*******US War Crimes: Cancer Rate in Fallujah Worse than Hiroshima
GI’s Brains Fried by Military Dispensed Nose Candy
October 2, 2010 posted by Bob Nichols
News Alert — Jeff Rense’s rebroadcast show airs Monday at 10:00 pm Pacific Time to discuss “GI’s Brains Fried by Military Dispensed Nose Candy.” Google: “the Jeff Rense Program”
(San Francisco) – Now it is official. 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.
James Blake Miller Los Angeles Times photo by Luis Sinco
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.
850 Rounds a Minute
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.
Olfactory Nerve to Brain, The Free Dictionary
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.”
General Eric Shinseki, Head of VA
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.
Uranium travels nerves from nose to brain
Jul 31, 2009
Tournier, BB, S Frelon, E Tourlonias, L Agez, O Delissen, I Dublineau, F Paquet, and F Petitot. 2009. Role of the olfactory receptor neurons in the direct transport of inhaled uranium to the rat brain. Toxicology Letters doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.05.022.
Synopsis by Paul Eubig, DVM
Radioactive uranium that is inhaled by soldiers on the battlefield and by workers in factories may bypass the brain’s protective barrier by following nerves from the nose directly to the brain.
Nerves can act as a unique conduit, carrying inhaled uranium from the nose directly to the brain, finds a study with rats. Once in the brain, the uranium may affect task and decision-related types of thinking.
This study provides yet another example of how some substances can use the olfactory system – bypassing the brain’s protective blood barrier – to go directly to the brain. Titanium nanoparticles and the metals manganese, nickel, and thallium have been shown to reach the brain using the same route.
Military personnel and people who work in uranium processing plants are exposed to the weak radioactive element via wounds or by breathing. Exposure may affect brain function; cognitive skills are lowered in soldiers who carry uranium-laced shrapnel.
Uranium has various industrial and military uses. A form of uranium called depleted uranium is very dense and is used in armor-piercing ammunition and military vehicle armor.
Battlefield exposure can occur through wounds – such as with some US military personnel who were injured during the Gulf War. These exposures can be higher than with civilians who work with the element. A study of Gulf War veterans who have uranium shrapnel in their bodies showed that they perform more poorly on general brain cognitive tests of performance efficiency and accuracy.
Uranium can also be inhaled. Soldiers in vehicles hit by uranium rounds and workers in uranium-processing facilities can breathe it in.
The researchers – taking advantage of the fact that uranium can exist in different forms, or isotopes – used rats to compare how the element travels through the body if it is inhaled or injected into the blood. The animals breathed in one isotope at levels similar to those encountered on a battlefield where depleted uranium weapons are used. They were also injected with a different isotope. Researchers compared the levels of the two isotopes in different regions of the brain.
The inhaled isotope accumulated at 2 to 3 times higher levels than the injected isotope in the olfactory (smell) paths from the nose to the brain and in the frontal cortex and hypothalamus of the brain. This is concerning because the front part of the brain controls executive function, which is the broad ability to gather information, make decisions and initiate action.
The scientists then chemically damaged the olfactory nerves in the nose. The rats with the damaged nerves had three times less uranium in the olfactory system than the rats with intact olfactory nerves.
These finding suggests that inhaled uranium can travel directly from the nose along the olfactory nerves to the front of the brain. The olfactory pathway, then, plays an important role in inhaled uranium reaching the brain.
It is not known from this study if soldiers and civilian workers that breathe uranium could be at an even higher risk for cognitive effects or if inhaled uranium may affect brain function in similar ways as when it is carried through the blood. It is also unclear if these findings would hold true for the human brain since the rat brain is much more developed for smelling than the human brain.
Assessing these possible risks and determining if people’s relatively underdeveloped sense of smell could protect the brain would require further studies of people exposed to uranium through inhalation.
No 2. Abstract
Uranium presents numerous industrial and military uses and one of the most important risks of contamination is dust inhalation. In contrast to the other modes of contamination, the inhaled uranium has been proposed to enter the brain not only by the common route of all modes of exposure, the blood pathway, but also by a specific inhalation exposure route, the olfactory pathway. To test whether the inhaled uranium enter the brain directly from the nasal cavity, male Sprague–Dawley rats were exposed to both inhaled and intraperitoneally injected uranium using the 236U and 233U, respectively, as tracers. The results showed a specific frontal brain accumulation of the inhaled uranium which is not observed with the injected uranium. Furthermore, the inhaled uranium is higher than the injected uranium in the olfactory bulbs (OB) and tubercles, in the frontal cortex and in the hypothalamus. In contrast, the other cerebral areas (cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum and brain residue) did not show any preferential accumulation of inhaled or injected uranium. These results mean that inhaled uranium enters the brain via a direct transfer from the nasal turbinates to the OB in addition to the systemic pathway. The uranium transfer from the nasal turbinates to the OB is lower in animals showing a reduced level of olfactory receptor neurons (ORN) induced by an olfactory epithelium lesion prior to the uranium inhalation exposure. These results give prominence to a role of the ORN in the direct transfer of the uranium from the nasal cavity to the brain.
The Notes are an integral part of the article. Include when distributing. CopyRight by Bob Nichols 2010. Feel free to distribute with attribution and Notes.
“PTSD, infertility and other consequences of war,” April 27, 2010, Bob Nichols, VeteransToday dot com http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/04/27/ptsd-infertility-and-other-consequences-of-war/ Or, http://tinyurl.com/22w8qpy
“Uranium travels nerves from nose to brain.”
Synopsis by Paul Eubig, DVM Jul 31, 2009, Environmental Health News.
Role of the olfactory receptor neurons in the direct transport of inhaled uranium to the rat brain, Benjamin B. Tourniera, Sandrine Frelona, Elie Tourloniasa, Laurence Ageza, Olivia Delissena, Isabelle Dublineaub, François Paqueta and Fabrice Petitot, Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, Laboratoire de Radiotoxicologie Expérimentale, IRSN/DRPH/SRBE/LRTOX, Site du Tricastin, B.P. 166, 26702 Pierrelatte Cedex, France, Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, Laboratoire de Radiotoxicologie Expérimentale, IRSN/DRPH/SRBE/LRTOX, 92262 Fontenay-aux-Roses Cedex, France, Received 27 March 2009; revised 26 May 2009; accepted 27 May 2009. Available online 9 June 2009, Toxicology Letters Volume 190, Issue 1, 8 October 2009, Pages 66-73
“Sublethal Effects of Waterborne Uranium Exposures on the Zebrafish Brain: Transcriptional Responses and Alterations of the Olfactory Bulb Ultrastructure,” Ad†, Jean-Paul Bourdineaud‡, Karlijn van der Ven§, Tine Vandenbrouck§, Patrice Gonzalez‡, Virginie Camilleri†, Magali Floriani†, Jacqueline Garnier-Laplace† and Christelle Adam-Guillermin, Laboratoire de Radio
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010, 44 (4), pp 1438–1443, DOI: 10.1021/es902550x, Publication Date (Web): January 20, 2010, Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society
Google: uranium + olfactory For 102,000 responses with uranium and olfactory on the same page, Bob Nichols, Sep 29, 2010. Many will apply.
A second source for: “Role of the olfactory receptor neurons in the direct transport of inhaled uranium to the rat brain.” Toxicol Lett. 2009 Oct 8;190(1):66-73. Epub 2009 Jun 6.
By Tom Eley
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20241
Global Research, July 23, 2010
The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.
The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.
The assault on Fallujah, a city located 43 miles west of Baghdad, was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. After the population resisted the US-led occupation of Iraq—a war of neo-colonial plunder launched on the basis of lies—Washington determined to make an example of the largely Sunni city. This is called “exemplary” or “collective” punishment and is, according to the laws of war, illegal.
The new public health study of the city now all but proves what has long been suspected: that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the assault contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness.
In a study of 711 houses and 4,843 individuals carried out in January and February 2010, authors Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, Entesar Ariabi and a team of researchers found that the cancer rate had increased fourfold since before the US attack five years ago, and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.
In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait.
Strikingly, after 2005 the proportion of girls born in Fallujah has increased sharply. In normal populations, 1050 boys are born for every 1000 girls. But among those born in Fallujah in the four years after the US assault, the ratio was reduced to 860 boys for every 1000 female births. This alteration is similar to gender ratios found in Hiroshima after the US atomic attack of 1945.
The most likely reason for the change in the sex ratio, according to the researchers, is the impact of a major mutagenic event—likely the use of depleted uranium in US weapons. While boys have one X-chromosome, girls have a redundant X-chromosome and can therefore absorb the loss of one chromosome through genetic damage.
Busby told an Italian television news station, RAI 24, that the “extraordinary” increase in radiation-related maladies in Fallujah is higher than that found in the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the US atomic strikes of 1945. “My guess is that this was caused by depleted uranium,” he said. “They must be connected.”
The US military uses depleted uranium, also known as spent nuclear fuel, in armor-piercing shells and bullets because it is twice as dense as lead. Once these shells hit their target, however, as much as 40 percent of the uranium is released in the form of tiny particles in the area of the explosion. It can remain there for years, easily entering the human bloodstream, where it lodges itself in lymph glands and attacks the DNA produced in the sperm and eggs of affected adults, causing, in turn, serious birth defects in the next generation.
The research is the first systematic scientific substantiation of a body of evidence showing a sharp increase in infant mortality, birth defects, and cancer in Fallujah.
In October of 2009, several Iraqi and British doctors wrote a letter to the United Nations demanding an inquiry into the proliferation of radiation-related sickness in the city:
“Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias...
“In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed...
“Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects, but premature births have also considerably increased after 2003. But what is more alarming is that doctors in Fallujah have said, ‘a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage.’” (See: “Sharp rise in birth defects in Iraqi city destroyed by US military”)
The Pentagon responded to this report by asserting that there were no studies to prove any proliferation of deformities or other maladies associated with US military actions. “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues,” a Defense Department spokesman told the BBC in March. There have been no studies, however, in large part because Washington and its puppet Baghdad regime have blocked them.
According to the authors of “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” the Iraqi authorities attempted to scuttle their survey. “[S]hortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested,” the study reports.
The history of the atrocity committed by American imperialism against the people of Fallujah began on April 28, 2003, when US Army soldiers fired indiscriminately into a crowd of about 200 residents protesting the conversion of a local school into a US military base. Seventeen were killed in the unprovoked attack, and two days later American soldiers fired on a protest against the murders, killing two more.
This intensified popular anger, and Fallujah became a center of the Sunni resistance against the occupation—and US reprisals. On March 31, 2004, an angry crowd stopped a convoy of the private security firm Blackwater USA, responsible for its own share of war crimes. Four Blackwater mercenaries were dragged from their vehicles, beaten, burned, and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.
