U.S. troops contaminated with radiation

  1. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...p-156685c.html

    Poisoned?
    Shocking report reveals local troops
    may be victims of america's high-tech weapons
    By JUAN GONZALEZ
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    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.
    "I got sick instantly in June," said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. "My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach."
    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.
    If so, the men - Sgt. Hector Vega, Sgt. Ray Ramos, Sgt. Agustin Matos and Cpl. Anthony Yonnone - are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.
    The 442nd, made up for the most part of New York cops, firefighters and correction officers, is based in Orangeburg, Rockland County. Dispatched to Iraq last Easter, the unit's members have been providing guard duty for convoys, running jails and training Iraqi police. The entire company is due to return home later this month.
    "These are amazing results, especially since these soldiers were military police not exposed to the heat of battle," said Dr. Asaf Duracovic, who examined the G.I.s and performed the testing that was funded by The News.
    "Other American soldiers who were in combat must have more depleted uranium exposure," said Duracovic, a colonel in the Army Reserves who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
    While working at a military hospital in Delaware, he was one of the first doctors to discover unusual radiation levels in Gulf War veterans. He has since become a leading critic of the use of depleted uranium in warfare.
    Depleted uranium, a waste product of the uranium enrichment process, has been used by the U.S. and British military for more than 15 years in some artillery shells and as armor plating for tanks. It is twice as heavy as lead.
    Because of its density, "It is the superior heavy metal for armor to protect tanks and to penetrate armor," Pentagon spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said.
    The Army and Air Force fired at least 127 tons of depleted uranium shells in Iraq last year, Kilpatrick said. No figures have yet been released for how much the Marines fired.
    Kilpatrick said about 1,000 G.I.s back from the war have been tested by the Pentagon for depleted uranium and only three have come up positive - all as a result of shrapnel from DU shells.
    But the test results for the New York guardsmen - four of nine positives for DU - suggest the potential for more extensive radiation exposure among coalition troops and Iraqi civilians.
    Several Army studies in recent years have concluded that the low-level radiation emitted when shells containing DU explode poses no significant dangers. But some independent scientists and a few of the Army's own reports indicate otherwise.
    As a result, depleted uranium weapons have sparked increasing controversy around the world. In January 2003, the European Parliament called for a moratorium on their use after reports of an unusual number of leukemia deaths among Italian soldiers who served in Kosovo, where DU weapons were used.
    I keep getting weaker. What is happening to me?
    The Army says that only soldiers wounded by depleted uranium shrapnel or who are inside tanks during an explosion face measurable radiation exposure.
    But as far back as 1979, Leonard Dietz, a physicist at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory upstate, discovered that DU-contaminated dust could travel for long distances.
    Dietz, who pioneered the technology to isolate uranium isotopes, accidentally discovered that air filters with which he was experimenting had collected radioactive dust from a National Lead Industries Plant that was producing DU 26 miles away. His discovery led to a shutdown of the plant.
    "The contamination was so heavy that they had to remove the topsoil from 52 properties around the plant," Dietz said.
    All humans have at least tiny amounts of natural uranium in their bodies because it is found in water and in the food supply, Dietz said. But natural uranium is quickly and harmlessly excreted by the body.
    Uranium oxide dust, which lodges in the lungs once inhaled and is not very soluble, can emit radiation to the body for years.
