low-level, exposure to radiation inside the body. It was indulging in "Mickey Mouse science". GUARDIAN

RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR, GUARDIAN, LONDON: Army doctors warned four years ago that exposure to depleted uranium, which is used in US and British anti-tanks shells, increased the risk of developing lung, lymph and brain cancer. The warnings, in an internal MoD document, are in marked contrast to persistent public assurances - repeated by the armed forces minister, John Spellar, to the Commons - playing down the risk from DU . . . In a devastating passage under the heading "Risk assessment relating to Gulf war uranium exposure", it warns: "First and foremost, the risk of occupational exposure by inhalation must be reduced." It goes on to say: "All personnel... should be aware that uranium dust inhalation carries a long-term risk... [the dust] has been shown to increase the risks of developing lung, lymph and brain cancers." It adds: "Working inside a DU dust-contaminated vehicle without adequate respiratory protection will expose the worker to up to eight times the OES [the occupational exposure standard or accepted exposure level]." GUARDIAN

MIKE RUPPERT, FROM THE WILDERNESS: As the scandal regarding the 1999 US use of depleted uranium rounds in Kosovo spreads and re-ignites controversy about the Gulf War Syndrome that has damaged the health of thousands of veterans, "From The Wilderness" has obtained a copy of a 1984 FAA advisory circular - still in effect - that shows that DU has been in use as a component in aircraft manufacture for years and that the US government has always treated DU as a hazardous material in full awareness of health risks it presents . . . FAA Advisory Circular 20-123, dated 12/20/84 is entitled "Avoiding or Minimizing Encounters With Aircraft Equipped With Depleted Uranium Balance Weights During Accident Investigations." The two-page memo was written to warn FAA crash site investigators that, as a result of an air crash, DU weights in various parts of the aircraft might have had their cadmium plating removed. The memorandum states, "While the depleted uranium normally poses no danger, it is to be handled with caution. The main hazard associated with depleted uranium is the harmful effect the material could have if it enters the body. If particles are inhaled or digested, they can be chemically toxic and cause a significant and long-lasting irradiation of internal tissue." FROM THE WILDERNESS

REUTERS: Russian defense officials accused NATO of using Serbia as a dumping ground for depleted uranium ammunition it needed to get rid of and called on the alliance to pay for any cleanup. Russia's air force chief General Anatoly Kornukov denounced the Western military alliance for penny-pinching, saying NATO had used its 1999 air raids to dispose of depleted uranium munitions rather than dispose of them properly. "It is clear to me they dropped the (munitions) they needed to destroy, as purely destroying them would have been several times more expensive than dropping them during bombing", he said in televised remarks. "Of course there is an (environmental) effect, there's no question about that. But at least we do not have these (munitions). We got out of this a long time ago and this is a totally incorrect approach," he said. RUSSIA TODAY

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: The director of the main hospital in the northern, Serb-majority part of Kosovo, blamed depleted uranium NATO munitions for what he said was a huge increase in cancer cases in his region. Milan Ivanovic, himself a Kosovo Serb, told AFP that cancer cases referred to the Serb hospital in Kosovksa Mitrovica had shot up by 200 percent since NATO's 1999 air campaign against Yugoslavia. "I think the main reason for the sizable increase in cancer cases, which numbered 160 last year, could only be due to NATO's bombardment with depleted uranium," Ivanovic said at the hospital CENTRAL EUROPE TODAY