The US military then promised it would pacify the city, with one unnamed officer saying it would be turned into “a killing field,” but Operation Vigilant Resolve, involving thousands of Marines, ended in the abandonment of the siege by the US military in May, 2004. The victory of Fallujah’s residents against overwhelming military superiority was celebrated throughout Iraq and watched all over the world.
The Pentagon delivered its response in November 2004. The city was surrounded, and all those left inside were declared to be enemy combatants and fair game for the most heavily equipped killing machine in world history. The Associated Press reported that men attempting to flee the city with their families were turned back into the slaughterhouse.
In the attack, the US made heavy use of the chemical agent white phosphorus. Ostensibly used only for illuminating battlefields, white phosphorus causes terrible and often fatal wounds, burning its way through building material and clothing before eating away skin and then bone. The chemical was also used to suck the oxygen out of buildings where civilians were hiding.
Washington’s desire for revenge against the population is indicated by the fact that the US military reported about the same number of “gunmen” killed (1,400) as those taken alive as prisoners (1,300-1,500). In one instance, NBC News captured video footage of a US soldier executing a wounded and helpless Iraqi man. A Navy investigation later found the Marine had been acting in self-defense.
Fifty-one US soldiers died in 10 days of combat. The true number of city residents who were killed is not known. The city’s population before the attack was estimated to be between 425,000 and 600,000. The current population is believed to be between 250,000 and 300,000. Tens of thousands, mostly women and children, fled in advance of the attack. Half of the city’s building were destroyed, most of these reduced to rubble.
Like much of Iraq, Fallujah remains in ruins. According to a recent report from IRIN, a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Fallujah still has no functioning sewage system six years after the attack. “Waste pours onto the streets and seeps into drinking water supplies,” the report notes. “Abdul-Sattar Kadhum al-Nawaf, director of Fallujah general hospital, said the sewage problem had taken its toll on residents’ health. They were increasingly affected by diarrhea, tuberculosis, typhoid and other communicable diseases.”
The savagery of the US assault shocked the world, and added the name Fallujah to an infamous list that includes My Lai, Sabra-Shatila, Guérnica, Nanking, Lidice, and Wounded Knee.
But unlike those other massacres, the crime against Fallujah did not end when the bullets were no longer fired or the bombs stopped falling.
The Fallujah study is timely, with the US now preparing a major escalation of the violence in Afghanistan. The former head of US Afghanistan operations, General Stanley McChrystal, was replaced last month after a media campaign, assisted by a Rolling Stone magazine feature, accused him, among other things, of tying the hands of US soldiers in their response to Afghan insurgents.
McChrystal was replaced by General David Petraeus, formerly head of the US Central Command. Petraeus has outlined new rules of engagement designed to allow for the use of disproportionate force against suspected militants.
Petraeus, in turn, was replaced at Central Command by General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who played a key planning role in the US assault on Fallujah in 2004. Mattis revels in killing, telling a public gathering in 2005 “it’s fun to shoot some people.... You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”
How Depleted Uranium Kills U.S. Soldiers - The Tragedy of Dustin Brim
January 26, 2006
The widespread use of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq has led to a much higher death rate among U.S. military personnel than the Pentagon is willing to admit. The tragedy of Dustin Brim is the untold story of one such casualty.
ORMOND BEACH, Florida - An alarmingly high percentage of U.S. military personnel who have served in Iraq have been afflicted by a variety of health problems commonly known as Gulf War Syndrome. Exposure to uranium spread through the use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons is thought to be the primary cause of the high rate of chronic ailments and mortality among Gulf War vets.
One of the first published researchers of Gulf War Syndrome, Dr. András Korényi-Both told me in 2004 that nearly 30 percent of Gulf War veterans from the first invasion of Iraq were afflicted with chronic health problems, a disability rate 5 times that of the Viet Nam War.
While initial casualties from the first U.S. invasion of Iraq were light, long-term casualties from the 1991 war ultimately exceeded 30 percent, according to Terrell E. Arnold, former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College. The long-term casualty rate from the current war in Iraq, Arnold says, is likely to be much higher.
"Gulf War II is and has been a far more hairy experience," Arnold wrote. "Fighting has been heavier and much more prolonged. Many tons more of depleted uranium weapons have been used, along with other toxic devices. Thus, a long term casualty rate for American forces of 40 to 50 percent appears realistic."
Indeed, as I discovered in 2004, 40 percent of the soldiers in one unit were found to have malignant cancerous growths when they returned from a tour of a year and a few months in Iraq.
András Korényi-Both said the unit, which his son belonged to, had recently returned from Iraq, where it had taken part in the initial assault on Baghdad. In the unit of 20 soldiers, 8 men were found to have "malignant growths" when they returned to the U.S., he said.
Official statistics of killed and wounded from the 15-year long war against Iraq do not reflect the veterans whose service related injuries only become apparent after they return from Iraq. The official death rate of those killed and wounded in Iraq does not include these vets, many of whom suffer slow and painful deaths as a direct result of their service. Dustin Brim was one of them.
"In the end, will we be able to say that the outcome was worth 60-70,000 damaged, distorted or destroyed American lives, to say nothing of the effects on their families and communities?" Arnold asks in his article "Seeing Our Way Out of Iraq."
As I listened to Lori Brim, a single mother who lost her 22-year-old son in the war in Iraq, where he served as an U.S. Army mechanic, to ask whether she thought the outcome was worth her sacrifice never even entered my mind. The depth of her tragedy made such a question seem cruel and absurd.
Lori lost Dustin, her only child, when he died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2004, after 6 months of fighting what was eventually diagnosed as Non-Hodgkins Diffuse Large Cell B Type Lymphoma. When Lori had asked the doctors how her young, healthy and strong son had contracted cancer all they would say was "bad luck."
Her case worker and nurses at the hospital were more forthcoming with information. At different times during the six months nurses would take Lori aside and urge her to do some research on DU. The nurses' comments were "off the record," Lori said.
Asked whose idea it was for Dustin, a 20-year old from Daytona Beach with a passion for cars, to join the army in the summer of 2002, Lori said, "It was mine." Dustin had not wanted to join the army, his mother said.
But Dustin was never meant to be in a war zone, she added. The U.S. Army recruiter had promised her, that as her only child, he would not be sent to war.
As a single mother, Lori had approached an army recruiter out of concern for the well-being of her son. Although neither she nor Dustin's father have military backgrounds, Lori thought the army would be good for her son by giving him some needed discipline and direction.
Mechanically inclined, Dustin became an army mechanic, an E-4 Specialist serving in the 1st Maintenance Company under the 541st Maintenance Battalion from Fort Riley, Kansas, and was deployed to Iraq in August 2003.
Dustin's work in Iraq involved working on disabled army vehicles, including tanks, which his unit repaired and retrieved, or if damaged beyond repair, destroyed with explosives on the spot. Most of these vehicles, having been in the battlefield, would have been heavily laden with DU and other toxins.
Dr. Doug Rokke, former director of the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project, said that mechanics like Dustin are not properly prepared or protected to be working on DU contaminated vehicles. Lori said that her son had not even been equipped with a pair of gloves, not to speak of a mask or protective garb. The army's failure to inform and instruct its personnel about the dangers of DU exposure is one of Dr. Rokke's main concerns.
At Christmas 2003, Dustin surprised his parents with an unexpected visit after only 4 months in Iraq. It was last time Lori would see her son in a healthy condition. A photo of Dustin taken in Iraq in February 2004 shows him smiling and strong.
In early March, however, Dustin began to complain of abdominal pains. He went to the doctors on his base 11 times during the month complaining of severe pain and constipation that lasted for weeks. He was sent back to his job and told to "work it out."
During the last two weeks of March, he wrote to his mother telling her that he could not keep anything down and that his pain was so persistent and unbearable he was afraid he would lose focus and let his buddies down.
On March 31st he passed out from pain and breathlessness. His sergeant happened to be with him and took him to the doctors who thought he had gall bladder problems and sent him to the hospital in Baghdad.
The next day, April 1st, was Dustin's 22nd birthday. After being assessed and heavily drugged with morphine, the doctors allowed him to call home to tell his mother that was very ill with cancer.
In Baghdad, the doctors had discovered that Dustin had a huge cancerous tumor on his esophagus, which severely restricted his breathing, a collapsed lung, the loss of a kidney, numerous blood clots and a tumor progressing on his liver.
The doctors could not believe that Dustin had been turned away so many times for medical help and still manage to endure as long as he did in his magnitude of pain while carrying an 80-pound pack on his back, his mother said.
Dustin was flown to the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and then on to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
From April through September, Dustin underwent 6 different types of chemo-therapy. Each therapy seemed to work only for a few days after which the cancer returned with a vengeance. On September 24, 2004, Dustin succumbed to the cancer that had affected every organ in his body except for his heart and brain as the autopsy later revealed.
"I knew from the start that Dustin had been either exposed to something in Iraq or his immune system had been affected by the vaccines they had to take," Lori said. "The doctors would not comment on my thoughts but at the end they agreed they had never seen anything like it."
The nurses, however, told Lori to keep researching DU. "Dustin is not the first and he won't be the last," one nurse told her confidentially.
"The medical profession is the most controlled group in the U.S. in order to protect the nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs," Lauren Moret, a Berkeley-based radiation expert said about the silence of the doctors. The gagging of medical professionals has been achieved through a piece of legislation called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), under which a doctor or nurse can be fined and imprisoned for disclosing health information to another person, even a family member.
"The story of Dustin Brim is just one more avoidable tragedy of our insane use of uranium munitions," Rokke said.
"When I lost Dustin, I lost myself," Lori said. "This is something that should not have happened.
"There is something going on but no one wants to talk about it on the record. I am sharing my son's story with you in the hope that perhaps it will make a difference."
Dustin Brim, 21, of Daytona Beach, Florida, in Iraq in February 2004. Within two months of this photo, Dustin would be severely afflicted with massive cancerous tumors that would prevent him from breathing and eating normally. Within seven months he would succumb to lymphoma at Walter Reed Hospital, age 22, an unnecessary and tragic death from depleted uranium poisoning.
Dr. Doug Rokke, former director of the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project, is pushing for the Army to comply with its own regulations on DU. One of the key points he makes is that U.S. military personnel are not informed or protected from the dangers of DU exposure.
U.S. Soldiers Are Sick of It
08 December 2006
NEW YORK -- It takes at least 10 minutes and a large glass of orange juice to wash down all the pills -- morphine, methadone, a muscle relaxant, an antidepressant, a stool softener. Viagra for sexual dysfunction. Valium for his nerves.
Four hours later, Herbert Reed will swallow another 15 mg of morphine to cut the pain clenching every part of his body. He will do it twice more before the day is done.