    "Anybody, civilian or soldier, who breathes these particles has a permanent dose, and it's not going to decrease very much over time," said Dietz, who retired in 1983 after 33 years as nuclear physicist. "In the long run ... veterans exposed to ceramic uranium oxide have a major problem."
    Critics of DU have noted that the Army's view of its dangers has changed over time.
    Before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a 1990 Army report noted that depleted uranium is "linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage."
    It was during the Gulf War that U.S. A-10 Warthog "tank buster" planes and Abrams tanks first used DU artillery on a mass scale. The Pentagon says it fired about 320 tons of DU in that war and that smaller amounts were also used in the Serbian province of Kosovo.
    In the Gulf War, Army brass did not warn soldiers about any risks from exploding DU shells. An unknown number of G.I.s were exposed by shrapnel, inhalation or handling battlefield debris.
    Some veterans groups blame DU contamination as a factor in Gulf War syndrome, the term for a host of ailments that afflicted thousands of vets from that war.
    Under pressure from veterans groups, the Pentagon commissioned several new studies. One of those, published in 2000, concluded that DU, as a heavy metal, "could pose a chemical hazard" but that Gulf War veterans "did not experience intakes high enough to affect their health."
    Pentagon spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said Army followup studies of 70 DU-contaminated Gulf War veterans have not shown serious health effects.
    "For any heavy metal, there is no such thing as safe," Kilpatrick said. "There is an issue of chemical toxicity, and for DU it is raised as radiological toxicity as well."
    But he said "the overwhelming conclusion" from studies of those who work with uranium "show it has not produced any increase in cancers."
    Several European studies, however, have linked DU to chromosome damage and birth defects in mice. Many scientists say we still don't know enough about the long-range effects of low-level radiation on the body to say any amount is safe.
    Britain's national science academy, the Royal Society, has called for identifying where DU was used and is urging a cleanup of all contaminated areas.
    "A large number of American soldiers [in Iraq] may have had significant exposure to uranium oxide dust," said Dr. Thomas Fasey, a pathologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center and an expert on depleted uranium. "And the health impact is worrisome for the future."
    As for the soldiers of the 442nd, they're sick, frustrated and confused. They say when they arrived in Iraq no one warned them about depleted uranium and no one gave them dust masks.
    Experts behind News probe
    As part of the investigation by the Daily News, Dr. Asaf Duracovic, a nuclear medicine expert who has conducted extensive research on depleted uranium, examined the nine soldiers from the 442nd Military Police in late December and collected urine specimens from each.
    Another member of his team, Prof. Axel Gerdes, a geologist at Goethe University in Frankfurt who specializes in analyzing uranium isotopes, performed repeated tests on the samples over a week-long period. He used a state-of-the art procedure called multiple collector inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.
    Only about 100 laboratories worldwide have the same capability to identify and measure various uranium isotopes in minute quantities, Gerdes said.
    Gerdes concluded that four of the men had depleted uranium in their bodies. Depleted uranium, which does not occur in nature, is created as a waste product of uranium enrichment when some of the highly radioactive isotopes in natural uranium, U-235 and U-234, are extracted.
    Several of the men, according to Duracovic, also had minute traces of another uranium isotope, U-236, that is produced only in a nuclear reaction process.
    "These men were almost certainly exposed to radioactive weapons on the battlefield," Duracovic said.
    He and Gerdes plan to issue a scientific paper on their study of the soldiers at the annual meeting of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine in Finland this year.
    When DU shells explode, they permanently contaminate their target and the area immediately around it with low-level radioactivity.

