Saturday, February 11, 2012

Birth Defects in Afghanistan and Iraq from DU (Depleted Uranium) Munitions - Our Legacy



NATO used DU in Libya:
In an interview with Press TV, Conn Hallinan, of Foreign Policy and Focus in Berkeley, California, discusses the West's awareness of the immense long-term danger of using depleted uranium in weapons, and its leaching impact, which poisons the environment and water supply for billions of years.

Press TV: Depleted uranium is being used in Libya in NATO weapons. Can you comment on the seriousness of this and on international reaction if any?

Conn Hallinan: Well, in Libya there has almost certainly been use of it because for the American A10 attack planes and AC130s that is their standard anti-armor weapon; they use depleted uranium shells.

It is very dangerous. It has had very bad effects in the first Gulf war, in Iraq, and also in Kosovo to a certain extent.

What people don't realize is while depleted uranium is not highly radioactive, itself, when it explodes, it turns into a powder. It's when the powder is ingested -- either through drinking it or eating it or breathing it in -- that's when the problems start. We know that it damages bone marrow and chromosomes. It is also a very highly toxic metal so it damages kidneys and livers, as well.

The WTO World Health Organization has strongly recommended against using it because it tends to leach into the water table and the problem with this stuff is that it has a half-life of 4.4 billion years. Once it gets into the environment, it's there. And it's basically there forever, leaching into the water system; people are drinking it and bathing in it, and the long term health effects are extremely serious.
Supposedly, DU munitions are beng stockpiled for our upcoming intervention in Syria.  This from back in December:
Members of the Obama Administration are confirming tonight that the National Security Council has been instructed to begin seeking options for US intervention in Syria, including what they call the “unlikely” option of setting up a no-fly zone.

The process is being led by NSC Director Steve Simon, and is said to involve top members of the State, Defense and Treasury Departments. The focus is on ways to “aid” the Syrian opposition.
Unspoken in all of this, of course, is exactly which segments of the Syrian opposition the administration are looking to aid, though it seems likely that the administration will use the time-honored tactic of principally aiding groups in favor of a large, long-term US presence in the nation.

Among the options considered are providing “humanitarian aid” to rebel forces and establishing a “safe zone” inside Syrian territory (presumably through military means) near the Turkish border, something which has said to be on the table for Turkey as well. Officials say the talks are preliminary and no moves are expected soon, but that they are a “recognition” that the last round of sanctions against the regime did not work.
Even though little-known internal Defense Department documents acknowledge some of the suspected dangers of depleted uranium munitions, the government's position - as is the position of the governments of the UK and Israel - deny the adverse health effects.  To do so would expose those governments to prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity:
U.S. and British officials have arrogantly refused 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. Reference: 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 29 April 2004, and section 2-5 of U.S. Army Regulation 700-48.  Israeli officials must not do so now.


They also refuse to clean up dispersed radioactive Contamination as required by Army Regulation- 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). Specifically section 2-4 of United States Army Regulation-AR 700-48 dated September 16, 2002 requires that:
(1) "Military personnel "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" and
(4) "All equipment, to include captured or combat RCE, will be surveyed, packaged, retrograded, decontaminated and released IAW Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, DA PAM 700-48" (Note: Maximum exposure limits are specified in Appendix F).


DOD leaders are not showing the DU training tapes to military personnel.  These three video tapes: (1) "Depleted Uranium Hazard Awareness", (2) "Contaminated and Damaged Equipment Management", and (3)  "Operation of the AN/PDR 77 Radiac Set" are essential to understanding the hazards from the use of uranium weapons and management of uranium weapons contamination. DOD leaders must show these tapes to all military personnel involved in the use of uranium weapons and the consequent management of uranium contamination.  


The previous and current use of uranium weapons, the release of radioactive components in destroyed U.S. and foreign military equipment, and releases of industrial, medical, research facility radioactive materials have resulted in unacceptable exposures. 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.

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