FAIR: Since the new year, stories about the depleted uranium controversy have been running almost daily in every major British newspaper, with the Guardian and Independent each running editorials calling for a NATO investigation into DU's health effects. Altogether, the London Independent has run 14 original articles; the London Times has run 12; the Daily Telegraph has run 10; and the Guardian and its Sunday paper, the Observer, have run eight. Meanwhile, in the US-- the country most responsible by far for DU contamination-- newspapers have relegated most of their coverage to news briefs and short wire stories. The only US newspaper in the Nexis media database to have run an editorial on the current controversy is the Seattle Times. Big picture questions about the extensive use of DU since the Gulf War, its lasting impact on civilian populations and the record of official deception around DU have been largely ignored in both print and broadcast reports . . . Television coverage has also been limited. CNN has aired two reports on DU, while the three networks' evening news broadcasts each did one story. Only three of the mainstream US media reports about the current controversy have referred in any detail to the parallels between Balkans War Syndrome and the illnesses alleged to have resulted from use of DU during the Gulf War . . . Nor was the larger question about DU raised: Is it legal? In a December 18 draft recommendation that went largely unremarked, the Environment Committee of the Council of Europe found that during the Kosovo war, NATO countries violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions intended to limit environmental damage. Among other things, the committee cited "the use of depleted uranium in warheads" as a violation that had "dramatically worsened" Yugoslavia's environment "with long-lasting effects on the health and quality of life for future generations." The committee further found that this damage "can be presumed to have been deliberate."

RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR, GUARDIAN, LONDON: Army doctors warned four years ago that exposure to depleted uranium, which is used in US and British anti-tanks shells, increased the risk of developing lung, lymph and brain cancer. The warnings, in an internal MoD document, are in marked contrast to persistent public assurances - repeated by the armed forces minister, John Spellar, to the Commons - playing down the risk from DU . . . In a devastating passage under the heading "Risk assessment relating to Gulf war uranium exposure", it warns: "First and foremost, the risk of occupational exposure by inhalation must be reduced." It goes on to say: "All personnel... should be aware that uranium dust inhalation carries a long-term risk... [the dust] has been shown to increase the risks of developing lung, lymph and brain cancers." It adds: "Working inside a DU dust-contaminated vehicle without adequate respiratory protection will expose the worker to up to eight times the OES [the occupational exposure standard or accepted exposure level]." GUARDIAN

NY TIMES CLAIMS DU DEATHS SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE

URANIUM PANIC HITS NATO

DECEMBER 2000

REUTERS: Italy has urged NATO to investigate claims that six Italians who died after serving in the Balkans were killed by exposure to depleted uranium, Prime Minister Giuliano Amato said in an interview. Amato told La Repubblica newspaper that alarm in Italy over the so-called "Balkan syndrome" was "more than legitimate." . . . SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Thousands of European soldiers who served in NATO forces in Kosovo are to be tested for radiation after claims that they developed cancer through exposure to allied munitions. Portugal and Spain will join the Italians, French and Belgians this week in carrying out a systematic review of the health of the troops they sent to the region to discover whether they were exposed to dangerous levels of depleted uranium in ammunition used by American forces . . . REUTERS Belgium called for European Union defense ministers to discuss health problems suffered by peace keepers in the former Yugoslavia, dubbed the "Balkans Syndrome." The call by Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut came amid rising concern in Europe over mysterious illnesses among veterans of Balkan peacekeeping missions.

ENS: The manufacture of consumer products out of radioactively contaminated materials discarded from commercial nuclear power plants and government bomb factories could become a fact of American life. In an extraordinary move, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission today asked the National Academy of Sciences to sanction the controversial practice. Dr. Richard Meserve, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made the request during the public portion of a special National Academy of Sciences committee meeting in Washington. Meserve asked the National Academy of Sciences panel to examine the practice of releasing radioactively contaminated solid waste materials into everyday commerce. He said this type of recycling is necessary to insure the continued viability of the commercial nuclear power plant industry and the Cold War decommissioning activities of the US Department of Energy.