Since he left a bombed-out train depot in Iraq, his gums bleed. There is more blood in his urine, and still more in his stool. Bright light hurts his eyes. A tumor has been removed from his thyroid. Rashes erupt everywhere, itching so badly they seem to live inside his skin. Migraines cleave his skull. His joints ache, grating like door hinges in need of oil.
There is something massively wrong with Herbert Reed, though no one is sure what it is. He believes he knows the cause, but he cannot convince anyone caring for him that the military's new favorite weapon has made him terrifyingly sick.
In the sprawling bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, he has many caretakers. An internist, a neurologist, a pain-management specialist, a psychologist, an orthopedic surgeon and a dermatologist. He cannot function without his stupefying arsenal of medications, but they exact a high price.
"I'm just a zombie walking around," he says.
Reed believes depleted uranium has contaminated him and his life. He now walks point in a vitriolic war over the Pentagon's arsenal of it -- thousands of shells and hundreds of tanks coated with the metal that is radioactive, chemically toxic, and nearly twice as dense as lead.
A shell coated with depleted uranium pierces a tank like a hot knife through butter, exploding on impact into a charring inferno. As tank armor, it repels artillery assaults. It also leaves behind a fine radioactive dust with a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
Depleted uranium is the garbage left from producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and energy plants. It is 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium. The United States has an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of it, sitting in hazardous waste storage sites across the country. Meaning it is plentiful and cheap as well as highly effective.
Reed says he unknowingly breathed DU dust while living with his unit in Samawah, Iraq. He was med-evaced out in July 2003, nearly unable to walk because of lightning-strike pains from herniated discs in his spine. Then began a strange series of symptoms he'd never experienced in his previously healthy life.
At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C, he ran into a buddy from his unit. And another, and another, and in the tedium of hospital life between doctor visits and the dispensing of meds, they began to talk.
"We all had migraines. We all felt sick," Reed says. "The doctors said, 'It's all in your head.' "
Then the medic from their unit showed up. He too, was suffering. That made eight sick soldiers from the 442nd Military Police, an Army National Guard unit made up of mostly cops and correctional officers from the New York area.
But the medic knew something the others didn't. Dutch marines had taken over the abandoned train depot dubbed Camp Smitty, which was surrounded by tank skeletons, unexploded ordnance and shell casings. They'd brought radiation-detection devices. The readings were so hot, the Dutch set up camp in the middle of the desert rather than live in the station ruins.
"We got on the Internet," Reed said, "and we started researching depleted uranium."
Then they contacted The New York Daily News, which paid for sophisticated urine tests available only overseas.
Then they hired a lawyer.
Reed, Gerard Matthew, Raymond Ramos, Hector Vega, Augustin Matos, Anthony Yonnone, Jerry Ojeda and Anthony Phillip all have depleted uranium in their urine, according to tests done in December 2003, while they bounced for months between Walter Reed and New Jersey's Fort Dix medical center, seeking relief that never came.
The analyses were done in Germany, by a Frankfurt professor who developed a depleted uranium test with Randall Parrish, a professor of isotope geology at the University of Leicester in Britain.
The veterans, using their positive results as evidence, have sued the U.S. Army, claiming officials knew the hazards of depleted uranium, but concealed the risks.
The Department of Defense says depleted uranium is powerful and safe, and not that worrisome.
Four of the highest-registering samples from Frankfurt were sent to the VA. Those results were negative, Reed said. "Their test just isn't as sophisticated," he said. "And when we first asked to be tested, they told us there wasn't one. They've lied to us all along."
The VA's testing methodology is safe and accurate, the agency says. More than 2,100 soldiers from the current war have asked to be tested; only eight had DU in their urine, the VA said.
The term depleted uranium is linguistically radioactive. Simply uttering the words can prompt a reaction akin to preaching atheism at tent revival. Heads shake, eyes roll, opinions are yelled from all sides.
"The Department of Defense takes the position that you can eat it for breakfast and it poses no threat at all," said Steve Robinson of the National Gulf War Resource Center, which helps veterans with various problems, including navigating the labyrinth of VA health care. "Then you have far-left groups that ... declare it a crime against humanity."
Several countries use it as weaponry, including Britain, which fired it during the 2003 Iraq invasion.
An estimated 286 tons of DU munitions were fired by the United States in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. An estimated 130 tons were shot toppling Saddam Hussein.
Depleted uranium can enter the human body by inhalation, the most dangerous method; by ingesting contaminated food or eating with contaminated hands; by getting dust or debris in an open wound, or by being struck by shrapnel, which often is not removed because doing so would be more dangerous than leaving it.
Inhaled, it can lodge in the lungs. As with imbedded shrapnel, this is doubly dangerous -- not only are the particles themselves physically destructive, they emit radiation.
A moderate voice on the divisive DU spectrum belongs to Dan Fahey, a doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, who has studied the issue for years and also served in the Gulf War before leaving the military as a conscientious objector.
"I've been working on this since '93 and I've just given up hope," he said. "I've spoken to successive federal committees and elected officials ... who then side with the Pentagon. Nothing changes."
At the other end are a collection of conspiracy-theorists and internet proselytizers who say using such weapons constitutes genocide. Two of the most vocal opponents recently suggested that a depleted-uranium missile, not a hijacked jetliner, struck the Pentagon in 2001.
"The bottom line is it's more hazardous than the Pentagon admits," Fahey said, "but it's not as hazardous as the hard-line activist groups say it is. And there's a real dearth of information about how DU affects humans."
There are several studies on how it affects animals, though their results are not, of course, directly applicable to humans. Military research on mice shows that depleted uranium can enter the bloodstream and come to rest in bones, the brain, kidneys and lymph nodes. Other research in rats shows that DU can result in cancerous tumors and genetic mutations, and pass from mother to unborn child, resulting in birth defects.
Iraqi doctors reported significant increases in birth defects and childhood cancers after the 1991 invasion.
Iraqi authorities "found that uranium, which affected the blood cells, had a serious impact on health: The number of cases of leukemia had increased considerably, as had the incidence of fetal deformities," the U.N. reported.
Depleted uranium can also contaminate soil and water, and coat buildings with radioactive dust, which can by carried by wind and sandstorms.
In 2005, the U.N. Environmental Program identified 311 polluted sites in Iraq. Cleaning them will take at least $40 million and several years, the agency said. Nothing can start until the fighting stops.
Fifteen years after it was first used in battle, there is only one U.S. government study monitoring veterans exposed to depleted uranium. Number of soldiers in the survey: 32. Number of soldiers in both Iraq wars: more than 900,000.
The study group's size is controversial -- far too small, say experts including Fahey -- and so are the findings of the voluntary, Baltimore-based study. It has found "no clinically significant" health effects from depleted uranium exposure in the study subjects, according to its researchers.
Critics say the VA has downplayed participants' health problems, including not reporting one soldier who developed cancer, and another who developed a bone tumor.
So for now, depleted uranium falls into the quagmire of Gulf War Syndrome, from which no treatment has emerged despite the government's spending of at least $300 million.
About 30 percent of the 700,000 men and women who served in the first Gulf War still suffer a baffling array of symptoms very similar to those reported by Reed's unit.
Depleted uranium has long been suspected as a possible contributor to Gulf War Syndrome, and in the mid-90s, veterans helped push the military into tracking soldiers exposed to it.
But for all their efforts, what they got in the end was a questionnaire dispensed to homeward-bound soldiers asking about mental health, nightmares, losing control, exposure to dangerous and radioactive chemicals.
But, the veterans persisted, how would soldiers know they'd been exposed? Radiation is invisible, tasteless, and has no smell. And what exhausted, homesick, war-addled soldier would check a box that would only send him or her to a military medical center to be poked and prodded and questioned and tested?
It will take years to determine how depleted uranium affected soldiers from this war. After Vietnam, veterans, in numbers that grew with the passage of time, complained of joint aches, night sweats, bloody feces, migraine headaches, unexplained rashes and violent behavior; some developed cancers.
It took more than 25 years for the Pentagon to acknowledge that Agent Orange -- a corrosive defoliant used to melt the jungles of Vietnam and flush out the enemy -- was linked to those sufferings.
It took 40 years for the military to compensate sick World War II vets exposed to massive blasts of radiation during tests of the atomic bomb. In 2002, Congress voted to not let that happen again.
It established the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses -- composed of scientists, physicians and veterans' advocates. It reports to the secretary of Veterans Affairs. Its mandate is to judge all research and all efforts to treat Gulf War Syndrome patients against a single standard: Have sick soldiers been made better?
The answer, according to the committee, is no.
"Regrettably, after four years of operation neither the Committee nor (the) VA can report progress toward this goal," stated its December 2005 report. "Research has not produced effective treatments for these conditions nor shown that existing treatments are significantly effective."
And so time marches on, as do soldiers going to, and returning from, the deserts of Iraq.
Herbert Reed is an imposing man, broad shouldered and tall. He strides into the VA Medical Center in the Bronx with the presence of a cop or a soldier. Since the Vietnam War, he has been both.
His hair is perfect, his shirt spotless, his jeans sharply creased. But there is something wrong, a niggling imperfection made more noticeable by a bearing so disciplined. It is a limp -- more like a hitch in his get-along. It is the only sign, albeit a tiny one, that he is extremely sick.
Even sleep offers no release. He dreams of gunfire and bombs and soldiers who scream for help. No matter how hard he tries, he never gets there in time.
At 54, he is a veteran of two wars and a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department, where he last served as an assistant warden at the Riker's Island prison. He was in perfect health, he says, before being deployed to Iraq.
According to military guidelines, he should have heard the words depleted uranium long before he ended up at Walter Reed. He should have been trained about its dangers, and how to avoid prolonged exposure to its toxicity and radioactivity. He says he didn't get anything of the kind. Neither did other reservists and National Guard soldiers called up for the current war, according to veterans' groups.
Reed and the seven brothers from his unit hate what has happened to them, and they speak of it at public seminars and in politicians' offices. It is something no VA doctor can explain; something that leaves them feeling like so many spent shell rounds, kicked to the side of battle.
But for every outspoken soldier like them, there are silent veterans like Raphael Naboa, an Army artillery scout who served 11 months in the northern Sunni Triangle, only to come home and fall apart. Some days he feels fine. "Some days I can't get out of bed," he said from his home in Colorado.
Now 29, he's had growths removed from his brain. He has suffered a small stroke -- one morning he was shaving, having put down the razor to rinse his face. In that moment, he blacked out and pitched over. "Just as quickly as I lost consciousness, I regained it," he said. "Except I couldn't move the right side of my body." After about 15 minutes, the paralysis ebbed.
