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News ::
USUK DU use is a war crime and genocide (english)
16 Apr 2003
Modified: 06:20:37 AM
BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.
iraqi_woman_with_leukemia_27_feb_03.jpg
BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction. DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.
US Forces' Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is 'Illegal'
NEIL MACKAY / Sunday Herald (UK) 30mar03
BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.

Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.

Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: 'Such double-standards are repellent.'

The latest use of DU in the current conflict came on Friday when an American A10 tankbuster plane fired a DU shell, killing one British soldier and injuring three others in a 'friendly fire' incident.

According to a August 2002 report by the UN subcommission, laws which are breached by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'. All of these laws are designed to spare civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.

DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.

It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of birth deformities and cancer in Iraq' following the first Gulf war.

'Cancer appears to have increased between seven and 10 times and deformities between four and six times,' according to the UN subcommission.

The Pentagon has admitted that 320 metric tons of DU were left on the battlefield after the first Gulf war, although Russian military experts say 1000 metric tons is a more accurate figure.

In 1991, the Allies fired 944,000 DU rounds or some 2700 tons of DU tipped bombs. A UK Atomic Energy Authority report said that some 500,000 people would die before the end of this century, due to radioactive debris left in the desert.

The use of DU has also led to birth defects in the children of Allied veterans and is believed to be the cause of the 'worrying number of anophthalmos cases -- babies born without eyes' in Iraq. Only one in 50 million births should be anophthalmic, yet one Baghdad hospital had eight cases in just two years. Seven of the fathers had been exposed to American DU anti-tank rounds in 1991. There have also been cases of Iraqi babies born without the crowns of their skulls, a deformity also linked to DU shelling.

A study of Gulf war veterans showed that 67% had children with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers.

Rokke told the Sunday Herald: 'A nation's military personnel cannot wilfully contaminate any other nation, cause harm to persons and the environment and then ignore the consequences of their actions.

'To do so is a crime against humanity.

'We must do what is right for the citizens of the world -- ban DU.'

He called on the US and UK to 'recognise the immoral consequences of their actions and assume responsibility for medical care and thorough environmental remediation'.

He added: 'We can't just use munitions which leave a toxic wasteland behind them and kill indiscriminately.

'It is equivalent to a war crime.'

Rokke said that coalition troops were currently fighting in the Gulf without adequate respiratory protection against DU contamination.

The Sunday Herald has previously revealed how the Ministry of Defence had test-fired some 6350 DU rounds into the Solway Firth over more than a decade, from 1989 to 1999.

source: http://www.sundayherald.com/32522 31mar03
***********************************************************
http://www.disasternews.net/news/news.php?articleid=1687

He laughs when he talks about battlefields contaminated with radioactive waste. He can't stop laughing when he talks about what he claims is a massive government cover-up. And he keeps laughing when he talks about his health problems, which he attributes to deliberate Army negligence, and which will likely kill him.


Talking to Rokke on the telephone is disturbing enough without him laughing about such horrors. A strange echo accompanies every utterance. When this bizarre sound is pointed out to him, Rokke says he isn't surprised: he claims his phone has been tapped for years.


It may be tempting to dismiss Rokke as a crank or a conspiracy theorist, but Rokke is 35-year-veteran of the U.S. Army, and he isn't just a disgruntled grunt. Rokke ran the U.S. Army's depleted uranium project in the mid-90s, and he was in charge of the Army's effort to clean up depleted uranium after the Persian Gulf War. And he directed the Edwin R. Bradley Radiological Laboratories at Fort McClellan, Ala.


Yet if you type Rokke's name into a search engine on any military website, you will draw a blank, as if he doesn't exist.


If you read through hundreds of pages of government documents and transcriptions of countless government hearings regarding the military use of depleted uranium, not once will you come across his name.


That is more than a little unusual, since Rokke and his team were at the forefront of trying to understand the potential health and environmental hazards posed by the use of depleted uranium, or DU, on the battlefield.

"We were the best they ever had," Rokke claims. He's not bragging. He's laughing again.

The use of DU in combat is a fairly new innovation. It was used for the first time in the Persian Gulf War as the crucial component of armor-piercing, tank-busting munitions.

These munitions are tipped with DU darts that ignite after being fired. The shells are so heavy and hot that they easily rip through steel.

"It's like taking a pencil and pushing it through paper," Rokke said.

This uranium "pencil" then explodes inside its target, creating a deadly "firestorm."

As an anti-tank weapon, "these things are great," Rokke said. They enable U.S. troops to quickly take out enemy tanks at long-range.

According to the Web site of the Deployment Health Support Directorate, DU is "a by-product of the process by which uranium is enriched to produce reactor fuel and nuclear weapons components."