AUGUST 2000

SARA FLOUNDERS, INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER: Claiming they were concerned about controlling air pollution, some 3,000 NATO soldiers stormed a lead smelting plant in Zvecan at 4:30 in the morning of Aug. 14. The plant was the only functioning industry in the vast Trepca mining complex in northern Kosovo, a few miles from the city of Mitrovica. At 6:30 a.m., in a further attack that had nothing to do with air pollution, NATO soldiers closed down and confiscated the equipment of Zvecan's Radio S--the only station that dared to report information critical of NATO. The northern part of Mitrovica is the only remaining multi-ethnic part of Kosovo. Thousands of Serbs, Romani people, Slavic Muslims, other nationalities and peoples of mixed backgrounds have been driven out of other areas by Kosovo Liberation Army vigilante groups . . . The mines, with their smelting, refining and power centers, once constituted one of Yugoslavia's leading export industries and a main source of hard currency. It was the major source of jobs in the region. Defending the pre-dawn attack, Bernard Kouchner, the head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, said, "As a doctor and chief administrator of Kosovo I would be derelict if I allowed a threat to the health of children and pregnant women to continue for one more day." UNMIK is the police force set up by NATO to administer Kosovo. Kouchner has never had a word of criticism for the environmental havoc NATO created throughout the entire region with the use of depleted uranium weapons, the bombing of chemical plants and the use of cluster bombs. INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER

JUNE 2000

THE NEW ECONOMY I

[If you're in the market for some depleted uranium, check out Starmet. Sorry, we can't help you on the half-life or toxicity of the stuff; all they told us was this]

Depleted Uranium is a low cost material that is readily available. DU's high density properties (65% denser than lead) provide useful solutions in radiation shielding and aircraft counterweights. DU is also a highly effective material for military armor and anti-armor applications. Customer needs for uranium and related materials are served by utilizing our patented technologies. Aircraft counterweights control surfaces (elevators and ailerons) on wide body aircraft require a heavy counterbalance weight, yet have insufficient surface clearance for lighter materials. Our DU products are an ideal material choice for this application where volume constraints prohibit the use of less dense metals. Starmet has the only Federal Aviation Administration approved facility for the repair and refurbishing of DU aircraft counterweights . . . Military Ordnance Starmet's low cost DU manufacturing capabilities make it one of the leading suppliers of low cost ammunition for US government weapons systems. Our anti-armor tank penetrator munitions helped bring a quick conclusion to the Desert Storm conflict.

MAY 2000

ECO BAD GUYS: Basic question in the Los Alamos fire is whether and to what extent depleted uranium strewn about the Los Alamos National Laboratory site has been sucked up into the plume by the fire. In addition, whether the following materials-also known to be on the site-are in the smoke plume: lead, beryllium, arsenic, thorium, uranium, plutonium, PCBs, barium, high explosives. Other questions: are the firefighters themselves being monitored for contamination. There is no real protection for fire fighters working in such a volatile situation. And is the government monitoring fall out from plume as it passes across Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas? Below are several links to help keep tabs on the fire taken from STAND(Serious Texans Against Nuclear Dumping)

ECO BAD GUYS

SEPTEMBER 1999

INDEPENDENT, LONDON: After insisting throughout its air bombardment of Yugoslavia that its use of depleted uranium munitions against Serb forces posed no hazard to human health, NATO officers in Kosovo now admit that particles from their shells may have contaminated soil near targets in Yugoslavia and could cause "inhalation" problems, especially for children. .... In the eight years since, hundreds of Iraqis living near the battlefields have died from mysterious cancers and grossly deformed children have been born to Iraqi soldiers who fought in the war. British and American veterans suffering from Gulf war syndrome suspect that the use of DU weapons caused their own sickness and cancers. In briefings to international aid workers in Pristina, one K-For officer has warned his audience of "contaminated dust" at the scene of DU munitions explosions and urged aid officials to stay 150 feet away from targets hit in NATO air strikes. But non-governmental organizations have been amazed to hear that NATO cannot - or will not - say where it used DU ordnance against Serb forces. "There is no releasable information about where it was used and when," a K-For spokesman told The Independent. He would give no reason for NATO's refusal to provide these details. INDEPENDENT

AUGUST 1999

BBC: In mid-June scientists at Kozani in northern Greece were reporting that radiation levels were 25% above normal whenever the wind blew from the direction of Kosovo. And Bulgarian researchers reported finding levels eight times higher than usual within Bulgaria itself, and up to 30 times higher in Yugoslavia. DU is a by-product of the enrichment of uranium for making nuclear weapons and reactor fuel. It is 1.7 times heavier than lead, and is used for making armor-piercing rounds.