    Originally published on April 3, 2004
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.democracynow.org/article..../04/05/1356248

    Broadcast Exclusive: U.S. Soldiers Contaminated With Depleted Uranium Speak Out
    Monday, April 5th, 2004
    http://www.democracynow.org/article..../04/05/1356248
    A special investigation by Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News has found four of nine soldiers of the 442nd Military Police Company of the New York Army National Guard returning from Iraq tested positive for depleted uranium contamination. They are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.
    After repeatedly being denied testing for depleted uranium from Army doctors, the soldiers contacted The News who paid to have them tested as part of their investigation.
    Testing for uranium isotopes in 24 hours' worth of urine samples can cost as much as $1,000 each.
    In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, three of the contaminated soldiers speak out.
    Army officials at Fort Dix and Walter Reed Army Medical Center are now rushing to test all returning members of the 442nd. More than a dozen members are back in the U.S. but the rest of the company, mostly comprised of New York City cops, firefighters and correction officers, is not due to return from Iraq until later this month.
    After learning of The News' investigation, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) blasted Pentagon officials yesterday for not properly screening soldiers returning from Iraq.
    Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she will write to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld demanding answers and soon will introduce legislation to require health screenings for all returning troops.
    Depleted Uranium is considered to be the most effective anti-tank weapon ever devised. It is made from nuclear waste left over from the making nuclear weapons and fuel. The public first became aware the US military was using DU weapons during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. But it had been used as far back as the 1973 Yom Kippur war in Israel.
    Amid growing controversy in Europe and Japan, the European Parliament called last year for a moratorium on its use.
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/loca...p-156686c.html
    Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center recently told Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos that a biopsy revealed his rash comes from leishmaniasis, a disease spread by sandflies and contracted by hundreds of G.I.s in Iraq.
    Until last week, however, Army doctors refused requests by Ramos and a few others in the 442nd Military Police to have their urine analyzed for depleted uranium, a procedure that can cost up to $1,000.
    Three of the nine tested in the Daily News investigation-Sgt. Herbert Reed, Spec. William Ruiz, and Spec. Anthony Phillip - also were tested by the Army in November. But the results were withheld for months despite repeated inquiries.
    Last week, after Army officials received press inquiries about the 442nd and discovered that a group from the company had sought independent testing, an administrator at Walter Reed told Reed and Phillip that their tests from November had come back negative for depleted uranium.
    The News' tests also showed negative results for Reed and Phillip, but Ramos tested positive. The soldiers of the 442nd are not the only ones to raise questions about depleted uranium in Samawah.
    In August, a contingent of Dutch soldiers arrived in the town to replace the Americans. Press reports in the Netherlands revealed that Dutch authorities questioned the U.S. beforehand about the possible use of DU ammunition in Samawah. According to Sgt. Juan Vega, senior medic for the 442nd, the Dutch swept the area around the train depot with Geiger counters and their medics confided to him they had found high radiation levels. The Dutch unit refused to stay in the depot, Vega said, and pitched camp in the desert instead.
    And in February, after Japanese troops moved into the same town, a Japanese journalist equipped with a Geiger counter reported finding radiation readings 300 times higher than background levels.
    "There'd been a lot of fighting in Samawah before we got there," said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, 41. "The place was dusty as hell, and the sandstorms were hitting us pretty good."
    Felled at first by what he thought was the sweltering Iraqi heat, Ramos expected to recover quickly.
    "My health just kept getting worse," he said. "I tried to work out each day to get through it but I kept getting weaker. A numbing sensation hit my hands and my face, and the migraine headaches became constant. I was afraid I was having a stroke."
    He was sent first to a Baghdad hospital for treatment, but with no neurologist available, he was shipped out to Germany and eventually to the U.S.
    "I had rashes on my stomach for four months," Ramos said. "And now, whenever I [lie] down, my hands fall asleep."
    Doctors at Walter Reed have been stumped. They've given Ramos braces to wear on his arms at night to try to prevent his hands from falling asleep, and they've prescribed a host of muscle relaxants and painkillers, but nothing seems to work.
    "I have four kids. What happens to them now if I can't work?" said Ramos, who was looking forward to a transfer from the NYPD Housing Bureau to the robbery unit in Brooklyn's 75th Precinct once he returns from active duty. "I need them to investigate what's going on with my body."
    Cpl. Anthony Yonnone, 35, a cop with the Veterans Administration in Fishkill, N.Y., has the highest DU levels of the four soldiers who tested positive, said Dr. Asaf Duracovic, who performed the testing funded by The News.
    Yonnone said his nausea, skin rashes and migraines began in Samawah. "The headaches are constant and they don't want to stop," he said. "The rashes seem to come and go.
    "We were always passing blownout tanks when we were out doing patrols."
    He recalled that American units in the town burned trash and waste each night in big drums near the train depot. "The combination of smoke and sand when we lit those fires covered everybody," he said.
    Evacuated from Iraq in August for minor surgery, Yonnone was sent first to Germany.
    "They gave us a questionnaire. I marked that I wasn't exposed to depleted uranium because nobody had even told us what it was back in Iraq," he said.


    Originally published on April 3, 2004
  5. by   gwenith
    How sad - here is the link to more stories about depleted uranium and the possible effects on health. It is too much to copy and there are several articles on the same theme.

    http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/du/
  6. by   NurseHardee
    This certainly has to be the ultimate betrayal of 'our troops' by the people that always talk about how much they care for them and respect them.

