by Fintan Dunne

First Posted to the Internet on December 30, 2002

Updated 22 Jan '03
from SickOfDoctors Website

.

Depleted Uranium

 

What if they started a nuclear war and never told you?

When they said that depleted uranium was the US empire's weapon of choice, they lied. That word 'depleted' is a public relations spin. It makes it sound like the nuclear material is worn out. It's not. It's Uranium. Let's just call it Uranium.

 

It's a nuclear warhead of solid uranium 238 in a bullet or a shell. It minimizes casualties among US forces. Casualties that would be hard to sell to domestic opinion. Instead, the casualties are transferred to the future.

The Uranium babies of toxic Kosovo, or Iraq will die from it - whatever the name. In Yugoslavia, as in Iraq, uranium dioxide dust contaminates the environment. The future casualties of modern US warfare are unborn babies. Which makes the US abortion debates look rather hypocritical.

What if they announced future babies deaths in time of war?

Nightly News might go like this:

"Coalition forces today captured a key enemy stronghold. Thirty terrorists were killed and 150 babies horribly malformed. President Bush says it proves that US strategy is working. In a statement, Mr. Bush said that only 75,000 more deformed babies could secure the capital for the US.

Ed Carnage reports from Washington..."

The Uranium Babies will be with us for a very long time. For billions of years to come, Iraq, Kosovo and uranium test firing ranges in the USA, will be lands with a poison harvest. So will all theaters of this slow, hidden nuclear holocaust.

Uranium nuclear war is a crime against humanity. Stop it.

 

 

Dr. Doug Rokke, former head of the Pentagon's Depleted Uranium Project Recorded At: Seattle, WA

Producer: Mike McCormick

"Gulf War Casualties & Depleted Uranium".
[Dr. Rokke]


"Depleted uranium rounds destroy everything and anything they hit. It's a most effective weapon. A completely and extremely effective weapon."

"Each individual tank round is ten pounds of solid uranium 238, contaminated with with plutonium, and other material."

"They should never use depleted uranium munitions again. The use of depleted uranium munitions is a crime against God, it's a crime against humanity."

Depleted Uranium: War Hazard?
by Travis Dunn

28 Dec '02
DisasterNews.net

Dr. Doug Rokke has a disturbing habit of laughing when he should probably be crying. 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 US 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 US 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 US 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 US 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 US. 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 US 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 acknowledgment 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 0.3 microns, and that scientists at the Livermore laboratories have measured them as small as 0.1 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 US 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 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 US, 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 US 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 US, 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.

 

 

Dr. Doug Rokke Major
Medical Service Corps, USAR
WMFO FM Nov 13, 2002

[Sunny Miller] "What kinds of retaliation have you experienced?

Wasn't there a firing range [in Aniston, Alabama] that included many kinds of exposures -including depleted uranium. And you recommended that the Army be responsible for environmental cleanup, and healthcare of exposed civilians. What happened after that recommendation?"

[Dr. Rokke] "I lost my job as Director at the US Army Chemical School."

"You made your recommendation on a Friday."

"And I was gone on the Monday."
"I've had senior officers[...] come up to me and say" 'Stop. You're supposed to stop.'"

"When you don't stop, [...] they go back to your house and they shoot at you. Then they file IRS things against you..."

"When have you been shot at?"

"Back when I was working on depleted uranium and Monsanto PCB contamination... I'm on the phone with individuals working on Monsanto PCB issues, literally at my house, and all of a sudden bullets come right through my window."

"There are three kinds of files that have been disappearing?"

"That's correct. ...The chemical and biological logs. The medical records. Individual medical records that I personally wrote have been destroyed. We also know that the detail work in person files have disappeared. Including my own personnel file."

 

Afghanistan: The Nuclear Nightmare Starts
by Davey Garland

Davey Garland is a coordinator of the British-based Pandora DU Research Project

Source; Green Left Weekly, Issue of December 2002

January, 2003

from CoastalPost Website

When questions were asked in the British parliament a year ago about whether depleted uranium (DU) weapons had been used in the military strikes on Afghanistan,

"It is not being used at present" was defense minister Geoff Hoon's reply.

A few days earlier, Hoon had been similarly vague on the issue, assuring us that:

"No British forces currently engaged in operations around Afghanistan are armed with depleted uranium ammunition. However, we do not rule out the use of depleted uranium ammunition in Afghanistan, should its penetrative capability be judged necessary in the future."

The defense minister played his cards close to his chest, no doubt having been informed that DU or other uranium weapons were being used by the United States (and no doubt British) forces to penetrate the caverns of Tora Bora and other targets (including civilian ones), especially in the vicinity of Kabul.

The refusal of the Ministry of Defense to fully admit that dangerous uranium weapons may have been used in Afghanistan and the conflicts in the Balkans (Bosnia and Kosova), when evidence shows the contrary, illustrates just how sensitive the government is to the possibility that its use, or its collusion in the use, of weapons of mass destruction may be discovered.