JULY 1999

GUARDIAN, LONDON: Up to 50,000 K-For troops could be struck by a "Kosovo syndrome" similar to the illness which blighted veterans in the Gulf war, a senior environmentalist warned. Kent Cassels, head of training and education at the World Conservation Monitoring Center in Cambridge, will visit the Balkans next month to assess the environmental damage caused by the crisis, on behalf of the UN Balkans taskforce. He said the use of depleted uranium in NATO cruise missiles, shells and bombs could pose a threat to the peace force .... Last year an American nuclear physicist said up to 90,000 British services personnel in the area might have been poisoned by DU.

MAY 1999

FROM GREEN CROSS INTERNATIONAL: The massive destruction of oil refineries, petrochemical plants chemical and fertilizer factories, pharmaceutical plants, and other environmentally hazardous enterprises puts both the population and natural environment in the Balkans under clear threat. The destruction of Pancevo petrochemical plant, attacks against targets in the municipality of Grocka in close vicinity of the Vinca nuclear reactor, as well as in the municipality of Baric, where a large complex for the production of chloride is located, demonstrate that irreversible environmental catastrophe can happen any time. There are also some reports that depleted uranium weapons, blamed for spiraling numbers of cancer and birth's defects in Iraq, are being used by NATO forces.

Acute air pollution represents immediate danger. Release of toxic and carcinogenic substances, and particulate matters would seriously affect health of the people. ~~ Another matter of serious concern is a significant emission of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which could cause acid rains thus affecting agriculture and forestry in the region.

In the short and medium term, heavy pollution of surface waters may be a serious danger. Contamination of rivers would have negative consequences on the quality of drinking water, and badly damage fresh water ecosystems. Transboundary pollution of the river Danube is not excluded.

One of most dangerous consequences is pollution of underground waters. The region is rich with underground water resources. These waters, lying at different depths, may easily spread oil, oil products, fuel, and chemical pollution to other countries in the region.

THE LIST
Collateral Damage Report

[The following comes from data by Michel Chossudovsky, professor of economics at the University of Ottawa.]

--Cruise missiles use depleted uranium highly toxic to humans, both chemically as a heavy metal and radiologically as an alpha particle emitter. Since the Gulf War, depleted uranium has been a substitute for lead in bullets and missiles. According to scientists it is most likely a major contributor to the Gulf War Syndrome experienced both by the veterans and the people of Iraq. According radiobiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell, president of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health:

"When used in war, the depleted uranium (DU) bursts into flame [and] releasing a deadly radioactive aerosol of uranium, unlike anything seen before. It can kill everyone in a tank. This ceramic aerosol is much lighter than uranium dust. It can travel in air tens of kilometers from the point of release, or be stirred up in dust and resuspended in air with wind or human movement. It is very small and can be breathed in by anyone: a baby, pregnant woman, the elderly, the sick. This radioactive ceramic can stay deep in the lungs for years, irradiating the tissue with powerful alpha particles within about a 30 micron sphere, causing emphysema and/or fibrosis. The ceramic can also be swallowed and do damage to the gastro-intestinal tract. In time, it penetrates the lung tissue and enters into the blood stream. ...It can also initiate cancer or promote cancers which have been initiated by other carcinogens."

--According to Paul Sullivan, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center: "In Yugoslavia, it's expected that depleted uranium will be fired in agricultural areas, places where livestock graze and where crops are grown, thereby introducing the specter of possible contamination of the food chain." MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY

The Environmental News Service reports that all the ecological groups of the warring Balkan countries have joined in signing a Declaration against NATO bombing and pollution in the region. At the initiative of the Macedonian environmental movement, the document was sent around for everyone to sign. It has now been signed by Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Declaration asks that NATO stop the bombing immediately for the safety of the world. Among other things, the declaration attacks the use depleted uranium -- which the Pentagon has admitted is in aircraft shells fired in the Balkans - a highly dangerous substance believed by some to be a major cause of civilian deaths in Iraq. ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS SERVICE

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