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Depleted Uranium & Gulf War Syndrome
* Depleted uranium (DU) weaponry meets the definition of weapon of mass destruction in two out of three categories under
* Since 1991, the
* DU on the battlefield has three effects on living systems: it is a heavy metal "chemical" poison, a "radioactive" poison and has a "particulate" effect due to the very tiny size of the particles that are 0.1 microns and smaller.
* The blueprint for DU weaponry is a 1943 Manhattan Project memo to Gen. L. Groves that recommended development of radioactive materials as poison gas weapons - dirty bombs, dirty missiles and dirty bullets.
* DU weapons are very effective kinetic energy penetrators, but even more effective bioweapons since uranium has a strong chemical affinity for phosphate structures concentrated in DNA.
* DU is the Trojan Horse of nuclear war - it keeps giving and keeps killing. There is no way to clean it up, and no way to turn it off because it continues to decay into other radioactive isotopes in over 20 steps.
* Terry Jemison at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stated in August 2004 that over 518,000 Gulf-era veterans (14-year period) are now on medical disability, and that 7,039 were wounded on the battlefield in that same period. Over 500,000
* In some studies of soldiers who had normal babies before the war, 67 percent of the post-war babies are born with severe birth defects - missing brains, eyes, organs, legs and arms, and blood diseases.
* In southern Iraq, scientists are reporting five times higher levels of gamma radiation in the air, which increases the radioactive body burden daily of inhabitants. In fact,
* Cancer starts with one alpha particle under the right conditions. One gram of DU is the size of a period in this sentence and releases 12,000 alpha particles per second
No one has been able to explain to me why young men and women serve in the U.S. Military for 20 years, risking their lives protecting freedom, and only get 50% of their pay. While Politicians hold their political positions in the safe confines of the capital, protected by these same men and women, and receive full-pay retirement after serving one term. It just does not make any sense.
Uranium is a weakly radioactive element that occurs naturally in the environment. The United States Armed Forces used depleted uranium munitions and armor for the first time during the Gulf War. In military applications, when alloyed, depleted uranium is ideal for use in armor penetrators. Depleted uranium (DU) is the most effective material for these uses because of its high density and the metallic properties that allow it to "self-sharpen" as it penetrates armor. Armor containing depleted uranium is very effective at blunting antitank weapons. These solid metal projectiles have the speed, mass and physical properties to perform exceptionally well against armored targets. DU provides a substantial performance advantage, well above other competing materials. This allows DU penetrators to defeat an armored target at a significantly greater distance. Also, DU's density and physical properties make it ideal for use as armor plate. DU has been used in weapon systems for many years in both applications. In contrast, anti-tank munitions made from other materials (tungsten compounds) tend to mushroom and become blunt as they penetrate.
Depleted uranium results from the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. Natural uranium is a slightly radioactive metal that is present in most rocks and soils as well as in many rivers and sea water. Natural uranium consists of a mixture of three radioactive isotopes which are identified by the mass numbers 238U (99.27% by mass), 235U (0.72%) and 234U (0.0054%). Nuclear reactors require U235 to produce energy; therefore, the natural uranium has to be enriched to obtain the isotope U235 by removing a large part of the U238. Uranium-238 becomes DU, which is 0.7 times as radioactive as natural uranium. Since DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, there is very little decay of those DU materials. The behavior of DU in the body is identical to that of natural uranium.
The conduct of secret nuclear wars since 1991, through the use of depleted uranium weaponry by the United States and Great Britain with their allies, has taken place in the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Lebanon. It has been carried out for the express purpose of destroying the public health and mutilating the genetic future of vast populations in oil rich and/or pipeline regions. Carpet and grid bombing with depleted uranium weaponry in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan has guaranteed permanent radioactive terrain contamination. The recent discovery that U.S. depleted uranium bombs dropped by Israel on Lebanon in 2006 contained enriched uranium, suggests covert testing of fourth generation nuclear weapons.
On average, approximately 90 µg (micrograms) of uranium exists in the human body from normal intakes of water, food and air. About 66% is found in the skeleton, 16% in the liver, 8% in the kidneys and 10% in other tissues. Each of us ingests and inhales natural uranium every day from the natural uranium in our air, water, and soil. The amount varies depending upon the natural levels found in the area in which you live and the levels found in the areas where the food you eat and the water you drink are produced. Consequently, each of us has some level of uranium in our body, which is eliminated in the urine. In areas where the natural uranium level in the soil or water is high, these levels can be substantially higher.
Metallic uranium (U) is a silver-white, lustrous, dense, weakly radioactive element. It is ubiquitous throughout the natural environment, and is found in varying but small amounts in rocks, soils, water, air, plants, animals, and in all human beings.