    This ranks right up there with when the US federal government in 1932 used General MacArthur to attack a demonstration of unemployed WW1 vets marching in Washington whilke singing 'God Bless America'. But then these penniless vets got attacked by swords, tear gas, and horses, as their few belongings were set on fire! Who even knows about this shameful episode in US history today? I had to go to a homeless website to even find a account of this government betrayal of US troops.

    Nurse Hardee
    `````````````````````````````````````````````````` ``
    Bonus Marchers: Homeless Vets Routed from DC in 1932

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    FWD Washington Post - April 12, 1999; Page A01

    The Century: Washington Comes of Age
    Another in a biweekly series of stories about the people
    and events that shaped Washington in the Twentieth Century.

    ROUTING A RAGTAG AMERICAN ARMY

    By Linda Wheeler - Washington Post Staff Writer

    The clatter of horses' hooves and the rumble of tanks cut through the hot
    July day and reached Fred Blacher as he waited for a trolley along
    Pennsylvania Avenue.

    A parade, he thought.

    But when he turned, the teenage Blacher saw hundreds of soldiers marching
    from the White House -- and this was clearly no festive demonstration. They
    were heading toward the crowds of jobless World War I veterans who had
    encamped in Washington, living for months in parks and empty buildings,
    some with small children. To them, Washington was as good a place as any to
    be homeless.

    Daily, thousands of the veterans who came to be known as the Bonus Marchers
    pleaded with Congress for payment of the money owed them for war service.
    It was 1932, deep into the Great Depression, and those bonuses held many of
    the men's last hopes for finding money to pay rent or feed their families.

    Steadily, the troops marched, joined by D.C. police. They shoved veterans
    off the curbs and drove them from abandoned buildings. Behind the troops,
    the cavalry rode, scattering Blacher and hundreds of other spectators.
    Before that afternoon ended, Blacher, now 83 and living in Silver Spring,
    would be enveloped in tear gas and struck by a blow from the flat side of a
    cavalryman's sword. The encampments would be set ablaze, soldiers would be
    forced to bear arms against their own, and legions of families would be
    rousted.

    The capital has been the setting for thousands of demonstrations in the
    last century, and Pennsylvania Avenue the scene of presidential inaugural
    parades, victory marches and civil rights demonstrations. Yet few events
    lasted as long as the Bonus Marchers' protest or ended so violently.

    By the time the marchers descended on Washington, the fallout from the
    stock market crash nearly three years earlier had left hundreds of
    thousands of people jobless and destitute.

    When the World War I soldiers came home victorious in 1918, there were
    plenty of good jobs and a vigorous economy. In that climate, the veterans
    supported a 1924 congressional bill that put off the promised bonus for
    wartime service until 1945, when they would receive their due plus
    interest. A soldier owed $400 would collect $1,000 by waiting until 1945.

    However, the Depression replaced any sense of prosperity, and many veterans
    began pressing their congressional representatives to help them get their
    hands on the only asset they had left: the promised money. In early 1932,
    Rep. Wright Patman, of Texas, responded with a bill that would immediately
    pay the full value of the certificates.

    In mid-May of 1932, 300 veterans set out from Oregon under the leadership
    of 34-year-old Walter W. Waters, an unemployed cannery worker. They dubbed
    themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force, and their goal was to get the
    Patman bill passed.

    As they traveled the country by rail, they gathered volunteers and a lot of
    media attention. Irving Bernstein wrote in "The Lean Years" that many
    marchers said they came to Washington because there was no reason to stay
    home.

    "A Pole from Chicago, at one time with the 39th Division . . . slept in
    flophouses, usually with other veterans. One day they got to talking about
    the bonus and, 'the next thing we knew we were on our way.' "

    >From young Fred Blacher, who would see the marchers as he passed through
    downtown, they elicited sympathy. In his own worn knickers, high socks and
    shoes, he was not much better off, but his father had managed to open a
    shoe store after losing everything in the crash. Looking at the veterans,
    he would say to himself, "poor guys."

    By July, their leader, Waters, said 80,000 veterans had come to Washington.
    Police said the number was closer to 22,000. Either way, they were a city
    within a city.

