Depleted uranium is destroying life
Jerry Mazza / 15 April 2010
A Depleted Uranium shell – Photo courtesy of Professor Siegwart-Horst Gunther
I have long heard sound-bites or seen passages about depleted uranium that sounded more than dire. But given my own cognitive dissonance, and the fact that I was writing about many other dire topics at the time, I filed depleted uranium in my cranium for future investigation, which, given the human aversion to bad news, could have been never.
But never was over in an exchange of emails about nuclear missiles in Israel’s arsenal. I received some startling nuclear information from San Francisco Bay View writer, Bob Nichols. It was an illumination long-time coming.
I started at the end of Bob’s article to find out who he was. His credits read “Bob Nichols is a Project Censored Award winning writer and a San Francisco Bay View correspondent. A former bomb maker in a U.S. government factory in rural Oklahoma, he reports on the two nuclear weapons labs in the Bay Area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.” His credentials were impressive and so was the article he sent, which I hope you read, PTSD, infertility and other consequences of war.
The A10 WartHog jet aircraft is built around the GAU-8 Gatling gun with seven barrels that fires 4,200 heavy uranium projectiles a minute. That’s 70 rounds a second!
In several, follow-up phone calls, Bob, in his gentle, mid-western drawl, filled me in on the picture of the imposing disasters caused by depleted uranium in Central Asia and in the Mid-East, in which hundreds of thousands of tons of depleted uranium had been dropped in the past 20 years.
Bob pointed out that San Francisco itself was receiving fallout from the Berkeley National [Nuclear Weapons] Lab, and from the Livermore Laboratory in the South Bay area, managed by San Francisco-based Bechtel, a nuclear-capable corporation, boosted by San Francisco’s “‘Nuclear Nancy’ Pelosi and her friends at Bechtel” as Bob commented. The University of California at Berkeley now earns more from weapons than from students.
The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children. An award winning documentary film that exposes the use and impact of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq.
The San Francisco facilities have been part of the Manhattan Project, operating from pre-1945, contributing a dangerous amount of radiation to the area with weapons testing and leakages of material into the Bay. It was for this reason, Nichols told me, that he still lives in Oklahoma, though he has a real love affair with San Francisco. Yet he fears for its human and natural safety due to poisoning by the nuclear projects.
In fact, he bemoaned the occasion of “Fleet Week,” “the happy boys sent off to war by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Fleet Week – an event responsible for a big chunk of the enlistments in the US Navy and marines – who will probably come in deadly contact with another Bay Area product: depleted uranium, aka DU, and weaponized ceramic uranium oxide gas and aerosols, UO.”
As he wrote, “Iraq and virtually all the rest of the Middle East and Central Asia have been continually dosed for almost 20 years with thousands of tons of weaponized ceramic uranium oxide gas, also known as depleted uranium.
“When used as directed, the depleted uranium bullets, shells and bombs become a lethal uranium gas or aerosol. The poison uranium oxide gas aerosols last for billions of years and never stop indiscriminately maiming and killing, which is a war crime in itself.”
That was shocking to hear. So I did a bit of research to corroborate Bob’s claims and came upon a number of YouTube pieces, one particularly powerful ten-minute piece called Depleted Uranium – The Ultimate Dirty Bomb.
Depleted Uranium – The Ultimate Dirty Bomb
It features Dr. Doug Rokke, US Army Health Physicist and Nuclear Medicine Sciences Officer, as well as the internationally known Geological Scientist and International Radiation Expert Leuren Moret. Please take ten minutes to listen to it.
Dr. Rokke explains that as far back as 1973 [the Yom Kippur War], radioactive materials carpeted Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. He mentions too that DU radioactive contamination makes food and water unusable. He explains how the huge jolts of electrical energy in a small amount of depleted uranium can destroy human cells.
Most notably, Dr. Rooke estimates that from October/November 1991 in Gulf War 1, 160,000 US soldiers were permanently disabled by US use of some 340 tons of depleted uranium. Ten years later that number had climbed to 221,000 and left 10,000 dead. Dr. Rooke, a victim himself of the lack of proper post-battle examinations for DU poisoning, spoke with a tempered but deliberate anger and frustration at the damage done to all, including civilian populations, combatants, and himself.