Uranium is used primarily in nuclear power plants. However, most reactors require uranium in which the 235U content is enriched from 0.72% to about 1.5-3%. Enriched uranium (uranium that is more radioactive than natural uranium) is used in nuclear power reactors and very highly enriched uranium is used in some nuclear weapons. The misnamed 'Depleted' Uranium is left after enriched uranium is separated from natural uranium in order to produce fuel for nuclear reactors. During this process, the fissionable isotope Uranium 235 is separated from uranium. The remaining uranium, which is 99.8% Uranium 238, is misleadingly called 'depleted uranium.' While the term 'depleted' implies it isn't particularly dangerous, in fact, this waste product of the nuclear industry is 'conveniently' disposed of by producing deadly weapons.
Spent uranium fuel from nuclear reactors is sometimes reprocessed in plants for natural uranium enrichment. Some reactor-created radioisotopes can consequently contaminate the reprocessing equipment and the DU. Under these conditions another uranium isotope, 236U, may be present in the DU together with very small amounts of the transuranic elements plutonium, americium and neptunium and the fission product technetium-99.
Applications of Depleted Uranium
Due to its high density, about twice that of lead, the main civilian uses of DU include counterweights in aircraft, radiation shields in medical radiation therapy machines and containers for the transport of radioactive materials. The military uses DU for defensive armor plate. DU is used in armor penetrating military ordnance because of its high density, and also because DU can ignite on impact if the temperature exceeds 600°C. It is also used in some hospital equipment.
Depleted uranium is chemically toxic. It is an extremely dense, hard metal, and can cause chemical poisoning to the body in the same way as can lead or any other heavy metal. However, depleted uranium is also radiologically hazardous, as it spontaneously burns on impact, creating tiny aerosolized glass particles which are small enough to be inhaled. These uranium oxide particles emit all types of radiation, alpha, beta and gamma, and can be carried in the air over long distances. Depleted uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, and the presence of depleted uranium ceramic aerosols can pose a long term threat to human health and the environment.
Absorption of Depleted Uranium
About 98% of uranium entering the body via ingestion is not absorbed, but is eliminated via the feces. Typical gut absorption rates for uranium in food and water are about 2% for soluble and about 0.2% for insoluble uranium compounds. The fraction of uranium absorbed into the blood is generally greater following inhalation than following ingestion of the same chemical form. The fraction will also depend on the particle size distribution. For some soluble forms, more than 20% of the inhaled material could be absorbed into blood.
Of the uranium that is absorbed into the blood, approximately 70% will be filtered by the kidney and excreted in the urine within 24 hours; this amount increases to 90% within a few days.
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the
They were the nuclear guinea pigs of the Cold War. And this is the shocking film to show how U.S. Marines were used in hundreds of experiments by the US military to test the limits of nuclear bombs between 1951 and 1957. During many of those tests, soldiers who thought of themselves as ‘ground grunts’ and were sworn to secrecy, witnessed the atomic explosions first-hand, and from close range, before the devastating health risks of those bombs were fully understood.
In Operation Desert Rock, the military conducted a series of nuclear tests in the Nevada Proving Grounds between 1951 and 1957, exposing thousands of participants – both military and civilian – to high levels of radiation. In total, more nearly 400,000 American soldiers and civilians would be classified as ‘atomic veterans.’ Though roughly half of those veterans were survivors of World War II, serving at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the rest were exposed to nuclear grounds tests which lasted until 1962.
In an article published in the Bangor Daily News, the paper notes that the government wished to keep the tests out of the public eye. As a result, the plight of these soldiers exposed to high levels of radiation, suffering from radiation sickness, nausea, and cancers. Many of their children were born with deformities.
In Operation Plumbbob, a bomb testing in 1957, troops were told by their commanding officer to stand in six-foot ditch with fellow troops, keeping their heads tucked under their arm, eyes closed. There were some 14,000 soldiers in Operation Plumbbob. That operation consisted of 29 separate explosions as the military tested various types of warheads, in a move that is still controversial today. Operation Plumbbob released some 58,300 kilocuries of radioiodine into the atmosphere, large enough to produce thousands of cases of thyroid cancer and leukemia.
Another operation – called Operation Cue – sought to test how objects like buildings, food, clothing, and people, responded to nuclear explosions. After the bomb deployed, soldiers would simulate operations like delivering food to victims of the attack and medically tending to them. The fallout from that bomb reached 1,000 miles.
The scientific world knew well in advance that the radiation exposure to the soldiers during these tests was, to say the least, extremely dangerous but still went ahead with the tests.
The use of depleted uranium in combat is a fairly new innovation. In the 1950's the United States Department of Defense became interested in using depleted uranium metal in weapons because of its extremely dense, pyrophoric qualities and because it was cheap and available in huge quantities. It is now given practically free of charge to the military and arms manufacturers and is used both as tank armor, and in armor-piercing shells known as depleted uranium penetrators. As an anti-tank weapon, they enable
When they said that depleted uranium was the
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. 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. This uranium "pencil" then explodes inside its target, creating a deadly "firestorm. It's a flying rod of solid uranium 18-inches long and three-quarters of an inch in diameter, is what becomes of a DU tank round after it is fired. Because Uranium-238 is pyrophoric, meaning it burns on contact with air, DU rounds are burning as they fly.