    Washington Star reporter Thomas R. Henry wrote that they were "a fair cross
    section" of America, with "truck drivers and blacksmiths, steel workers and
    coal miners, stenographers and common laborers. They are black and white.
    Some talk fluently of their woes. Some can hardly muster enough English to
    tell where they came from and why."

    The "dusty, weary, melancholy" men were in a struggle "which is too severe
    for them," Henry wrote. "They have come to the point where they recognize
    the futility of fighting adverse fate any longer. . . . The bonus march may
    as well be described as a flight from reality -- a flight from hunger, from
    the cries of starving children, from the humiliation of accepting money
    from worn, querulous women, from the harsh rebuffs of prospective
    employers."

    Now that they had landed in Washington, the city had to somehow take care
    of them. The new chief of police, Pelham D. Glassford -- whose only
    experience with police before getting his job was receiving a speeding
    ticket -- was assigned the task. He was a World War I veteran and seemed to
    understand the men.

    He arranged for the veterans to move into four empty buildings, on
    Pennsylvania Avenue near Third Street, that were available until October,
    when they were to be razed. Eventually, that land would become part of the
    Federal Triangle.

    But still they came, and four campsites sprang up, including the Mall,
    where veterans built shelters of crates, tin cans, old newspapers and bits
    of tar paper. American flags decorated the simple homes.

    Glassford set up a commissary in a garage at 473 G St. NW and persuaded
    bakers, coffee distributors, meat suppliers and others to donate goods. The
    District's medical and dental societies set up a 50-bed hospital near the
    Capitol.

    The marchers organized their own military police force of 300 to keep
    order. One of their assignments was to prevent about 200 determined
    communists from moving in. The veterans were not anti-government; they saw
    themselves as good citizens who had come to Washington to get well-deserved
    help.

    For weeks, about 12,000 kept a vigil at the Capitol. When Patman's bill
    failed to pass the Senate on June 17, they sang "America the Beautiful" on
    the Capitol steps and then formed ranks and marched back to their camps.

    Rather than be discouraged by the bill's defeat, the Bonusers, as they were
    called in the press, grew more determined to sway Congress.

    Herbert Hoover, who had spent his administration ignoring the economic
    crisis, wanted the publicity-drawing veterans out of town. He authorized
    Congress to spend $100,000 to buy them train tickets home. The travel
    expenses eventually would be deducted from their war bonus.

    About 6,000 marchers took the money -- but then many stayed in Washington
    anyway.

    District residents embraced them, delivering coffee and sandwiches and
    inviting some of the marchers' families to share their homes. But the city
    commissioners, worried about riots, wanted the marchers out and daily
    pressed the police chief to get rid of them. The commissioners insisted
    that Glassford evict them from the federal buildings by July 28 on the
    pretense that demolition was about to begin.

    Glassford drew on his personal relationship with the men to persuade those
    in one building to leave by late morning, but he refused to push the other
    veterans around the city any harder that day. The commissioners appealed to
    Hoover to bring in the military, saying that Glassford had lost control.

    The president responded promptly.

    "You will have United States troops proceed immediately to the scene of the
    disorder," Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley told Gen. Douglas MacArthur
    in a memo dated 2:55 p.m. July 28, 1932. "Surround the affected area and
    clear it without delay."

    About two hours later, four troops of cavalry, four companies of infantry,
    a mounted machine gun squadron and six whippet tanks lined up on
    Pennsylvania Avenue near 12th Street. Some of America's greatest military
    minds were on hand. MacArthur, the commander, was there with Maj. Dwight D.
    Eisenhower and one of his officers, George S. Patton Jr.

    "I remember MacArthur with his hands on his hips," Blacher said.

    Constance McLaughlin Green, in her book, "Washington, a History of the
    Capital, 1800-1955," gave this account: "In the lead rode General Douglas
    MacArthur, his medals shining on his immaculate uniform, his boot gleaming,
    his horse perfectly groomed. It was a magnificent sight. The bedraggled men
    sitting on the curb and the crowd gathered nearby watched with fascination."