This is not just because thousands of innocent civilians will suffer due to radiological (and heavy metal) poisoning, but also because the government is prepared to send British troops and aid workers, possibly for a long occupation of the war zones, ill-equipped and vulnerable to contamination.

When the Afghan crisis began, many of us believed that a great amount of DU/dirty uranium would be used to achieve the US-British campaign objectives, both to penetrate the opposition's hideouts in rocky terrain and to test new weapons systems (dirty uranium or dirty DU contains radioactive contaminants, such as plutonium isotopes, derived from spent fuel from power reactors). The amount used in Afghanistan might have exceeded the several hundred ton's of DU/dirty uranium used in the 1990-91 Gulf War and the Balkans conflicts.
 


Startling report
A startling new report based on research in Afghanistan indicates that our worst fears have been realized. The study, produced by the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC), points to the likelihood of large numbers of the population being exposed to uranium dust and debris.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine and radiology and a former science adviser to the US military, who set-up the independent UMRC, has been testing US, British, and Canadian troops and civilians for DU and uranium poisoning over the past few years. His findings confirm significant amounts in the subjects' urine as much as nine years after exposure.

Two scientific study teams were sent to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the conflict in 2001-02. The first arrived in June 2002, concentrating on the Jalalabad region. The second arrived four months later, broadening the study to include the capital Kabul, which has a population of nearly 3.5 million people. The city itself contains the highest recorded number of fixed targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. For the study's purposes, the vicinity of three major bomb sites were examined.

It was predicted that signatures of depleted or enriched uranium would be found in the urine and soil samples taken during the research. The team was unprepared for the shock of its findings, which indicated in both Jalalabad and Kabul, DU was possibly causing the high levels of illness but also high concentrations of non-depleted uranium. Tests taken from a number of Jalalabad subjects showed concentrations 400% to 2000% above that for normal populations, amounts which have not been recorded in civilian studies before.

Those in Kabul who were directly exposed to US-British precision bombing showed extreme signs of contamination, consistent with uranium exposure and with some types of chemical or biological weaponry. These included pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are found in Gulf War and Balkans veterans and civilians. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous.

The study team itself complained of similar symptoms during their stay. Most of these symptoms last for days or months. The team also conducted a preliminary sample examination of new-born infants, discovering that at least 25% may be suffering from congenital and post-natal health problems that could be associated with uranium contamination. These include undeveloped muscles, large head in comparison to body size, skin rashes and infant lethargy. Considering that the children had access to sufficient levels of nutrition, the symptoms could not be due to malnourishment.

Durakovic and his team have searched for possible alternative causes, such as geological or industrial sources, or the likelihood of Al Qaeda having uranium reserves. But the uranium found is not consistent with the "dirty bomb" scenario proposed by the US (in which stores of radioactive materials might explain the findings), nor is it connected to DU, or an enriched uranium-type dust that has been found in Iraq and Kosova.

The only conclusion is that the allied forces are now possibly using milled uranium ore in their warheads to maximize the effectiveness and strength of their weapons, as well as to mask the uranium, hoping that it may be discounted as part of any local natural deposits.

However, marked differences between natural uranium and the uranium used in the metal fragments found in Afghanistan was uncovered with the use of an electron microscope, which revealed the presence of small ceramic particles produced by the high temperatures created on impact. This method of disguising uranium would benefit governments that are under pressure! from the growing anti-DU lobby.

Repeated warnings of this possible contamination was sent to both the British and Afghan governments in April by scientific researcher Dai Williams in her report, "Mystery Metal in Afghanistan". Warning were also sent to the UN Environment Program, the World Health Organization and Oxfam. All have ignored them and failed to conduct their own investigations.
 


Iraq
Present information and studies stressing the growing mortality rates amongst young children, especially the new born, indicate that malnutrition and other social causes cannot be the only attributable source of this phenomenon. This is confirmed by health specialists, international observers and a few brave officials from local hospitals who are convinced that this rise in illnesses and malformation are due to uranium/DU weapons.

In October, Durakovic spoke on al Jazeera television, claiming that the amount of DU/uranium used in Afghanistan far exceeded that of past conflicts. He also warned that if the scale of the attacks in Afghanistan was matched or exceeded in a forthcoming war in Iraq, then the consequences would be of appalling proportions for both civilians and military forces alike.

This scenario has substance, if the $393 billion defense authorization bill that Congress approved recently is taken into account. More than $15 million was assigned to modifying bunker busters bombs to nuclear capable, quite apart from uranium being added to conventional and bunker buster systems. Money was also invested in other weapons of mass destruction, including thermobaric and electromagnetic weapons.

The anti-war movement must oppose radiological and other weapons, as well as research and access to the source materials. Many of us have seen the heart-wrenching pictures of deformity and death in Iraq, and know of the growing cancer wards in Bosnia and Kosova, not to mention the 80,000 American, 15,000 Canadian and thousands of British, Australian, French and other troops! who are suffering a painful existence from Gulf War Syndrome plus the growing number suffering from a Balkans equivalent.