“Lauren Moret pointed out that as far back as 1943 depleted uranium usage, aka “poison gas warfare” was encouraged in a government memo shown on screen. She also tells us that the UN Human Rights Commission declared depleted uranium as illegal. The ultimate irony she points out is that in 2003 we attacked Iraq and Saddam Hussein for possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction, which turned out not to be true. Yet when we attacked Iraq in 2003, we dropped between 1000 to 2000 tons of depleted uranium, a known Weapon of Mass Nuclear Destruction in a three-week period. This is a war crime unto itself.
This all jibed with Bob Nichol’s writings, especially the fact that the damage of depleted uranium is forever, lasting billions of years in the atmosphere, the earth and water, as it lasts on clothing, the skin, the human body, destroying vital organs, causing birth defects of all kinds, cancers, infertility, damage to the bones, brains, testicles and ovaries, which applies to civilians and animals as well.
Iraqi Doctors See A Huge Growth In Children Born With Deformities. (R to L) Yousif Hamed, age 4 years old, his brother Anas Hamed and his sister Inas who suffer from birth defects are pictured on November 12, 2009 in the city of Falluja west of Baghdad, Iraq. Birth defects have soared in Fallujah, which was the site of two major battles between the U.S military and insurgents after the invasion of Iraq according to Iraqi doctors.
As Nichols writes, “Uranium munitions, containing weaponized uranium oxide gas and aerosols, are used by presidential order in US war zones. Privates and corporals do not decide to use these poisonous uranium gas weapons on their own. No, that order comes from the American president.”
“Uranium oxide gas weapons are called ‘genocidal weapons.’ They maim and kill millions of people, their animals and their land. The actual targets by the US Expeditionary Forces are the populations of Central Asia and the Middle East, about a billion people.” Remember that US forces themselves are the victims as well of these weapons, the worst imaginable blowback.
In fact, Nichols points us towards a “Middle Eastern country that requires all 18-year olds to join national service for several years. This country even has a roughly comparable health care system to America for a population of 7,233,701, according to the CIA World Factbook. This country is Israel.”
Bob sent along an article from the noted Israeli paper, Haaretz, dated 3/21/2010: Study: Quality of Israeli sperm down 40% in past decade. Bob claimed the number was fudged somewhat because from 2004-2008 there was a 10 million sperm a year drop-off. Taken to 2015, all of the nation would be infertile. The motility of the tested sperm also indicated a drop-off. These samples were taken from healthy young people who do not smoke.
“In Israel, too,” Haaretz writes, a study was published about a year ago, showing an increase of about 30 percent in defects in the male reproductive system. In addition, in the past decade, the number of cases of testicular cancer has doubled.”
Haaretz goes on to attribute the sperm drop to “chemicals in the ground and in drinking water…as impacting hormone levels and secondary sexual characteristics.” The paragraph concludes with “Studies published in Britain have highlighted a clear connection between continual decline in sperm counts and chemicals in the environment.”
In the next to last paragraph of Bob Nichols’s article, he writes of the Israeli situation, “Since 20 percent live sperm is considered to be the beginning of infertility, Israel will be sterile in less than 10 years at this rate of decline. The estimated 7 million Israeli Jews will have no more children after that. This catastrophic development has already occasioned legislative hearings in Israel’s Knesset… Israeli sperm concentration is just an example of what is happening to human sperm all over the Middle East and Central Asia, by the choice and force of will of successive US presidents.”
The 800-pound gorilla in the room here is that young people tested (both men and women) are performing in the Israeli Defense Forces, and face massive amounts of depleted uranium in the US manufactured weaponry being used in the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. The land, animals, and those involved in the conflict on both sides must be, by definition, poisoned by these toxic weapons of nuclear destruction. That’s the real story. The Israelis have performed a service in a way just by conducting a bona fide scientific analysis of the situation.
Depleted uranium (DU) ammunition of U-238
In nearby Iraq, three-headed babies are turning up and a virtual Pandora’s Box of birth defects that you can find on here Caution: these are not pretty pictures, but they are true pictures of what the future could be as the present.