    As the horses pounded toward the awe-struck veterans, reporters at the
    White House were being told the Secret Service had learned that those
    resisting eviction were "entirely of the Communist element."

    Tear gas bombs drove the demonstrators into a frantic retreat as spectators
    ran for cover.

    "The mob, the horses, the tear gas," Blacher said, flinging his arms to
    embrace a huge expanse. "There were bricks being thrown. All those guys
    running and screaming. It was awful."

    Chased by the cavalry, he raced across the avenue and onto the Mall. The
    horsemen swept behind them. Blacher went down.

    "What the hell you doing?" he remembers yelling at the soldier on
    horseback. "The guy just kind of shrugged." Blacher, who was not badly hurt
    by the blow, stayed around to watch the rest of the operation.

    The shelters built of scrap material caught fire quickly when ignited by
    either departing veterans or impatient soldiers. To the heat and humidity
    of the day were added the incessant crackle of a spreading fire, black
    billowing smoke and the wail of sirens.

    By midnight, the police and troops from Fort Myer had driven the
    demonstrators from downtown and from campsites in Northeast and Southeast
    Washington.

    >From the White House that evening, Hoover saw a red glow in the east toward
    the Anacostia River that indicated the largest site, Camp Marks, had been
    torched. Aides reported the next day that the president was pleased.

    The routed veterans departed, with most carrying their few belongings on
    their backs and a few driving decrepit cars packed with weary men. Troops
    blocked the bridges leading back into the city, and while many men weren't
    certain where they would head, some went to Johnstown, Pa., where they had
    heard they would be welcome.

    Blacher gave up on catching a trolley and walked to his father's store at
    433 Seventh St. SW, where the Department of Housing and Urban Development
    building stands now. He excitedly told him the news.

    "We didn't have TV in those days, you know, and nobody really knew what was
    going on."

    The press ran a list of casualties the next day that included one marcher
    who was shot to death by police and 26 veterans, 15 residents, 11 police
    officers, five soldiers and one news photographer who had been hospitalized.

    In 1935, Congress passed the bill providing for the immediate cash payment
    of the war bonuses.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt vetoed it.

    In 1936, FDR vetoed the same bill again. But that year, the House of
    Representatives overrode him 326-61 on Jan. 24, and on Jan. 27, the Senate
    voted to override.

    The next day's Washington Post headline read: "Soldier Bonus Becomes Law as
    Senate Crushes Veto, 76-19; Full Payment Sped for June 15."

    [Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.]

    END FORWARD

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    distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
    interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
    educational purposes only.**

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  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    The Silent Genocide form America:
    http://www.ratical.org/radiation/DU/MirakiSGfromA.pdf

    http://www.uraniumweaponsconference....t_shock_en.pdf

    http://www.uraniumweaponsconference....t_press_en.pdf

    http://www.uraniumweaponsconference....spolicy_en.pdf

    The illegality of depleted uranium weapons:
    http://www.uraniumweaponsconference....illegality.pdf


    Uranium Weapons Cover-ups - a Crime against Humankind
    Piotr Bein, Ph.D., M.A.Sc., P.Eng.,
    Karen Parker, J.D., Diplome (Strasbourg)
    Paper prepared in January 2003, for a monograph Politics and Environmental Policy in the 21st Century, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade

    ...They are no more
    All powerful.
    As their secrets
    Are unfolded...
    Afon Claerwen, 28 November 2002

    Abstract
    Key words:
    radiological weapons, humanitarian law, crimes against humanity, information warfare
    Munitions that contain low-grade uranium 235 - insufficient to trigger nuclear explosion - are chemical-radiological weapons. They contain other toxic-radioactive elements and have indiscriminate effects. They are illegal by virtue of international conventions, laws and customs of war. When used in populated areas or in the presence of numerous troops (enemy or friendly), they become weapons of delayed but mass destruction (WMD). Fatal consequences of depleted uranium (DU) armour-piercing ammunition emerged in veterans and civilians after wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. While the victims remain neglected, hundreds of tons of uranium from weapons developed in recent years against hard and buried targets have polluted Afghanistan. Up-coming war scenarios involve larger chemical-radiological contamination potential.

