Much has been made of the effects of depleted uranium ammunition on the battlefields
of Iraq, and the unprosecuted war crime it entails. Much has been written of the
ever-climbing rates of cancer within Iraq, and the mysterious ‘Gulf War
Syndrome’ that is still killing former U.S & coalition troops nearly
fifteen years after Operation Desert Storm.
And what happens to the equipment that fired these deadly munitions in the
first place? Many wrecked tanks and artillery pieces are shipped back to the
United States with the intent of disposing of them, but the reality is that
they just stay out there, in some forgotten piece of the nation.
Out of sight, out of mind. Right?
And so to the future. The facts will one day lay bare just how widespread and
long-lasting the effects of DU are, and will also lay bare the bloody-mindedness
and sheer contempt for humanity that resides within the U.S military’s
chain of command.
[Posted By faelnarr]
By Bob Nichols
Republished from San
Francisco Bay View
Radioactive forever - Kansas & Nevada littered
with destroyed & dangerous war machines
Across the plains of Kansas, destroyed, radioactive Abrams tanks, perched on
railroad flatcars, rolled towards an uncertain future. Only one thing was certain.
They would be radioactive forever. This would be their everlasting death mask.
The Pentagon deceptively calls it “depleted uranium.”
The Abrams tanks are constructed with a layer of radioactive uranium metal
plates. The big tanks fire a giant uranium dart at 2,100 mph, much faster than
an F-16 fighter aircraft, mach III to airplane pilots and very, very fast to
the rest of us.
American taxpayers paid to ship the tanks to Iraq and to return them for disposal
or re-building in the United States. The tanks are 12 feet wide and weigh a
stout 70 tons, or 140,000 pounds.
The enduring vigorous stupidity of the U.S. military pretends that radiation
is one of those things that if you can’t see it, it can’t hurt you.
They are thoroughly delusional, of course. A National Academy of Sciences report
released June 30, 2005, finds that there is no safe level of radiation. Any
radiation is bad.
From America to Iraq and back, these giant radioactive hulks can only sicken
and kill Americans. On top of the sheer, unrelenting stupidity of playing with
radiation with unsuspecting soldiers, now the neo-con government is involving
everyday Americans in their radiation madness.
The Pentagon can’t even follow simple radiation hazard mitigation instructions.
Their own rules and regulations have the force of law throughout the world.
Yet they are ignored in the United States.
Dr. Doug Rokke
Dr. Doug Rokke is the Pentagon’s former director of the U.S. Army Depleted
Uranium Project. When contacted on Oct. 22, he viewed Chris Bayruh’s photographs
and made this statement about the radioactive tanks in Kansas: “The radioactive
damaged Abrams tanks that were left unsecured on a Kansas railroad track are
a perfect example of exactly how not to ship damaged radioactive equipment and
how not to protect our Army’s Abrams tanks from possible sabotage and
compromise of classified battle systems.”
On Oct. 10, prior to the discovery of the radioactive tanks, Dr. Rokke made
the following statement. It is eerily predictive of what would happen in Kansas
three days later. “U.S. Department of Defense officials continue to deny
that there are any adverse health and environmental effects as a consequence
of the manufacture, testing and/or use of uranium munitions to avoid liability
for the willful and illegal dispersal of a radioactive toxic material –
Dr. Rokke continued, “They [the U.S. military] arrogantly refuse to comply
with their own regulations, orders and directives that require United States
Department of Defense officials to provide prompt and effective medical care
to all exposed individuals.” (See Note 1)
“They also refuse to clean up dispersed radioactive contamination of
equipment as required by Army regulations.” (See Note 2.)
“Specifically, they are required (see Note 3) to accomplish
1) Military personnel must ‘identify, segregate, isolate, secure and
label all RCE’ (radiologically contaminated equipment).
2) ‘Procedures to minimize the spread of radioactivity will be implemented
as soon as possible.’
3) ‘Radioactive material and waste will not be locally disposed of
through burial, submersion, incineration, destruction in place, or abandonment’
4) ‘All equipment, to include captured or combat RCE, will be surveyed,
packaged, retrograded, decontaminated and released.’