Again, please read the entire Haaretz article and view the YouTube piece. Or check the more conservative Wikipedia for the 38-page article (which includes 13 pages of footnotes) linked here on Depleted Uranium. You can verify the information presented above and find more information as well. In fact, the first DU, which uses radioactive isotope-238 was “manufactured in the 1940’s when the US and USSR began their nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs.” P.S. Depleted uranium bombs were also used on Serbia in the Bosnian War by President Clinton.
The total world inventory of depleted uranium stands at 1,188,273 tonnes as of 2002. That is enough to wipe out life on the planet for billions of years.
The United States leads the pack with 480,000 tonnes; Russia closely follow with 460,000 million tonnes; France, 190,000 tonnes; United Kingdom, 30,000 tonnes, etcetera.
As to the Legal Status of DU, Wiki reports, “In 1996 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave an advisory opinion on the ‘legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons‘. This made it clear, in paragraphs 54, 55 and 56, that international law on poisonous weapons—the Second Hague Declaration of 29 July 1899, Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907 and the Geneva Protocol of 17 June 1925—did not cover nuclear weapons, because their prime or exclusive use was not to poison or asphyxiate. This ICJ opinion was about nuclear weapons, but the sentence ‘The terms have been understood, in the practice of States, in their ordinary sense as covering weapons whose prime, or even exclusive, effect is to poison or asphyxiate,’ also removes depleted uranium weaponry from coverage by the same treaties as their primary use is not to poison or asphyxiate, but to destroy material and kill soldiers through kinetic energy.
“Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre,” featuring interviews with U.S. soldiers, Iraqi doctors and international journalists on the U.S. attack on Fallujah. Produced by Italian state broadcaster RAI TV, the documentary charges U.S. warplanes illegally dropped white phosphorus incendiary bombs on civilian populations, burning the skin off Iraqi victims. One U.S. soldier charges this amounts to the U.S. using chemical weapons against the Iraqi people.
The deadly irony here is that depleted uranium, through the use of a perverse legalese, is classified here not as the awful poison and asphyxiate it is, but as a destructor of material and killer of solders through kinetic energy. Never has there been such a torturous misuse of language. Obviously, the people at the top are not thinking clearly. But we down here, the everyday people, must think clearly and protest the use of depleted uranium in any form, as a deadly poison and as a destructor of material, soldiers, civilians, animals, soil, water and air. Otherwise, we’re committing suicide, the universe’s ultimate punishment for our poisoning the planet.
This includes poisoning as well in non-warfare situations like the one in Naples, Italy (home of my forefathers) where the crime organization, the Camorra, is poisoning the Mediterranean, as Bob Nichols tells me, with the continual exploding of forty foot barges of nuclear waste, including depleted uranium. These gangsters are killing the sea that feeds that nation, the sea that runs into the Red Sea, in which Israelis swim. The Med is being poisoned for profit by criminals as the bought-off police turn their heads. Evil has many heads, like the DU misconceived child itself.
Environmental Cost of War. SourceCode investigates longterm costs of war’s damage to the environment.
But let me conclude this piece, with Bob Nichols’ last line, “The American war machine has consequences. PTSD is just one of them. The poison gas cannot be contained, undone or recalled. There is no antidote; there is no cure. There is no escape.” But I will add that there is consciousness and the actions of conscious people to stop the situation from worsening. Let’s use it.
Jerry Mazza / April 2010
Standing in the sunlight
Broadway, 96th Street,
5 P.M., mid-April,
a cup of tea with milk
and sugar to go in hand,
a mild buzz from it, just
enough to feel the sun
on my face and the bliss it brings
to be alive in the crowd
of people walking by,
perfection in a handful
of light cupped in my hand,
my body tired from writing,
head waking to evening,
another day, another
war or two somewhere,
the wind of depleted uranium
not yet reached us, floating
over Central Asia
and the Mid East, eating
infants in the womb,
eating the bodies of billions
as millions go by here
free in the light of spring,
still-born the vision of peace
and freedom for the world,
only this private bliss
of blessed Buddha left
to lift me like a tree
from the ground-zero of being.