    The military, governments, and nuclear and weapon industries fail to or inadequately disclose the effects of uranium weapons, and manipulate inquiries of international health organizations. The media act as a propaganda outlet for these groups. The purpose of Information Operations behind the propaganda is to influence perceptions and actions of foreign and domestic public, governments, and intelligence. A spiraling group self-deception perpetuates the propaganda for fear of liability and criminal responsibility. Covering up information on war crimes and crimes against humanity, and military and foreign policy based on such information, are crimes themselves. ...

    Health effects of uranium exposure

    The health effects depend on the quantity of uranium oxide dust inhaled or ingested, frequency, and duration of exposure. A high initial dose can cause acute respiratory failure and poisoning, leading to death within a few days. Smaller doses cause hair loss, reduced regeneration of skin and nails, physical weakness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, and immune and peripheral nervous system damage manifested up to a few months after the initial exposure. After a year and longer, medium to high doses may cause birth defects in infants of pregnant women, leukemia, and rapid-onset cancers, followed later by slower cancers. Smaller initial doses longer-term may produce multiple physical and mental symptoms, and nervous debilitation.
    Damage of immune system in exposed population could be a major mortality factor in Afghanistan, where several hundred tons of uranium was released from hard-target weapons. Plagued by winter cold and starvation, uranium casualties with reduced immunity would have greatly reduced chances of surviving common diseases. Many could have died without being diagnosed with uranium exposure. The same factor could increase morbidity and mortality in Iraq and Yugoslavia - both countries under international embargo, and consequent impoverishment of the population coupled with reduced ability of local authorities to care for the sick. A team from the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) reported after a visit to hard-target bomb sites in Afghanistan [www.umrc.net]: "The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by Uranium."

    The acute symptoms above have been reported by Gulf War veterans, including post-conflict military personnel exposed to targets contaminated by DU. The slower onset illness and disorders have been reported by Gulf veterans, and doctors and health researchers who have worked with civilians exposed to DU in Iraq. Leukemia, cancers and birth deformities are on an increase among international soldiers and policemen who served in Bosnia, and among local population exposed to DU ammunition. The rates of all cancers in Sarajevo between 1995 and 2000 increased from 46 to 264 per 100,000 according to a Sarajevo registry report of January 2001 [www.llrc.org].
    As the contaminants spread over the years, so will the health problems. Low but chronic exposure risks may arise from air, water or food contamination in areas surrounding a population. The contaminants could build up and bio-accumulate over years from the initial fallout. Local terrain, ecosystem, meteorological conditions, agricultural practice and food habits are some of the factors that would determine the secondary exposures and doses.


    Official US and UK government documents have been warning about toxic-radioactive risks of DU as follows.

    A 1983 literature study by the Batelle Pacific Nothwest Laboratory for the US Department of the Army, clearly discerns the two types of DU hazards: "The chemical toxicity is the critical limit for soluble uranium compounds, and the critical organ is the kidney. Insoluble compounds present a [radiological] hazard primarily to the lungs [...] The exposure limits for toxicity are more conservative than most of the radiological limits and thus protect from either type of insult." [Mishima et al., 1983] A 1984 US Federal Aviation Agency document cautions the investigators of aircraft crashes against the hazard from DU in counterweights of civilian airplanes: particles inhaled or ingested are toxic and can cause long-term irradiation of the internal tissue.