He has mentioned depleted uranium to his VA doctors, who say he suffers from a series of "non-related conditions." He knows he was exposed to DU. "A lot of guys went trophy-hunting, grabbing bayonets, helmets, stuff that was in the vehicles that were destroyed by depleted uranium. My guys were rooting around in it. I was trying to get them out of the vehicles."
No one in the military talked to him about depleted uranium, he said. His knowledge, like Reed's, is self-taught from the internet. Unlike Reed, he has not gone to war over it. He doesn't feel up to the fight. There is no known cure for what ails him, and so no possible victory in battle.
He'd really just like to feel normal again. And he knows of others who feel the same.
"I was an artillery scout, these are folks who are in pretty good shape. Your Rangers, your Special Forces guys, they're in as good as shape as a professional athlete.
"Then we come back and we're all sick."
They feel like men who once were warriors and now are old before their time, with no hope for relief from a multitude of miseries that has no name.*******
Depleted uranium has killed 11,000 U.S. military veterans; mainstream media ignores story
Friday, November 03, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
(NaturalNews) Highly toxic depleted uranium has created a death toll reaching the 11,000-soldier mark, and the continuing scandal is thought to have been the main reason behind the recent departure of Anthony Principi -- the secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.
Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York, said "The real reason for Mr. Principi's departure was really never given … however, a special report published by eminent scientist Leuren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of 'Gulf War Syndrome' has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the U.S. military."
Over 11,000 of the 580,000 soldiers who served in the first Gulf War are now deceased, according the Bernklau. In addition, Bernklau indicated that by 2000, 325,000 additional Gulf War veterans had gone on permanent medical disability, and more than half of the soldiers who served in the first Gulf War now have permanent medical problems.
Bernklau went on to point out that "The VA secretary was aware of this fact as far back as 2000 … he and the Bush administration have been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret’s report, it is far too big to hide or to cover up." He went on to indicate that exposure to depleted uranium is a virtual death sentence.
Bernklau added that "Marion Fulk, a nuclear chemist, who retired from the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and was also involved in the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in the soldiers now returning as 'spectacular' -- and a matter of concern.'"
Although pieces of this development have been published in a Washington newspaper and have appeared on wire services as well, the story has not been covered by the national media.*******
Learn About Depleted Uranium From the US Army's Expert on Depleted Uranium (DU):
Nuclear Holocaust and The Politics of Radiation
Dr. Doug Rokke Speaking in Los Altos, CA
21 April 2003
[He exhales into the microphone as if exhausted]
The purpose of war is real simple.
When you go to war, I don't care whether you're a medic like Dennis—I'm an old combat medic also—I don't care whether you're a cook, a member of the band, your job is to kill and destroy. Period. When you go to war, you are going to come back changed—physiologically and psychologically forever. When we go to war because the purpose is to kill and destroy, the military will use any and every weapon at their disposal to kill and destroy.
There's nothing else about it. It's simply killing and destroying. And anyone that gets in your way it's killed. And any item that gets in your way gets destroyed.
During Gulf War I—now remember, when Gulf War I started in August of 1990, that weekend, I spent it with Paul Tibbetts. For those of you who know about American history and world history, Paul Tibbetts was the commander of the Enola Gay. He's the guy to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the war started I was with him and the remainder of his crew. And we talked about what happened and World War II and what was about to happen in Gulf War I. And it happened.
Gulf War I was the largest friendly fire* incident in the history of American warfare. And the reason for that is because all of the exposures that happened. When I got activated when Gulf War I started, the first few months, I spent three days of the week teaching nuclear and biological and chemical warfare preparations, and medical care and treatment. Because that's my specialty... for many many years.
I came into the military in 1967. I'm still in the Army. Let's see, that's 36 years and counting? I don't know. How many people usually get out at 20? How many people stay for 36 and count?
When we got to Gulf War I, what happened was a whole complex of the exposures. Chemical agents... Hey, we knew what Iraq had as far as chemical agents because of the fact that the United States gave them to them and we kept the receipt. That's the Regal Commission Report, the United States Senate prepared by Jim Two (***SP???). It was the subject of a made-for-TV movie that we did, starring Ted Danson and Mark Helgenberger, called "Thanks of a Grateful Nation." It's really neat when you write part of a movie script to have someone like Ted Danson read your lines. I only had a small bit part in the movie. You know, you sell the back of my head and I was gone.
What we did in December of 1990 [was that] we made a conscious decision at the command headquarters to deliberately and willfully blow up chemical stockpiles, along with the biological stockpiles, along with the nuclear reactors that Iraq possessed. We knew where they were. We knew what he had. This is in Schwarzkopf's autobiography on page 390, if you need further reference. I was there.
Some ten years after the war, a couple years ago, we all got called up to Washington D.C. for the 10th anniversary of the command staff dead. I'm sitting there with the commander's, and we're talking about it. And they said "Well Doug, we sure did screw that let up." And I go, "Yeah, we did, all the way around."
All we did was hit an ice cube with a hammer.
And all the chemicals and biological stuff came back on the U.S. troops and everybody in the region.
They made illusions to immunizations. They hadn't bothered to maintain immunizations like you're supposed to for a physician treating a patient. So, everyone got all their shots all at once. The guys were in the shorts and the women were in their bras and their shorts. And everybody walked through a line, and we put one or two shots in each arm, in each butt, then they threw them over a table and did and IGG shot.
It's a nice mess. Everyone is sick already.
When the anthrax vaccine got into the theater*, we had a direct order not to record dose, batch, who got what, what the adverse effects and everything was. This stuff wasn't temperature-regulated. And people were getting sick right away. I administered thousands of anthrax vaccines, and got three myself.
Well, we blew up the reactors and DU. And I'll talk about DU a minute.
Unbelievable endemic diseases. Not only did everybody from all nations bring all their endemic diseases with them—hey, this is one big get-together-party—but the endemic diseases in the desert our unbelievable.
Any time you move a city or an army, or you blow up an infrastructure, you release toxic industrial chemicals from everything that you can think of in a city, a community and in an industry. Unbelievable releases. People are sick all over the place.
We had a significant problem. We knew the desert was dirty. [Inaudible] We got food and everything all over the place. So, we need to get pesticides. Before we left Fort McCoy, Wisconsin—you have to understand, I'm in the unit responsible for the theater environmental health and occupational safety. We were the theater experts. Well, we ordered are pesticides according to EPA guidelines, under CFR 40*, but they didn't come in. So we got over [to] the theater into our officers went out and bought everything on the open market. [He chuckles] We have NO idea what we sprayed on everybody.
Iraq absolutely possessed them, because, guess where they came from? The U.S. Army, USAMRD*. It's all in the Regal Commission Report.
What's more important—the United Nations demanded a report from Iraq that basically started this war—the missing pages detailed all of the U.S. industries in the U.S. military direct delivery of all of the weapons and chemical and biological stockpiles to Iraq. That's what happened. But that's why the pages were missing.
Oil Well Fires
Unbelievable complex organic, inorganic, particulates, and heavy-metal exposures. The oil well fires started. And ladies and gentlemen, the oil well fires are going on right now. And guess who's got the contract the cleanup?
[Someone in audience calls out, "Halliburton."]
Yeah. And guess who owns Halliburton? Isn't it neat when you send guys to war in the company makes money?
Dick Cheney worked for the giant oil conglomerate Halliburton before becoming VP. Halliburton gave Cheney $34,000,000, as a farewell gift when he left Halliburton. Halliburton is in the pipeline construction business.
Unbelievable complexities! The people were so sick right off the bat that at the command headquarters, we issued a medical directive that nobody should be anywhere near the oil fires without full respiratory and skin protection.
Now, you understand, everybody was trying to get Popsicle sticks and Q-tips. Remember Grandma and Ma said in the don't stick your finger up your nose to clean out? Hey, the only way to get this stuff OUT of your nose and your ears and our mouth was with a Popsicle stick, because you scraped it out like tar.
The health effects were all over. We issued a medical directive requiring full respiratory and skin protection, and they never got it.
All This Stuff is Happening!
All these exposures are happening and we're at the theater medical command headquarters. We're trying to get the information out. And you ask the question about control of the press and media. Flat-out, we had senior military officers who came from the Pentagon and tried to stop us from teaching, [and] tried to stop us from setting up medical care. And those are the same guys that released anthrax a few years ago on United States. The same guys. Because the only place the Ames strain of anthrax came from is U.S. Army lab at USAMRD. There's no place else that has in the world. And if you ever been up their working—and I have—you can't even get a fart out of the building.
So, we come to the Gulf War, and in December of 1990—now, you got understand I've been in and around the military for 23 years—I'm sitting there in and around, doing all this stuff, teaching nuclear bombs and chemical warfare, and I ain't never heard of depleted uranium until December of 1990.
I get a letter from Col. Charles Day at the Pentagon that says, "Doug, the better start thinking about depleted uranium." And I go, "What's this?" Well, we did a little research and we found out.
Then, the ground war happened. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the ground war was held up until February 25th of 1991 for three very specific reasons. No. 1; we didn't have the medical care in place to deal with chemical and biological and radiological casualties. No. 2; we didn't have to protective equipment and clothing and gas masks, enough MOPP* suits, enough gas masks filters to replace if we went to war and they used it. No. 3; we didn't have everybody educated and trained on how to use it.
Bower's Raiders, of which I was a member—the theater nuclear, biological and chemical warfare special operations team—finished teaching the theater command staff at 1:15 in the afternoon on the day before. . .the Saturday afternoon before we started the ground war. When it was completed, the Col. Bower, who's in charge of our team, a physician, sent a message out to theater command staff that said, "The train is on time." That was a codeword for starting the ground battle—the fact that everybody was ready. Col. Orig Bower (***SP?) issued the start of the ground war.
Then they decided to use uranium munitions. And we shot the heck out of everything. Uranium munitions are probably the most effective weapon your ever going to encounter. These things are the silver bullet. They kill and destroy anything in their path. They are EXTREMELY effective. And what you need to understand, and contrary to what he saw in the media, the DU round is not coated and it's not tipped. The DU round is solid uranium 238. The M1 tank round is over 10 pounds of solid uranium 238, contaminated with plutonium, neptunium, and americium.
We've got a plastic sabot that fits in there that takes the diameter of round, which is about three-quarters of an inch [19 mm] up to 120 mm [4.72"]. The minute that thing leaves the tube—the bore of the gun—the plastic sabot falls away. And all you have is a gigantic uranium dart—just like your playing darts—moving and unbelievable velocity down range to impact anything and everything.
When that 10 pound uranium dart strikes wood, metal, steel, iron, or anything — this thing is already on fire in flight. The uranium is pyrophoric and very soft. Uranium is not hard. It's soft. But the density is unbelievable. Extremely heavy per unit volume. So, you got this uranium dart, that basically three-quarters of an inch in diameter, 18 inches long, moving at better than 3000 feet per second. And when strikes, you have what we call, spalling is formed.