In other words, DU is low-level nuclear waste. According to the same Web site, DU can also contain trace amounts of "neptunium, plutonium, americium, technitium-99 and uranium-236."

A total of 320 tons of DU munitions were fired during the Gulf War. Rokke's job was to figure out how to clean up U.S. tanks, the unfortunate victims of "friendly fire," which had been blown apart by DU rounds.

After years of this kind of this work—in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and on practice ranges in the U.S.—Rokke reached a conclusion in 1996.

He told the Army brass that DU was so dangerous that it had to be banned from combat immediately.

That conclusion, Rokke said, cost him his career.

'Contamination was all over'

Burning tanks, burning oil fields, charred bodies.


This was Kuwait after the Gulf War. Rokke had a mission—clean up U.S. tanks contaminated with DU.

What Rokke found terrified him.

"Oh my God is the only way to describe it," Rokke said. "Contamination was all over."

Rokke and his crew were measuring significant levels of radiation up to 50 meters away from affected tanks: up to 300 millirems an hour in beta and gamma radiation, and alpha radiation from the thousands to the millions in counts per minute (CPM) on a Geiger counter.


"That whole area is still trashed," he said. "It's hotter than heck over there still. This stuff doesn't go away."


His team took three months to clean up 24 tanks for transport back to the U.S.


The Army, Rokke said, took another three years to fully decontaminate the same 24 tanks.

But the contaminated tanks weren't the only problem.

Within 72 hours of their inspections, Rokke and his crew started getting sick.

But they continued with their work. They went back to the U.S. to perform tests on Army bases. They deliberately blew up tanks with DU rounds, then ran over and jumped on the tanks while they were still burning. They videotaped the uranium-oxide clouds pouring out, and they measured the radiation being thrown off.


In the past decade, Rokke said 30 men out of 100 who were closely involved in these operations dropped dead.


Rokke's lungs and kidneys are damaged. He believes that uranium oxide dust is permanently trapped inside his lungs. He has lesions on his brain, pustules on his skin. He suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome. He has reactive airway disease, which means he can't stop wheezing and coughing, and experiences a loss of breath when he exercises. He also has fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain in his muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The VA tested Rokke for uranium levels in his body in 1994. He got the results back two and a half years later. His urine had 5000 times the amount of permissible uranium.

After years of fighting with the VA, Rokke said he managed to get a 40 percent disability, but there is no official acknowledgement that his illnesses were caused by his work with DU.


The Army and the Pentagon continue to insist that DU is safe. Rokke says they know better, because he gave them the proof. He said they can't find evidence of DU's dangers because "they're looking for the wrong stuff, and they're using the wrong procedures."


The problem with DU, he said, is the stuff that's given off when a round is fired. The projectile begins burning immediately, and up to 70 percent of it oxidizes. This aerosolized power—uranium oxide—is the really dangerous stuff, Rokke said, particularly when it is inhaled.


Rokke insists that he and his men were wearing protective equipment—or equipment they thought would protect them. But their face masks were capable of straining out particles of 10 microns or larger. That's as big as the DU particles get, according to the Army and the Pentagon.


Rokke, however, insists that he has measured particles as small as .3 microns, and that scientists at the Livermore laboratories have measured them as small as .1 micron.

Thus these safety precautions, which are still in place now, are utterly useless, he said.

'I'm a warrior and a patriot'

About one quarter of the 700,000 troops sent to the Persian Gulf War have reported some sort of Gulf War-related illness, and Rokke is convinced that DU has something to do with it, along with the host of other chemicals to which troops were exposed, including low levels of sarin gas, smoke from oil fires, countless pesticides as well as anti-nerve gas tablets which troops were required to ingest.


If Rokke is right about the dangers of DU, why does the Department of Defense continue to use it and insist that it is safe?


"When you go to war, your purpose is to kill," Rokke said, "and DU is the best killing thing we got."


Rokke believes that the U.S. military is putting more emphasis on firepower than on the health and safety of its own troops.


He received a memo in the early 90s he says proves his theory.


Dated March 1, 1991, the memo was written by Lt. Col. M.V. Ziehmn at the Los Alamos Laboratories in New Mexico.


"There has been and continues to be a concern regarding the impact of dU [sic] on the environment. Therefore, if no one makes a case for the effectiveness of dU on the battlefield, dU rounds may become politically unacceptable and thus, be deleted from the arsenal," the memo reads. "If dU penetrators proved their worth during our recent combat activities, then we should assure their future existence (until something better is developed) through Service/DoD proponency. If proponency is not garnered, it is possible that we stand to lose a valuable combat capability. I believe we should keep this sensitive issue at mind when after action reports [sic] are written."