    A 1993 US General Accounting Office report GAO/NSIAD-93-90 stated, "Inhaled insoluble [DU] oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and toxicity risk." A 1995 US Army Environmental Policy Institute report warned, "Toxicologically, DU poses a health risk when internalized. Radiologically, the radiation emitted by DU results in health risks from both external and internal exposures [...] If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences."
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.mod.uk/issues/depleted_uranium/index.htm
    http://www.mod.uk/issues/gulfwar/index.html
    http://www.projectshad.org/
    http://www.thepowerhour.com/articles/news_1.htm
    MoD Accept DU has the potential to cause ill health
    British Troops serving in Iraq are now being issued with an F Med 1018.
    Why not before the Iraq war, Balkans or Gulf War?
    Are service personnel from other nations aware that British Troops carry this warning card?
    Are Iraqi Civilians aware of this warning card?
    Are Civilians aware of this warning card who around the world live near test firing range's.
    Copies of this card should be made for the Iraqi civilians to turn up at British & American Military establishments in Iraq and ask for testing as it was the US and the UK that used Uranium Munitions.
    Please distribute the faxed, photo-copy of the card that was sent to me.
    REMEMBER The MoD have always told Gulf War 1 Vet's DU IS SAFE another demonstration of an UNTRUTH.
    It was said that DU was experimental during Gulf War 1 - then is this another demonstration of the breaking of the Nuremberg Code by observing the health effects on the Veterans after the War?
    http://www.mod.uk/issues/depleted_uranium/index.htm
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.thepowerhour.com/articles/umrc_1.htm
    February 6, 2004
    Warning of uranium contamination risks to
    NGO staff, Coalition forces, foreign contract
    personnel and civilians in Iraq
    February 6, 2004 - Recently completed laboratory analyses show two members of Uranium Medical Research Centre's (UMRC) field investigation team are contaminated with Depleted Uranium (DU). The two field staff, one from Canada and the other, from Beirut, toured Iraq for thirteen days in October 2003; five months after the cessation of Operation Iraqi Freedom's aerial bombing and ground force campaign. Using mass spectrometry, UMRC's partner laboratory in Germany measured DU in both team members' urine samples.
    The UMRC team surveyed US and British controlled combat areas and bomb-sites in southern Iraq, including Baghdad, An Nasiriyah, As Suweiriah and Al Basra (details can be found at UMRC.net, Abu Khasib to Al Ah'qaf: Field Investigation Report). The conditions responsible for the team's DU contamination are considered to be inhalation of resuspended ultra-fine soil and dust particles saturated with uranium and airborne uranium oxides and metallic particulate. Uranium was used in anti-tank penetrators, suppression ordnance and bunker-defeat warheads deployed during the 26 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom by both US and UK forces. The contamination of UMRC's team members occurring over a two-week period, many months after the main conflict, represents a risk to civilians, non-governmental organisations' staff, Coalition armed forces and foreign contractors and diplomatic staff.
    In 1997, UMRC was the first study group to detect DU in the urine of Canadian, British and US troops who served in Gulf War I. The urinary excretion of battlefield uranium was identified six years following exposure. In January 2004, the US Department of Veterans Affairs admitted it had detected DU in the urine of US forces who are not retaining DU shrapnel, in 2000, eight years after Desert Storm. In 2001 and again in 2002, UMRC measured high concentrations of artificial uranium containing the synthetic isotope, 236U, in Afghan civilians exposed to the detonation plumes of bombs deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom.
    In November 2003, the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) released a formal statement to the Guardian disclaiming UMRC's Operation Telic findings of high levels of radioactivity in British-led battlefields. The MOD stated unequivocally that battlefield uranium residues remain stable inside defeated Iraqi tanks and cannot be made biologically available to humans. Since then, the MOD has found unusually high concentrations of uranium excreted in the urine of its 1st Armoured Division troops who served in Basra (September 2003, UK DU Oversight Board Meeting minutes, Gulf Veterans Illnesses Unit, UK Ministry of Defence). The MOD's recent findings in its troops now deployed back to Germany, coupled with the contamination of UMRC's staff demonstrate the need to initiate immediate solutions to protect exposed civilians and foreign personnel in Iraq.
    Preliminary results of UMRC's laboratory analysis of field samples of civilian urine, soils and water samples indicate uranium contamination in several Iraqi cities and battlefields. Details of UMRC's findings from US and British controlled battlefields and bombsites will be released later this month (February 2004). UMRC has offered its assistance to the United Nation's Environment Program (UNEP) to guide UNEP's post-conflict study team to radiologically contaminated bombsites and battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. UMRC urges UNEP to undertake immediate studies and lead the implementation of a radiation protection program for Iraqi and Afghan civilians as well as a supervised environmental clean-up program, as early as possible.
    For information:
    T Weyman
    Iraq Field Team Lead
    Info@UMRC.net

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