About 40 to 50 percent [mindfully.org note: depending on conditions, approximately 50 to 70% of the penetrator is burned and forms particles 0.1 micron or smaller] of the dart breaks off and forms spalling [a shotgun effect]. The spalling is uranium fragments. Some of the stuff catches fire. And some of the stuff is just solid uranium. And what you see inside is if I took a handful of BB's and through it across this room, extremely high velocity, everything is on fire and fragments. You have secondary detonations due to concussion and ignition beyond comprehension. And the whole thing is a catastrophic explosion.
During Gulf War I, we fired approximately 380 tons of solid uranium. [In the war in Iraq, estimates by experts are that we shot between 1,000 to 2,000 tons of DU.] This is just the solid uranium component. This is NOT the shells. 380 tons of solid uranium. Now, that [number] came from the individual that actually issued the uranium munitions, who was a member of my team. Totally confirmed by the guy that sent it over from the states, Bill Hubert. And totally confirmed by the guy who issued in theater, David Kiefer (***SP?).
We fired about 15,000 rounds of the M1-A1 10 pounds round. And we fired over a million rounds of the A-10 round. Now, the A-10 round, each individual round is 300 grams — about three-quarters of a pound of solid uranium. It's got a very slight copper shell on it, a coating just to protect the gun barrel when it fires out of the GAU-8*, but it doesn't last very long. The falls right off. That fires and a rate of 4000 rounds a minute. A TON IN HALF OF SOLID URANIUM PER MINUTE! out of an A-10. Unbelievable rates.
When this stuff impacts you get contamination that's spread all over the place. In and around the vehicle the contamination is extensive. You have to understand that the majority of casualties and deaths during Gulf War I on the U.S. side, or caused by friendly fire. That means that the U.S. shot and killed their own. The U.S. shot and wounded their own. That's other soldiers in M1 tanks shooting up our own. But, the U.S. also shot up the British. Now, when that happened, our team was REFUSED permission to provide medical care for the British. And we were refused permission to do the investigation, because the U.S. command didn't want that knowledge out that it was friendly fire from U.S.
I got a direct order from Norman G. Schwarzkopf—and he was ordered by the Pentagon—to assign me to clean up the DU mess. That's what I'm working on today. I'm still finishing that order. I'm an army officer. I'm a warrior, an honest-to-God warrior...many many years. Okay? Vietnam and Desert Storm.
Now, when I got up there, assigned to the team as the theater health physicist, and the health physicist on the DU assessment team, and also the medic on the DU assessment team—because I'm an old combat medic from the line infantry from three years, many many years ago. Because I've been military a long time and I've done a lot of different things. We got up there and we all started getting sick within 72 hours. The respiratory problems in the rashes started within 72 hours, not only on our team, but we're seeing this under friendly fire. And I immediately directed medical care for all DU casualties as the theater health physicist—according to army regulation, the person responsible for directing implementation of medical care. And I got a shit pot worth of medals for doing. But they never implemented it.
Jerry Weed's in there. He got shot up. Some guys got killed. The guy that got killed in this take, I scraped off his brains with a 6 inch putty knife. You know what it's like to scrape up body parts with a putty knife? Put them in a garbage bag? We can't bring them back to the states. We bury them in Saudi Arabia. The reality is war is death.
I went to Jerry's commander and directed medical care for him right away—coordinate his medical care with theater medical command staff. It never happened. NEVER HAPPENED.
In June of 1991, we're writing all our reports, it took our team of super scientists, engineers—some of us were already in theater, others were brought over—[it] took us three months to clean up 24 U.S. vehicles for shipment back to the United States. That's 15 Abrams Tanks, 9 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and I buried a whole bunch in a hole in Saudi Arabi.
They've asked Dave Kiefer and I to tell them where we bury them, so they can go scrape them up. And we told them, not only, "no," but "hell no." And my commander from the Gulf War is still backing it it up. Because those have got body parts and unexploded ordinance, and radioactive contamination, and chemical contamination. And the minute you crack that cap, those suckers are going to blow up on you.
You can't mess with this stuff!
There's no on unexploded ordinance that's safe. With this stuff goes under fire everything is very unstable. Now, EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal] experts in the army won't touch this stuff, ladies and gentlemen, which means that the Army Contaminated Equipment Recovery team, which I'm the health physicist of—or we were as long as we were in favor—are the only guys that do it. Every single member of the army's ACERT* [Army Computer Emergency Response Team] team is under disability today with a minimum of 40 percent [disability compensation], except for one guy. And that guy just did the paperwork. Every member of the army's primary experts are sick...from exposures...from just cleaning it up.
It took us three months to clean up 24 vehicles. Nobody knew how to do anything. The only manual we had was technical bulletin 9-1300-278, that Rich Lazar (***SP?) wrote and put out right before Gulf War I started. Ladies and gentlemen, Rich is dead from lymphoma from uranium exposures. He's one of my best friends. That's the only thing we had. So we had to figure out what we'd do.
Oh, we direct it.
How we clean it up?
Jesus, I don't know.
It's full of unexploded ordinance. We've got to remove the unexploded ordinance. We've got to decontaminate. We've got the package these vehicles. And we did this. The 144th maintenance, members of the 32nd, members of the 92nd, Med battalion, members of the 12th, members of the TACOM* staff—and everybody's sick or dead. And medical care is still not being provided.
Well, what we did is we figured out how do I room out unexploded ordinance? Well, climb in there and you carefully remove it.
Jesus, we're army doctors! But there ain't nobody else doing it.
And the 144th guys are out there, basically in their combat boots and cut off cammies, doing the work, because, hey, nobody told them that this stuff was dangerous, and they need to wear full respiratory and skin protection.
In March of 1991, I started getting letters. You have to understand, I got a direct order through Gen. Schwarzkopf, from the Pentagon, be assigned by name to clean up the mess. To this day, I have no idea why they picked me. And I can guarantee you that they wish they never did picked me.
[Audience laughs softly]
I got a letter in the memorandum I came from Los Alamos. The famous Los Alamos memorandum. And in this memorandum it was very very clear "Thou shalt right you're after-action report such that they do not reveal the health and environmental consequence of uranium munitions because they will become politically unacceptable." [That's] a direct order.
I'll be dammed if I'll lie for the military.
Then, I got another direct order...
[Audience applauds loudly and whistles for an extended period of time]
... then I got another order [that] came down from the Defense Nuclear Agency*, written by Col. Gregory Lyle. And Greg Lyle said, "is not only DU a health risk," he said, "it's a serious health concern." Col. Lyle, at that time, worked for Col. Yasaf Durokovic. Now, you people who hear about Yasaf Durokovich, a doctor, uranium medical research program. But they failed to tell you that he was the U.S. Army's top doctor in this stuff until he blew the whistle. You have to understand, he was the army's expert—a physician, a Ph.D. M.D. physician—until he blew the whistle.
They don't like to hear this from the experts.
So, all this stuff is coming about. We're seeing all of the problems. We're trying to get medical care. I can't get medical care for friendly fire casualties. We're working our butt off. We're doing everything we possibly can. Medal after medal for doing all this stuff. You know, we did medical directives right away.
Well, we got up in there and in June of 1991, theater medical commander issued a medical directive for treatment of DU casualties—locating, evaluating, treating soldiers with retained depleted uranium shrapnel. That was 13 June 1991. Medical directive. To this day it's never been complied with.
In here, every unit that had casualties was listed. We knew every person that was hit. We knew every person that had high-level exposures—over 400 of them, every name, what unit they were in. And it's still never been complied with.
All this stuff keeps I'm going on. We come back and we start writing our reports. I mean, we were writing reports, we're trying to get medical care. We're trying to get everything done. We not only had this thing about doing the depleted uranium, I also had the responsibility for the capture equipment project, which means that I had the responsibility for doing the assessment on Iraq's military weapons capability and hazardous materials associated with it. Hey, I got on medal from this commanding general for doing the work.
Hey, we knew in 1991 that Iraq didn't possess any defensive, much less offensive capability. So why do we go to War in Gulf War II? They were barely capable of protecting themselves as history is proving again over the last three weeks. It was a cakewalk. There was no combat, other than we blew everything up.
Well, we're getting all of these directives. In March of 1991, another thing came down from Rich Lazar, through the army command. And in here, it point-blank said that this uranium dust, the majority is going to go into the body, and 43%, just like Leuren [Moret] explained from her research, goes right into the bloodstream. The other stuff sits in the lungs and irradiates in the long forever at 300 millirems per hour beta gammas, at about 10,000 alpha... you know, counts per minute alpha particles. That's what she talked about. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you how fast the lungs get scar tissue. They are trashed right away.
So, the 1943 medical directive, what we call the Groves memorandum* [Leuren Moret] talked about, talks about all this stuff. My own medical records verify that they were right in '43, along with everybody else's. It just keeps on going in going and going. Directive after directive after directive.
In 1992, the United States Army was GIG (***SP?), ie; found guilty of willful violation of United Sates Code under the National Environmental Protection Act—NEPA*. I got a call from the University of Illinois to the U.S. Army Construction Energy Research Laboratory—CERL*—to ensure that I put together the programs that the United States military would comply with NEPA.
Well, we had some fun doing that one. And if you been reading recently, the military is trying to get out from under compliance with environmental laws. It's in the new congressional bills.
Well, anyhow, while we're there, United States Army Environmental Policy Institute* got a directive from the United States Senate—a written directive—to come down and conduct studies on the health and environmental effects of uranium on the battlefield. And in this directive, one of the things that was very, very specific, is to figure out ways to reduce the toxicity of uranium munitions—a written directive from the Senate.
IF IT AIN'T TOXIC, why does the Senate have to tell the U.S. Army to find ways to reduce the toxicity?
Duh. That's because everybody knows its toxic. You can't do this.
While we're doing that, I get a directive from the United States Department of State*, because we're doing environmental, to write up to theater cleanup plan to clean up Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia of all uranium munitions. So, Col. David Lindsay, who was actually my commander during the Gulf War for the DU and capture equipment project, Dr. Gary Brinkley, one of the foremost EOD experts—unexploded ordnance experts... demolition experts in the world—and myself wrote up to theater cleanup plan. We passed it up through General Paul Greenberg, on all the way up through the Secretary of the Army, who passed it across to the Secretary of State, who passed it up off the emirate of Kuwait. Guess who we ordered to write the cleanup plan for?
[Doug screams] BROWN & ROOT!
Who owns Brown and Root?
[Audience answers "Halliburton"]
And who owns Halliburton?
[Audience answers "Dick Cheney"]
[With a comical tone of voice] Dickey Cheney. God, I love it when a plan comes together.