“The past and current use of uranium weapons, the release of radioactive
components in destroyed U.S. and foreign military equipment, and releases of
industrial, medical and research facility radioactive materials have resulted
in unacceptable exposures.”
Dr. Rokke added, “Therefore, decontamination must be completed as required
by U.S. Army Regulation 700-48 and should include releases of all radioactive
materials resulting from military operations.
“The extent of adverse health and environmental effects of uranium weapons
contamination is not limited to combat zones but includes facilities and sites
where uranium weapons were manufactured or tested, including Vieques, Puerto
Rico, Colonie, New York, and Jefferson Proving Grounds, Indiana.
“Therefore, medical care must be provided by the United States Department
of Defense officials to all individuals affected by the manufacturing, testing
and/or use of uranium munitions. Thorough environmental remediation also must
be completed without further delay.
“I am amazed,” exclaimed Dr. Rokke, “that 14 years after
I was asked to clean up the initial DU mess from Gulf War I and almost 10 years
since I finished the depleted uranium project, United States Department of Defense
officials and many others still attempt to justify uranium munitions use while
ignoring mandatory requirements.
“But beyond the ignored mandatory actions, the willful dispersal of tons
of solid radioactive and chemically toxic waste in the form of uranium munitions
just does not even pass the common sense test.
“Finally, continued compliance with the infamous March 1991 Los Alamos
Memorandum (see Note 5) that was issued to ensure continued
use of uranium munitions cannot be justified.
“In conclusion,” Dr. Rokke urged, “the president of the United
States, George W. Bush, and the prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair,
must acknowledge and accept responsibility for willful use of illegal uranium
munitions – their own “dirty bombs” – resulting in adverse
health and environmental effects.”
“President Bush and Prime Minister Blair also should order:
1) medical care for all casualties,
2) thorough environmental remediation,
3) immediate cessation of retaliation against all of us who demand compliance
with medical care and environmental remediation requirements,
4) and ban the future use of depleted uranium munitions,” Dr. Rokke
A little old lady in tennis shoes
Leuren Moret is a world famous scientist and radiation specialist who formerly
worked at the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, where she became a whistleblower
in 1991. She has spoken out about the danger of uranium munitions to humanity
in more than 42 countries.
Moret has appeared in four documentaries about uranium munitions (depleted
uranium). “Beyond Treason” debuted in August 2005 and won the Grand
Festival Award at the Berkeley Film Festival. The newest film, “Blowin’
in the Wind,” was nominated during its debut the first week of November
in Australia for an Academy Award.
Moret was an expert witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan
and serves as an adviser and expert witness in court cases regarding radiation
exposure. Her statement, made Oct. 24, about the dead tanks in Kansas follows:
“Sally Devlin, a little old lady in tennis shoes, went to a public meeting
several years ago, held by the Air Force in Pahrump, Nevada. Two officers told
the citizens of the town that the Air Force would be moving 80 old target practice
tanks and tons of old depleted uranium munitions through their town.
“The radioactive bullets had been picked up off the Nellis gunnery ranges
by order of the state of Nevada and were being transported to the Nevada Test
Site [a nuclear weapons test site] to be buried as radioactive waste.
“When Mrs. Devlin politely asked them how they would prevent the residents
of the town from being contaminated by the radioactive dust on the tanks and
bullets, the officers said, ‘We’re wrapping them in Saran Wrap.’
She told them that would be unacceptable and stopped the Air Force dead in their
tracks,” Moret concluded.
Whether it is Saran Wrap in Nevada or nothing at all in Kansas, the Pentagon
just doesn’t get it when it comes to uranium radiation dispersing weapons.
It is way past time to take all their nuclear weapons and uranium munitions
away from them and send them home to get real jobs. They are clearly incapable
of protecting this country from all dangers, including those created by our
own U.S. military.
The U.S. military shows so little regard for Americans in Kansas, one wonders
what on earth they have done to Iraq. The U.S. military has distributed an estimated
8 million pounds of weaponized ceramic uranium oxide gas, aerosols and dust
on a practically defenseless little country of 26 million people (see
Note 6), according to an estimate by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey
What is this lethal radioactive weapon supposed to do? Why was it used? Ceramic
uranium oxide gas is a genocidal weapon, for God’s sake. It persists in
the environment forever. In Leuren Moret’s pithy words, “The Iraqis
are uranium meat.”