The meaning of this memo is quite clear, Rokke said. Since DU munitions are so effective, they must continue to be used in combat, regardless of the environmental or health consequences.


The other issue is financial, he said. If the true effects of DU were known, cleanup costs would be absolutely staggering.


DU contaminated areas extend much farther than the Persian Gulf battlefields. Rokke said DU is regularly used in practice maneuvers in the U.S., namely in Indiana, Florida, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Maryland and Puerto Rico. Then there's Kosovo, where DU rounds were used to take out Serbian tanks.


As the U.S. stands on the brink of another war with Iraq, Rokke said he wants to make sure the American public fully understands that this war will be far worse that the last one, and that numbers of troops sickened by DU is likely to be much higher.


Rokke insists he is no pacifist.


"I'm a warrior and a patriot," he said. Given a verifiable threat against the U.S., “I would go to war in a heartbeat."


But he said that he is speaking out for the good of American troops, and for anyone, including Iraqi troops and civilians, who could be exposed to DU.


"Am I pushing for peace today? Yes, I am," he said.


Before a war with Iraq can even be contemplated, Rokke said, DU has to be removed from every arsenal in the world.


In order for that to happen, however, the Pentagon would have to admit that Doug Rokke is right, and that would come at a price that no one has even imagined. But money can’t restore the lives of those that Rokke says have died from DU, and money isn’t going to get the uranium oxide out of his lungs. There are people at the Pentagon who understand all this, Rokke claims, and that he deems unconscionable.


"I hope God slam-dunks their butts, because this is absolutely criminal," he said.

www.web-light.nl/VISIE/extremedeformitie...

See also:
www.web-light.nl/VISIE/extremedeformitie...
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Comments

Utter Bullsh*t - No, Make That Another Lie (english)
16 Apr 2003
This is one of the 'big lies' that the hate-America/loony left loves to repead ad nauseam.

Reality:

1) DU use is banned under no treaty that the US is a party to.

2) At least as important - is that there is not a single valid study showing that exposure to DU from military use causes ANY health problems. Here are excerpts from the World Health Organization report, located at

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs257/en/

In fact, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, turned -down- an offer of the WHO to study the issue further.

I'd call you a dumb*ass, but as there is real malice involved here, you're promoted to assh*le. Congratulations.

From the report:

For the general population, neither civilian nor military use of DU is likely to produce exposures to DU significantly above normal background levels of uranium. Therefore, individual exposure assessments for DU will normally not be required. Exposure assessments based on environmental measurements may, however, be needed for public information and reassurance.

Absorption of depleted uranium

About 98% of uranium entering the body via ingestion is not absorbed, but is eliminated via the faeces. Typical gut absorption rates for uranium in food and water are about 2% for soluble and about 0.2% for insoluble uranium compounds.
The fraction of uranium absorbed into the blood is generally greater following inhalation than following ingestion of the same chemical form. The fraction will also depend on the particle size distribution. For some soluble forms, more than 20% of the inhaled material could be absorbed into blood.

Of the uranium that is absorbed into the blood, approximately 70% will be filtered by the kidney and excreted in the urine within 24 hours; this amount increases to 90% within a few days.
Potential health effects of exposure to depleted uranium

In the kidneys, the proximal tubules (the main filtering component of the kidney) are considered to be the main site of potential damage from chemical toxicity of uranium. There is limited information from human studies indicating that the severity of effects on kidney function and the time taken for renal function to return to normal both increase with the level of uranium exposure.

In a number of studies on uranium miners, an increased risk of lung cancer was demonstrated, but this has been attributed to exposure from radon decay products. Lung tissue damage is possible leading to a risk of lung cancer that increases with increasing radiation dose. However, because DU is only weakly radioactive, very large amounts of dust (on the order of grams) would have to be inhaled for the additional risk of lung cancer to be detectable in an exposed group. Risks for other radiation-induced cancers, including leukaemia, are considered to be very much lower than for lung cancer.

Erythema (superficial inflammation of the skin) or other effects on the skin are unlikely to occur even if DU is held against the skin for long periods (weeks).
No consistent or confirmed adverse chemical effects of uranium have been reported for the skeleton or liver.
No reproductive or developmental effects have been reported in humans.

Although uranium released from embedded fragments may accumulate in the central nervous system (CNS) tissue, and some animal and human studies are suggestive of effects on CNS function, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the few studies reported.


People near an aircraft crash may be exposed to DU dusts if counterweights are exposed to prolonged intense heat. Significant exposure would be rare, as large masses of DU counterweights are unlikely to ignite and would oxidize only slowly. Exposures of clean-up and emergency workers to DU following aircraft accidents are possible, but normal occupational protection measures would prevent any significant exposure.
See also:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs257/en/