[Mimicking Dick Cheney] Got'a send people to war so my company can make money.
It never stops.
In June of 1993, while it doing all this stuff, I was directed by Col. Eric Daxson to write and after-action report on the health and environmental effects, and all this stuff, and make recommendations through the Surgeon General of United States Army on what to do to solve the DU project.
And I did!
I had a great time doing it. I covered everything. Okay? [I] identified all the training requirements, identified the medical requirements. They were loving us! [In a hushed voice] ...as long as we stayed to what they wanted.
From this letter, and everything else General Eric Shinseki—now, you have to understand ladies and gentlemen, that we are at War right now. Okay? The purpose of War to kill and destroy-the chief of staff of the army is general Eric Shinseki.
Guess who sent your sons and daughters into War?
Back in 19 August of 1993, General Eric Shinseki—General Eric Shinseki—signed an order directing—DIRECTING THAT—"provide adequate training for personnel who come in contact with DU, complete medical testing, and develop the cleanup plan."
Hmmm. Jesus! And these generals and complying with it? And that a UCMJ* violation for court-martial? It sure is as far as I know in all my years in the military.
Well, it ain't never been complied with.
In October of 1993, the United States was going to battle in this little old backward country called Somalia. We were going to use uranium munitions in Somalia against ox carts.
And that neat?
Let's see. I got a DU round, the thing catches fire when it leaves the bore of the gun, I need food, so therefore, when I should this ox, it'll be killed and cook and ready to eat.
[Audience laughs nervously]
We got this stopped. But we didn't get a medical directive issued by Col. Peter Myers, by directive of the Surgeon General, by directive of the Secretary of the Army, and the Secretary of Defense, requiring medical care for all DU casualties.
Direct quote, "Medical care will be provided for a) being in the midst of smoke from DU fire as resulting from the burning of vehicles uploaded with DU munitions or depots in which DU munitions are being stored; b) working within environments containing DU dust or residues from DU fires; and c) being within a structure or vehicles when it's struck with DU munitions."
It still covers everything.
[It] required a radio bioassay within 24 hours for all U.S. soldiers. This is in 1993. Well, it ain't never been complied with today.
Now, if that's a medical directive that's required for U.S. soldiers, [then] that's a medical directive that has to be required for all coalition soldiers—our allies. But, when you win a white (???)war, according to the Geneva convention, that's the medical care that must be provided to the enemy.
[Shouting] BUT, UNDER GOD!, YOU MUST PROVIDE THAT SAME MEDICAL CARE TO THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!!!
And I'll be dammed if they're doing it.
Well, we put all this stuff together, and I'm sitting at the University of Illinois having a field day. I've already come back from CERL , we're I did NEPA, and worked on the API (Armor Piercing Incendiary) study. And all of a sudden, I get a letter from the army that says, "Congratulations, [stuttering] you've won the Cupie doll again.* You're going back on active-duty as the director of the depleted uranium project."
Now, this is 1994. A lot of years passed. At this time, they sent me a letter and it says, direct quote, "on the other hand, you may find the resources a bit austere, since the army does not expect funding to be available until physical year 1996. What this means is; you have no travel budget and no assistance, at least officially. We have found, however, that many people in the army are anxious to help in any way they can."
[Dr. Rokke laughs]
Yeah! That's kind of like...you want to play Russian Roulette? And they issued me one bullet for the gun. And then they put it in and they spun the cylinder and put it up to my head.
It never stopped.
Well, we fooled them. We got the job done. And, in 18 months, I did their research in the Nevada test site, where we literally blew up all kinds of Soviet equipment. I have the Marines from 29 Palms* m'am. Were's that Marine mother? [Referring to a woman in the audience] God almighty, the Marines from 2009 Palms are some of the best shots with an Abrams and a Bradley fighting vehicle you'll ever encounter in your life.
I put an "X" on my tank at 3000 meters and they hit the "X."
They didn't bother to tell them that they're trashing themselves. You know? They don't bother to tell you that.
So, we did all this research. I burned Bradley fighting vehicles, measured the level of contamination, determined how to clean it up, determined out the extent of contamination. I found out within 20 to 50 meters I absolutely had to have full respiratory and skin protection. Now, that's absolutely into the common task training manual for uranium exposures (Common Task Test)* for all military. It's absolutely there.
Then, we went back the next year and I blew everything up. This is the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in Mercury, Nevada, area 25* ]. The famed area 51 is over the hill. There ain't no spacemen there, just weird airplanes.
So, we got a call done. Real honest-to-God research. Not something and a laboratory with a textbook. Not under laboratory controls, like you want to do as a scientist for peer reviewed publications, but honest-to-God research, under real-world conditions. It's a heck of a difference ladies and gentlemen.
At about this time, the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI)* report* finally came out in 1995. We're working all this stuff, and working on it all the years we're doing their research, and the U.S. Army's own report to the Senate stated, direct quote, "No available technology can significantly change the inherent chemical and radiological toxicity of DU. These are intrinsic properties of uranium."
Now, we went to Gulf War II a few weeks ago, and if you watched your media and everything, and if you called to talk to Congressman Jim McDermott, the U.S. military said that all the warnings of risks about the health and environmental effects are Iraqi propaganda, and other nations trying to prevent uranium munitions from being used.
Come up here and read the documents. They're from all of us and all of the U.S. Army's primary experts. [It's] not Iraqi propaganda. [It's] reality, going back to 1943 in the Groves memorandum.
We did all this work. We put everything together. I put a 40-hour training program together—tier 1,2, and 3. I wrote, directed, and acted in two videos. I was the technical adviser for about three more. And we had the best education and training program, with video support, they could be produced for the Department of Defense. And actually, I had officers from England, Australia, Canada, and Germany involved. NATO countries all approved this stuff [referring to the training program.]
Well, the stuff all got shelved because they didn't want the troops to know the health and environmental effects of the uranium munitions. Because, when I did to work as the army's expert, I reached one simple conclusion. I can't clean it up; and I can't provide medical care; and the army will not dedicate the amount of time necessary for education and training to make sure people can safely operate it.
When I went and as the director of the DU project, my total intention was to ensure that the military could use uranium munitions in combat, simply because the job is to kill and destroy. And what I found out, when I did their research, is that you can't use them because you can't clean up and you can't do the medical. I reached that conclusion and I told him so. I can guarantee you that they didn't like that conclusion coming from their expert. They were really, really unhappy.
So, or putting all this stuff together. We got training directive after order after order, all the way up to the deputy secretary of Defense, or during the education and training to be done. And it's never been done. We got order after order or during medical care for everybody. And it's not been done.
In 1994, while I was director of the DU project, the U.S. Department of Energy finally, even though the army refused, and the department of Veterans Affairs refused to do it, did a radio bioassay on me personally. They didn't bother to tell the army they were doing it. They just did it because we're working at a U.S. Department of Energy site-Nevada Test Site, Mercury, Nevada.
They get the test results back in January 26, 1995, that I personally was excreting uranium at 432 micrograms per liter urine. That's well over 1300 micrograms per day. They never bother to tell me for 2 1/2 years. Another reason they knew, is when I went in for my physical when I went back on active-duty. They found all the respiratory and the calcified granulomas, which is the radiation scar tissue [from the picture that Leuren held up of a "Hot Particle in Lung Tissue
I'm trying to get education and training done. I can't get it done. And trying to get medical care done for the friendly-fire casualties. The can't get it done. I'm trying to get environmental cleanup. I wrote to plan, and I can't get it done.
In May of 1997, I coordinated with Tamara Lyons (***SP?), who is in charge of the comprehended and clinical evaluation program for the United States military for Gulf War illnesses, to provide medical care for all my staff and the friendly-fire guys. I put a letter of to a certain general's office, Col. Charles Kelsey, naming him by name. These guys never got care. It's up here. They're dead! They're dead!
One of my best friends, John Sitton, the guy who put the medical communications together for the entire theater, the guy that Dennis got all his medical evacuation through with radio communications, he got zapped with all of the stuff that he did, treating, putting care together, and everything together all over the place for the medical evacuation. The only way that you got medical evac was John Sitton getting it up there, wasn't that Dennis? It's the only way it happened.
In 1997, John had developed fast-growing lymphoma cancer from all the exposures. I called up trying to get in medical care. We couldn't get it. He was denied medical care at Danville VA Medical Center, and Danville IL. I called up the Surgeon General, the Secretary of Defense, try to get his medical care. They refused to give it to him. [They said,] "There were no exposures. He wasn't there. Nothing happened to him medically." One day, there was a fire, and his records disappeared.
Wednesday night, 10:30 in the evening, right before John died, I got a phone call from his pastor of said, "Doug, John wants to talk to you. He's dying." I got through on the phone to the hospital in Springfield, IL. The nurses put me on the line, and John says, "Doug, your my best friend." Not only are we best friends in the military, but we're best friends in civilian life. John says, "I want to take my children on a fishing expedition on Lake Michigan to go out salmon fishing. Can you said it up?"
He's dying of cancer. We mobilized the team-kind of like our own make-up-wish. We got an ambulance. They took him in a gurney. They took him to Chicago. Put him on a salmon fishing boat, on a hospital bed on the back of about. And he went fishing with his sons and his family. He got back on Monday. And he died on Tuesday.
[He was] denied medical care by the U.S. department of Veterans Affairs and the department of Defense-one of America's true heroes.
Man, after man, after man.
The matter what we did, the matter who we talk to, the medical care was refused.
Kathleen Sullivan, one of your foremost journalists in California at the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, in 1998, sent a set of questions of the Pentagon regarding DU. And in there, she knew the answers. And she said, "What about all these regulations requiring medical care and treatment for everybody?" And the answer came back, and I got it up here, saying, "We don't have to give them medical care to them." And she asked about over-exposure to radiation and medical care for that according to army regulations. Now, she's already got the army regulations. She's already had a legal analysis, and knows what's required. And the Pentagon, Col. Bob Cherry, sends the saying back and says, "Over-exposure is not applicable to the deployed army."
Do you want your sons and daughters exposed to radiation with NO LIMITS because the chief in the Pentagon says it's OK?
1998, Office of the Secretary Of Defense, office of Special Assistance to Gulf War Illnesses gave the briefing to the President of the United States-Billy-Boy Clinton. And in this briefing, they said, point-blank, that they knew that your 424 individuals that had high levels of uranium exposure. This is just our team. Friendly fire, the maintenance 144th, the battle damage assessment, my team, the EOD experts, 424 people. But in 1998, they hadn't even notified half of the friendly fire casualties that needed medical care. In fact, they only notified 120 individuals in 1998.
If you've heard the briefings recently, they're giving medical care to 90 people. Hell, I'm one of the 90. I ate in up their since of March of 1999.
