DU INFO BULLETIN no. 70 AND DU NEWS
Depleted uranium will affect Iraq for generations to come
Al-Jazeera April 14, 2003
Al-Jazeera April 14, 2003
When you deliberately and wilfully spread radioactive waste, ignore
the health effects and refuse to clean it up, that is a crime against
God and a crime against humanity. The Presenter (Ahmed Mansour): Despite
research by a large number of scientists and experts on the enormous
damage inflicted by depleted uranium … and the use by the US in the
Gulf War in 1991, and wars in the Balkans and Afghanistan in 1994, 1995,
1999 and 2000…The US use of depleted uranium is not confined to the
total destruction of targets but extends to the destruction of the environment
and human life in general in the affected regions. Such areas will be
unfit for habitation for millions of years. Our guest is professor Major
Doug Rokke, former chief of Depleted Uranium Project at the Pentagon.
Born in Illinois 1949, professor Doug Rokke joined the US Air Force
in 1967, took part in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971 as a B52 pilot.
He obtained his PhD in nuclear physics. He worked until 1996 as a field
doctor and specialist in nuclear physics in the US Army. He took part
in the 1991 Gulf War, tasked with depleted uranium clean up in Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait.
Risks from DU 'insignificant'
Peter Capella in Geneva - The Guardian, Wednesday March 14, 2001
The environmental risks from
contamination by depleted uranium ammunition used in the war in Kosovo
are insignificant, a United Nations report concluded yesterday, but
its authors also said that they remained unsure about the long-term
health consequences of DU. The UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) final
report on the environmental impact of DU after the Kosovo conflict in
1999 recommended a clean-up of the 112 exposed sites there, which still
appears not to have been carried out despite preliminary warnings issued
two months ago.
Amman/Nairobi, 6 April 2003
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is recommending that a scientific assessment of sites targeted with weapons containing depleted uranium (DU) be conducted in Iraq as soon as conditions permit.
UNEP-led field studies of sites struck by DU ordnance in the Balkans during the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s were the first international field assessments of how DU behaves in the environment.
"Although our assessments to date, under conditions prevailing in the Balkans, have concluded that DU contamination does not pose any immediate risks to human health or the environment, the fact remains that depleted uranium is still an issue of great concern for the general public," said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer.
"An early study in Iraq could
either lay these fears to rest or confirm that there are indeed potential
risks, which could then be addressed through immediate action See also
www.unep.org for an extensive collection of environmental data and documents
on conflict and environment in the region, and postconflict.unep.ch
for UNEP's DU and other post-conflict assessment report.
Washington, DC-Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) today introduced legislation requiring studies on the health and environmental impact of depleted uranium (DU) munitions, as well as cleanup and mitigation of depleted uranium contamination at sites within the United States where DU has been used or produced.
McDermott, a medical doctor, has been concerned about this issue since veterans of the Gulf War started experiencing unexplained illnesses. His concern deepened, he said, after visiting Iraq, where Iraqi pediatricians told him that the incidence of severely deformed infants and childhood cancers has skyrocketed.
Depleted uranium is toxic and carcinogenic and it may well be associated with elevated rates of birth defects in babies born to those exposed to it, said McDermott. We had troops coming home sick after the Gulf War, and depleted uranium may be one of the factors responsible for that.
Gulf War Syndrome, The Sequel 'People Are Sick Over There Already'
by Steven Rosenfeld, April 8, 2003
Soldiers now fighting in Iraq
are being exposed to battlefield hazards that have been associated with
the 'Gulf War Syndrome' that afflicts a quarter-million veterans of
the 1991 war, said a former Central Command Army officer in Operation
Desert Storm. Part of the threat today includes greater exposure to
battlefield byproducts of 'depleted uranium' munitions used in combat,
said the former officer and other Desert Storm veterans trained in battlefield
health and safety. Their concern comes as troops are engaged in the
most intensive fighting of the Iraq War. Complicating efforts to understand
any potential health impacts is the Pentagon's failure, acknowleged
in House hearings on March 25, to follow a 1997 law requiring baseline
medical screening of troops before and after deployment. "People are
sick over there already," said Dr. Doug Rokke, former director of the
Army's depleted uranium (DU)project. "It's not just uranium. You've
got all the complex organics and inorganics [compounds] that are released
in those fires and detonations. And they're sucking this in.... You've
got the whole toxic wasteland."
On the lookout for Gulf War Illness
By Benedict Carey, LA Times Staff Writer, April 7, 2003
The wells are burning again, the air is a witch's brew of sand and dust and smoke, and tens of thousands of veterans watching at home can practically feel the acrid gas in their lungs and on their skin.
"I can't even look anymore," said Larry Stewart Jr., 32, of Sacramento, who served in an armored tank division in southern Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. "We're in the same place, against the same enemy; I only hope those young guys who make it back aren't affected the same way I was."
Stewart is among about 100,000
men and women who in the early 1990s reported fatigue, rashes, joint
pain and memory loss, among other torments, after the 1991 Persian Gulf
War. For years, government officials dismissed the complaints -- first
described, collectively, as Gulf War syndrome -- even as 1 in 7 Gulf
War veterans came forward reporting similar problems. After scores of
studies and reams of congressional testimony, there's still no agreement
about what might cause these symptoms, and the government does not recognize
them as part of a unique syndrome, limiting the amount of free health
care and disability benefits that veterans can claim.
April 9, 2003
CBS) One of the enduring mysteries of the last Gulf War has driven 48-year-old Navy veteran Bill Finnegan to the far eastern tip of Long Island. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.
"I live out here in the boonies, and I pretty much stay to myself all the time," says Finnegan, who mostly keeps company with his horses and dogs. "It’s my choice, because I just don’t feel right." It's easier, he says, than trying to explain the ravages of Gulf War Syndrome to his friends. "Sometimes, when I get up in the morning, I feel like I'm 80 years old. I can hardly get out of bed. I’m hurting so bad."
Being sick was not something
he worried about in 1972, when he first enlisted as a 17-year-old soldier.
By the first Gulf War, nearly 20 years later, he’d risen to senior chief
petty officer on the USS Okinawa. He says he went through hell, several
times. He breathed the smoky air from burning oil fields and navigated
mine-infested waters to help downed pilots. He brought home more than
a few medals. And he brought home unexplained health problems as well.
The U.S. Military's War On The Earth, by Bob Feldman
2003-04-08 | In this era of "permanent war," the U.S. war machine bombards civilians in places like Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It also makes "war on the Earth," both at home and abroad. The U.S. Department of Defense is, in fact, the world's largest polluter, producing more hazardous waste per year than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. Washington's Fairchild Air Force Base, the number one producer of hazardous waste among domestic military bases, generated over 13 million pounds of waste in 1997(more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower's iron structure). Oklahoma's Tinker Air Force Base, the top toxic waste emitter, released over 600,000 pounds in the same year (the same amount of water would cover an entire football field about two inches deep).
Just about every U.S. military
base and nuclear arms facility emits toxics into the environment. At
many U.S. military target ranges, petroleum products and heavy metals
used in bombs and bullets contaminate the soi land groundwater. And
since the Pentagon operates its bases as "federal reservations," they
are usually beyond the reach of local and state environmental regulations.
Local and state authorities often do not find out the extent of the
toxic contamination until after a base is closed down.
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