The politicians, Pentagon staff, generals, commanding officers and others responsible
for this war crime must be arrested, tried, convicted and appropriately punished
for their crimes against humanity.
There is another explanation
Another explanation is that the U.S. Army and other branches of the military
are far from stupid. They are, in fact, the most lethal and carefully planned
military in the history of the world. The extensive use of weaponized uranium
oxide gas, aerosols and dust is not an accident or an oversight. They did it
If this is true, they purposely used a genocidal weapon over at least a 15-year
period. No, this is not a callous mistake of empire; it is a calculated act
of genocide to weaken the oil- and gas-rich countries of Central Asia, including
Iraq. Take your choice: they are either stupid or genocidal monsters.
A British group has estimated the weaponized ceramic uranium oxide will account
for an additional 25 million cancers in Iraq in the next several years. There
are only 26 million Iraqis to start with, minus the nearly 1.7 million killed
by war or sanctions since 1991, plus some live births.
A National Academy of Sciences report released June 30, 2005, finds that there
is no safe level of radiation. The committee dismissed the idea that any radiation
could be harmless or beneficial.
The radioactive tanks in Kansas and Iraq are the same. They are placed there
at great expense by the senior American political and military leadership, with
premeditated malice. The bottom line purpose of a 140,000-pound radioactive
tank is to kill people.
Uranium munitions a war crime
Dennis Kyne, noted speaker and writer, is a former drill instructor (DI) and
a 15-year veteran of the Army as well as a Gulf War vet (see www.denniskyne.com).
Kyne makes a point of how “hot” or radioactive the tanks in Kansas
would be if they were hit by “friendly fire” to get beat up so much.
They could be contaminated with as much as 30,000 times background radiation.
That is what uranium munitions do to a tank, bunker or building.
Karen Parker, a prominent U.S. international human rights lawyer, says there
are four rules derived from humanitarian laws and conventions regarding weapons:
1. Weapons may only be used against legal enemy military targets and must
not have an adverse effect elsewhere (the territorial rule).
2. Weapons can only be used for the duration of an armed conflict and must
not be used or continue to act afterwards (the temporal rule).
3. Weapons may not be unduly inhumane (the “humaneness” rule).
The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 speak of “unnecessary suffering”
and “superfluous injury” in this regard
4. Weapons may not have an unduly negative effect on the natural environment
(the “environmental” rule).
“DU weaponry fails all four tests,” Parker states. “First,
DU cannot be limited to legal military targets. Second, it cannot be ‘turned
off’ when the war is over but keeps killing.
“Third, DU can kill through painful conditions such as cancers and organ
damage and can also cause birth defects, such as facial deformities and missing
limbs. Lastly, DU cannot be used without unduly damaging the natural environment.
“In my view, use of DU weaponry violates the grave breach provisions
of the Geneva Conventions,” Parker concluded, “and so its use constitutes
a war crime, or crime against humanity.”
1. “Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium Casualties,”
DOD, Pentagon, 10/14/93, “Medical Management of Army Personnel Exposed
to Depleted Uranium (DU),” Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Command, 4/29/04,
and section 2-5 of AR 700-48 .
2. AR 700- 48: “Management of Equipment Contaminated
With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities,” Headquarters, Department
of the Army, Washington, D.C., September 2002, and U.S. Army Technical Bulletin
TB 9-1300-278: “Guidelines For Safe Response To Handling, Storage, and
Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions or Armor Which Contain
Depleted Uranium,” Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.,
July 1996, http://traprockpeace.org/du_pam_700-48.pdf.
3. Section 2-4 of United States Army Regulation 700-48 dated
Sept. 16, 2002, specifies these requirements.
4. IAW Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, DA PAM 700-48. Maximum
exposure limits are specified in Appendix F.
5. http://www.tv.cbc.ca/national/pgminfo/du/doc1.html (link
no longer valid)
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s estimate
Bob Nichols is a Project Censored Award winner and lives
in California. He formerly lived in Oklahoma. He is a contributor to OnLineJournal.com,
AxisofLogic.com, DissidentVoice.com and other online publications and is a correspondent
for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Nichols is a former employee of the
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.