To you ever call your doctor when you are sick and unique medical care, and they don't return your phone call?... for four years?
Ain't it grand?
Despite all of the directives, time after time, we kept getting it going, we couldn't get it done. Finally John Hamre (***SP?), in January of 1999, sent a directive requiring training and education for all soldiers in the military. And the sent as directive to Warren Rudman. Ladies and gentlemen, you have to understand that Warren Rudman is the hit-man for administration to cover up everything.
The chairman of the joint Chiefs, the Undersecretaries of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Army, that's Eric Shinshaki (***SP). So, the sending an order to Eric Shinshaki saying, "you've got to comply with your own order."
Wait a minute. Eric issued it in August of 1993. And the Secretary of Defense is telling him to comply with his quarter in 1999? What happened to six years?
Chief of naval operations, commandant of the Marine Corps...
[Looking directly at a woman in the audience who is the mother of a Marine]
Ma'am, you tell your son to stay home. You tell them to go to hell.
Well, and I keep going on. They hadn't done yet.
In March of 1999, I got a letter from the Secretary of Defense [quite animated and excited, pretending to be the Secretary of Defense]... "Doug's out there, pestering us again, man! We told him to clean this mess up and to medical care, and he still doing his job." Now the Secretary of Defense, Bernie Rostker sent a letter in March of 1999, and says, "The law prohibits us from giving medical care to the people were being exposed."
I'm going, "What?"
That's astonishing. The guy is denying medical care in violation of the law. But he is immune to prosecution.
The saying goes on and says, direct quote, "In fact, during and after the Gulf War physicians and health physicists, and the Office of the Army Surgeon General made a professional assessment of the exposures and determined that bioassays were not required."
He sent this letter to me in March of 1999, and he tells ME & MY STAFF & MY BOSSES that WE WHO WROTE THE DIRECTIVES FOR MEDICAL CARE NEVER WROTE THEM.
Who is a criminal here?
And it goes on and on and on.
The problem you have with uranium munitions is that it contaminates air, water, and soil. It causes immediate health effects, within 72 hours. And there's no question about it, because it happened to me and my staff, and my team, and the friendly-fire casualties. And they refused to provide medical care for the U.S. casualties. And they're not doing it now [in the current War in Iraq].
On April 14th, last week, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy Secretary of Defense, in charge of deployment medicine for the United States Department of Defense, deliberately and willfully stated to the world that they will not cleanup uranium contamination in the Gulf, caused by Gulf War II, and they will not provide medical care. And he cited as the reasons for this, Dr. Peckra Vistra (***SP?), from the United Nations, who's in charge of United Nations environmental program, and also Dr. Brian Spratt, who's the head of the British Royal Society.
This is really neat. The deputy Secretary of Defense is citing these guys are not cleanup. Well, back on March 30th, a couple weeks before, Pekka Haavisto, who I work with at the United Nations, and Karen Parker or who you've also heard from, heard about, sent me an e-mail that said, "Hey Doug, we did what you told [us to do], we told the United States to cleanup uranium contamination in the Balkans because it's trashed.
Now, wait a minute. On April 14th, the deputy Secretary of Defense is saying that we don't have to clean it up and he's citing the United Nations. But two weeks before, United Nations had told him to clean it up. It doesn't add up.
Brian Spratt jumped right into this too the other day, and the point-blank told the United States to cleanup. They don't care.
The problem you run into its clinging to mess up. In order to cleanup uranium contamination-you have to understand that I've been in every U.S. vehicle that's been hit. I had the responsibility to clean it up. I had the responsibility to develop all of the procedures. I didn't ask for this job. I was ordered to do this job. [It was] a direct order. And its up here if you want to read it. [I got] multiple direct orders to do it. The Army made me their expert. I didn't ask for it. But what I learned from DIRECT field research, not sitting behind a desk as a frigging lab rat, but as can honest-to-God on-site engineer and scientist who's in the nitty-gritty blowing things up.
You've got to remember, I'm just a science teacher, ladies and gentlemen. I teach high school biology and environmental science today... because I became persona non grata.
I was director, after I did the DU project, I was offered and accepted a position as director of the Edwin R. Bradley Radiological Laboratories, as a scientist, as a physicist, as an educator, as a military officer. That was the pinnacle of my profession—the top job in my field in the United States. And when I told them they have to clean up the chemical, biological, and radiological contamination, and provide medical care and kept up with that, because that was my task, I became persona non grata.
And when United States continued on under Project Shad to deliberately release chemical and biological warfare materials on US citizens, as they did with Bacillus globigii (BG) in 1996 on the residents of Calhoun County, in Anniston, Alabama. I went to the Army you've got to clean up [and] provide medical care.
I did that before the weekend, and when I came back on Monday morning I was persona non grata. They had my office packed. They took my keys. They put me under house arrest for a month. That's what happens when he tell the U.S. they can't release chemical and biological materials on American citizens. And I'll tell you, how much they did out here in California, read Project Shad directives. Go look it up. You won't believe it. And it continues to this day.
In 1993, a directive was sent to the U.S. Department of Energy Affairs, the Department of Defense that makes Joseph Mengele looked like Captain Kangaroo. For those of you who don't know, in world history, Joseph Mengele was the Nazi death camp doctor. In this written directive, in March 1993, the United States Department of Defense told the doctors of the VA and the Department of Defense to leave uranium shrapnel and contamination within the soldiers that received it during Gulf War I. The purpose was, direct quote ladies and gentlemen, "Quantification and documentation of radiological heavy metal toxicity and radiological cancer and tissue necrosis risks of embedded uranium fragments by:
Measuring and documenting uranium levels in each soldier by using in vivo and in vitro techniques.
Determine the parameters and models needed to translate uranium levels into the body into estimates of increased cancer risk from exposure.
Comparing the clinical course of the body's response to uranium fragments with that of other nonuranium fragments to determine whether clinically significant differences exist, due to either chemical or radiological properties of depleted uranium and;
Determine the risk of chronic kidney toxicity due to the long-term chronic exposure to elevated levels of uranium.
In the history of mankind, the deliberate order to leave radiological and toxic materials in American soldiers for testing will go down in history—beyond comprehension—as a crime against God and humanity. [Holding up piece of paper] It's right here.
In this same directive, they point-blank stated that anybody that is excreting less than 14 micrograms per day of total uranium in their urine—now, remember we excrete about three leaders of urine per day. That's about how much urine to pass. So, at 14 micrograms per day, you're required annual testing for urine chemistry, uranium in the feces, tissue analysis, whole-body counting, regional counting, uranium in the skeleton, uranium in the blood, blood chemistry, clinical evaluation, and diagnostic imaging.
If your excreting greater than 14 micrograms per day, and you're between 14 and 50 micrograms per day of solid uranium, you're testing must be quarterly. If you excrete between 50 and 250 micrograms per day, your testing his monthly. You're going to have kidney toxicity. If your excreting at 250, then your testing must be weekly in kidney toxicity.
In 1995, the U.S. Department of Energy verified that I was excreting uranium in my urine at over 1400 micrograms per day and they didn't tell me for 2 1/2 years. That's what they did to the project director. I hate to tell you what they did to Dennis indicates that he treated, and the kids you saw in the video. And they haven't given to the Iraqis, where the coalition warriors, or the citizens of Okinawa; or Vieques, Puerto Rico; at Hunters Point; off the coast of Seattle; in Maryland; in Nevada; in New Mexico; in Florida; in Iraq; Kuwait; Saudi Arabia;; Scotland; Germany....
The use of uranium munitions in war leaves a toxic waste and residue that cannot physically be removed. From my own research in the Nevada test site and during the Gulf War, you have to physically removed the destroyed structure or building entirely. You have to then completely package that up. If you watch the videotapes that I developed for the U.S. Army with first-hand research, you'll see that we packaged them up COMPLETELY like a Hershey's kiss. And we took and transported those to some facility to process them. In the case of the United States, we sent 24 vehicles back to Barwall, South Carolina, Savannah River, U.S. Department of Energy research site, called the defense consolidation facility.
It took three years to cleanup and dispose of 24 U.S. vehicles.
The Department of Defense erected a highly secret $4 million facility in Barnwall, South Carolina just to detoxify 22 military vehicles hit by friendly fire. Some of the vehicles are so badly contaminated that they have had to bury them (Wall Street Journal, New York, 10 June 1991).
A total of 320 tons (290,300 kilograms) of DU projectiles were fired by the U.S. during the Gulf War · 260 tons Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs (Warthogs) · 10 tons U.S. Marine Corps AV-8 Harriers · 50 tons U.S. Army and Marine Corps M60 and M1A1 Abrams tanks
The "Highway of Death" is thousands of vehicles alone. Alone.
All over Iraq, we have thousands of vehicles-and if you haven't watched it, The Palestinian Hotel that they shot up last week, that was DU munitions.
How about that?
Let's see, how big was that hotel?
Cruise missiles, Bunker Busters...all over the place.
You have to physically removed the entire destroyed piece of whatever it is. Then you have to pick up every penetrator, because these penetrators are solid rods of uranium that irradiate for 4 1/2 billion years at 300 millirems per hour if you pick them up.
What Pekka Haavisto found, and what Brian Spratt found, and what everybody found out is that all over where they've been shot up, the kids-these things are really neat looking-pick them up and play with them. The U.S. soldiers were picking them up and carrying them all over the place. They tied them on a chain and put them in their back pocket or tied them around their necks, didn't they Dennis [Kyne]? They're really neat looking things.
Then you have to get a bulldozer, and scrape down to six inches, out to about 100 meters, and physically remove all that contaminated dirt. I'm saying 100 meters even though I confirmed and measured it out to 400 meters. We'll be conservative and say 100 meters. This is for each and every vehicle.
We ain't done it in Okinawa. We ain't done it anyplace else. They haven't done it up here at Hunters Point. They sure as heck haven't done it in Iraq, and they sure as heck he can do it now. And that's what Dr. Michael Kilpatrick point-blank stated on April 14. So, as soon as he said that, I called the Secretary of Defense. You've got to remember that I still have the 800-number.
Bauer's Raiders is so damned good that they still call us when they have a problem. You don't understand that we were all just university scientists think that called into active duty. Because the Army hasn't got the medical or scientific capability to do it without...you know...without the civilians.
They don't have it. They don't have.
What we have found out, and what disturbs me for most is that after they made that directive, I called the 800-number, and I talked to him and I said, "Hey, have Barb or Austin or Mikey call me." Dr. Michael Kilpatrick is a friend [of mine]. We just disagree. Okay? He's the chief doctor and charge of the Department of Defense.