Depleted uranium was first used on a large scale in military combat during the 1991 Gulf War, and has since been used in
Dr. Doug Rokke Major, Medical Service Corps, USAR 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
After years of this kind of this work in
Burning tanks, burning oil fields, charred bodies. This was
"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
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 .3 microns, and that scientists at the
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 and experimental vaccinations.
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? Rokke believes that the
DU contaminated areas extend much farther than the
As the US is involved in Afghanistan and 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
"Am I pushing for peace today? Yes, I am," he said. Before a war with
"I hope God slam-dunks their butts, because this is absolutely criminal," he said.
Two scientific study teams were sent to
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
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.
Italian soldiers are still dying following exposure to depleted uranium in the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, their relatives say.
Troops who served during the wars in the 1990s believe they have contracted cancer and other serious illnesses from extended exposure to the munitions.
The Italians who served in
Children with disabilities
The association representing the soldiers, known as Anavafaf, says many of those who have died or are ill have contracted cancer.
In 2002 the Italian defense ministry published a report compiled by independent scientists which found a higher than average number of servicemen were suffering from cancer.
It said there was an excessive number of Hodgkin's disease victims among Italian Balkan peacekeepers.
A number of children fathered by the soldiers have been born with disabilities.
There are similar reports from soldiers' associations in
Making weapons and other items out of the waste products of the nuclear business is a very 'convenient', very cheap, but potentially deadly way to get rid of the nuclear waste.
What Government Documents Admit
"If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU in the body are both chemical and radiological."
"Personnel inside or near vehicles struck by DU penetrators could receive significant internal exposures."
From the Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI), Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the
"Short-term effects of high doses can result in death, while long-term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer."
"Aerosol DU exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological and toxicological effects."
From the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) report, included as Appendix D of AMMCOM's Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study, Danesi, July 1990.
This report was completed six months before Desert Storm.
"Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and a toxicity risk."
What the Government Is Telling Us
"The Committee concludes that it is unlikely that health effects reports by Gulf War Veterans today are the result of exposure to depleted uranium during the Gulf war."
From the Final Report: Presidential Advisory Committee of Gulf War Veterans Illnesses, December 1996.
Researchers have shown that uranium oxide, or DU, “travels the nerves from the nose to the brain,” in the words of a University of Chicago doc and researcher.
A tiny amount (a milligram) of this radioactive poison quick marches up your smelling nerves right into your brain and keeps firing 1.2 Million bullets a day forever. That’s a bunch.
The radioactive 850 rounds a minute automatic weapon is about as big as the period at the end of this sentence, never needs reloading and never jams. It’s a perfect killing machine for brain cells and other cells. The range is about 20 cells, after that there is what the famous British physicist Dr. Chris Busby calls the “bystander effect.” He discovered it, he gets to name it.
These radioactive automatic weapons are so small they can float right through your clothes, evade your skin’s defenses and invade your body. Wherever the weapons alight inside, there is trouble as they never stop firing and there is no limit to their number. In a soldiers brain, trouble shows up in a noticeable way to others.
As for the 20 cell radius ball within Range, think of these powerful Bullets each as a 100 car, 100 mph, or 160 kmh, fully loaded freight train obliterating a small dog tied to the railroad tracks. Right, for the 20 cells that are within range in all directions, it ain’t pretty.
To me, this means these 20 cell radius spheres in Soldiers and Vets brains turn to jelly or mush, weird diseases or cancers, or all of the above. No wonder VA Secretary and former General Eric Shinseki has noted the big increase in the VA’s contract Psychiatric services.
This radioactive bullet explanation for Vets unusual behaviors holds water and makes perfect sense to me. The Vets are under attack internally. Actually inside their skulls and in their brains. Worse, there’s nothing they can do about it. The huge VA system is also helpless. There is no cure and no treatment. The VA knows it and is stonewalling. They fired the only doc who stood up to them on DU. Word travels fast among the cowed medical staffs. So, the Vets get slapped with some fake diagnosis and sent to the shrink or told there is nothing wrong with them. No way the spineless docs are going to call it like it is. They grab their 250K and slink home, comfortable every night.
That ain’t no way to run an Army; but, it IS a way to run the world’s most lethal Armed Force right into the ground.
Major Doug Rokke, Ph.D, Ret., former Director of the Pentagon’s Depleted Uranium Project, puts it succinctly “It [DU] is killing our own troops.”
Since no less than Gen Shinseki has pointed out the huge increases in contract psychiatric services, let’s all take note of it and ask real loud “Why is this happening to Vets? They are not the enemy!” It’s way past time to take names and kick ass in DC. That means changing the President as s/he appoints the head of the DOD. Not so hard to do, really. It is simply what is required.
No wonder DU in the brain drives Vets nuts. The suffering these Vets must go through is unimaginable. OK. Here’s the targeted science, make up your own minds. I did.