It doesn't matter that congressional hearings held by Christopher Shays and Bernie Sanders, about three weeks ago, verified that the Department of Defense, with the acknowledgment and approval of Dr. Kilpatrick, refused to provide the redeployment physicals mandated by Congress and the Department of Defense regulations for all the soldiers who got deployed to Gulf War II.
It's in the records. Call up the congressmen, they'll verify that they refused to do it. [It's a] direct violation. They don't care.
So, I called up there, and Austin Comachu (***SP) called me back up on tax day, [at]about 9:30 in the morning, and says, "Hi Doug! Hey, by the way, you're right. We aren't going to provide medical care, and we're not going to clean up the environment."
And I [said], "Austin, are you crazy?"
And he says, "No, that's the policy decision. We don't have to, because there's no health and environmental effects."
And I [said], "Then why are my guys sick and dead?"
They don't care. They don't care.
[Dr. Rokke gasps]
I'm going all over the place, talking to anybody I can do finish my job.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, the United States department of Veterans Affairs has formally acknowledged that over 250,000 Gulf War I veterans are now permanently disabled due to Gulf War illness. A quarter of the million, over one-third of the force of our nation's finest sons and daughters are sick with that whole host of things that Dennis and Leuren went over.
It's far worse than that. The coalition soldiers are seeing it at the same proportions. But the citizens of Iraq, whether they be the enemy soldiers or the women and the children are devastated by health effects [that are] reported ad nauseum by the World Health Organization and every other group—Kathy Kelly, the Pope's emissary. In the medical care and treatment it [the DU] was prevented from being taken off.
Couple years ago, I was called to Rome, to meet with the NATO, the Department of Defense, and the British Ministry of Defense people, and the Pope's representative on the Human Rights and Justice Commission, as a consequence of the contamination in Kosovo—in the Balkans. The reason I was called over with Dr. Yasaf Durokovic and Carol Pico (***SP) was because on April 16th of 1999, Denise Nichols (***SP?), Rosalie Bertelle (***SP?), and myself, and another individual, were called to the White House to discuss uranium contamination with the Presidential Oversight Board, by directive of the president of United States.
And we told him, "Don't use uranium munitions in Kosovo, or were going to see all the health and environmental effects."
Well, it happened. And they don't care. And they don't care. And they don't care.
It continues to this day.
The reason that medical care was never provided to the U.S. friendly-fire casualties, and the radio bioassay was never done, is because if it was done you would find the high levels of uranium exposure. And when the people got sick you have a direct correlation between exposures and adverse health effects, as predicted on October 30th of 1943 to General Leslie Groves.
It's not a question....not a question.
I wish it wasn't happening.
In war, the object is to kill and destroy. When we destroy the entire infrastructure of the nation, we release all for hazardous materials on detonation. When we shoot the place up with uranium munitions, we leave a toxic waste land that you can't clean up, and that you can't provide medical care for.
I wish to hell that you could. You can't.
And so, what we see today, ladies and gentlemen, is that war has left a toxic waste land where ever it's been done because of the technological devices to make war so simple. But also we've destroyed our infrastructure—where the infrastructure today has gone is "Better Living through Chemistry"...you know, the old thing from ACS [American Chemical Society], many years ago—but we can't clean up the contamination.
Ladies and gentlemen, as an army officer, whose obligation is not only to the generals and the president, but to God, I'm here to tell you war is obsolete.
[Audience applauds loudly]
When you speak up, you become persona non grata. When the Army's experts spoke up on the health and environmental effects of you uranium than munitions, and the environmental effects of war and combat, they all became persona non grata. They lost their careers. They lost their jobs. They had their houses ransacked. They had attempts to run them off the road. They have IRS audits all the time.
Back in December 26th of 1999, I did a 60-Minute story on DU. We burned the Secretary of Defense on that story. Within 24 hours every member of that whole story got IRS audits.
[Someone can audience laughs]
Geez, it was pretty neat.
They finally awarded me my disability—40% disability for combat injuries from Gulf War I, for uranium exposure—the medical records are up here, cut and dry. And when they issued that to me, they said "Well Doug, we'll give you your medical care. Will give you your disability. But we want you to stop speaking.
Kinda neat, huh?
[Audience laughs again]
You wouldn't believe the number of jobs that I've been offered if I would stop talking.
[Audience laughs again]
[Doug says with glee] I could boost my salary up from $500 a month backup to $100,000 a year. But I ain't going to sell out.
[Audience applauds very loudly for an extended period of time with whistles and hoots]
Now, when I didn't stop talking, to try to get medical care and environmental cleanup, they came up with a new trick. The United States department of Veterans Affairs is garnishing my disability paycheck...
...to pay for my medical care at the VA!
It never quits.
It never quits.
I need your help. What I need you to do is to let everybody know that today supporting the troops means that you ensure that they have: 1) equipment that is not defective, which means that they are issued gas masks and chemical protective clothing that is not defective. The troops were sent to Gulf War II with defective equipment. [It's] totally confirmed by a United States General Accounting Office report. Totally confirmed by U.S. Army research on the functioning and capability, and the wearing of the gas mask. [Doug asks comically] Guess who did that for the Army?
[Doug laughs heartily]
I got another medal for that want too. But I shouldn't have told them what I found. So they did that. The soldiers must have all the military education and training that they need.
[Speaking of Dennis Kyne, who is in the audience] Dennis is an old frontline infantry combat type, over there. Probably one of the foremost military units in the Army.
Those of you who've been in the military, no when you're using small arms tactics, you're going into small areas, you're going into a house, that you spread out. Okay? You spread out...you know...you've got 5, 10, 15 meters between each other when you're going in. When you watch all the soldiers [on TV] doing this stuff Iraq, they run in with their head up the other guys ass...literally! One grenade or one burst of machine gunfire is going to kill them all.
Col. Dave Hackworth and died, and a whole bunch, we've written more and more, and talked to the military trying to get proper education and training because they don't know what they're doing.
I sent a letter up to the ROTC commander. I sent a letter to the deputy chief of police for the University of Illinois, who happens to be a friend because I'm on their advisory board.
We got an e-mail back today, and Dennis, the police chief said he jumped all over the Colonel already about this...big-time. This is [what] they're teaching our kids!
Weapons training? There's something wrong here.
And finally ladies and gentlemen, supporting the troops means that when they come back from war they have the full medical—that means physiological and psychological care that they earned defending our nation—a matter who they are, no matter what war they served in, whether they were in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Gulf War I, and now, Gulf War II.
The United States department of Veterans Affairs has stated explicitly that they are unable to accept any more individuals for medical care and treatment in their system. They can't provide medical care for two of us in this room that are already disabled due to previous combat injuries from service to our nation because we got a 200 day waiting period to get and for medical care if we can get it.
And now, we just to the greatest of our sons and daughters to war again to bring them back and dump them in our streets without any medical care. And Dr. Michael Kilpatrick has stated that he's not going to give it.
What's wrong with this picture?
Today—I don't even know what town we went in—they took me to see the beach. A hardly ever see the ocean. I live in the middle of cornfields. I live on a farm in the middle of cornfields in Illinois. And they took me... [asking someone in the audience] where do we go to?
[Someone in audience answers]
To the boardwalk. Okay? It was really neat. You know?... Clint Eastwood movie was made there. I'm walking [and thinking], "Hey, this is where Clint Eastwood was at when they made the movie." We came back and stopped in this community...[asking someone in the audience] what was the name of this town?
[Someone in audience answers]
Los Gatos. I understand that that is the richest community in this area. Well, there's some guys out there [supporting] the troops with flags and signs. So, we went around and went back, and I was going to invite them to the talk tonight.
Support the troops! You know? This is my job!
So we stopped, rolled down the windows, and introduced ourselves. [I said], "I'm Major Rokke, Army medical officer. This is Drill Sergeant Dennis Kyne. A drill Sergeant—the guy that trains the troops, and he's still trains the troops. Okay? Can we invited them, and we said, "By the way, we need medical care for these guys."
And they go, "What?"
"You know. Medical care?"
[They respond], "What do you want us to do?"
And so, we kept talking to these guys, saying, "Well, we've got a quarter of a million sick. I can't get medical care. The VA just last the budget by $25 million. Now we go to war. They don't have the medical care abilities. [Comically Doug says] And these guys got mad at us.
Now, I'm sitting there. He's in the back seat. I'm in the front seat. And all of a sudden, I look up, and this guy is getting madder and madder. He takes the American flag and he's coming in the like I am Mount Sebastian at Iwo Jima, trying to plant the American flag in my ear!
[That was] this morning. And all I asked them to do was to help me get medical care for American warriors!
[Audience laughs heartily]
I've been called the Communist. I've been called a traitor. But I'm still serving our nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, helped me... help our veterans...helped the nation, and help the citizens of the world. If we continue to go to war, and we continue to contaminate God's environment, we will continue to make the citizens of the world sick. But more important, were going to continue to kill the children of the world. And, I don't know if you've ever been to war. But I can guarantee you, there ain't no atheists and a foxhole. And no matter what religion you are, or what culture you come from, there's a prophecy—"And a child shall lead them to peace." But he kill the children of the world, where's the child going to come from that leads us to peace?
[Audience stands and applauds]
Radioactive Battlefields of the 1990s
The United States Army's Use of Depleted Uranium and Its Consequences for Human Health and the Environment
A Response to the Army's Unreleased Report on Depleted Uranium Weaponry
by the Military Toxics Project's
Depleted Uranium Citizens' Network
January 16, 1996
Killing Our Own - Again
In the 1940s and 1950s, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were knowingly exposed to the radioactive fallout of nuclear testing; in the 1960s and 1970s, thousands more suffered the effects of Agent Orange; in the 1990s, military use of depleted uranium (DU) is contributing to another generation of veterans whose severe illnesses, deaths and children with birth defects were and are an avoidable tragedy. DU munitions and armored vehicles are currently being deployed in Bosnia, in what could become yet another international human health and environmental catastrophe, and DU ammunition has already been used in that conflict. The recent Army report on DU sanctions both its use and its proliferation, despite the consequences.
Five years ago, DU was used in warfare for the first time as both armor-piercing bullets and as tank armor, by the U.S. Army in Operation Desert Storm. More than 350 tons of DU fragments and particles still lie on the battlefields of the Gulf War, and depleted uranium has been documented in the bodies of some Gulf War veterans and may be present in many more. Uranium, depleted or not, is a deadly substance, and DU has been indicated as a likely factor in what has been nicknamed Gulf War Syndrome, the cluster of illnesses and birth defects affecting those veterans and their families.
Immediately after its fiery end in March 1991, the Gulf War was hailed as a virtually bloodless victory for the U.S.; now it seems that it may take decades or generations before the actual U.S. casualty count will begin to appear - as it did with the atomic veterans (those soldiers exposed to nuclear testing and radiation by the military). Meanwhile in Iraq, states the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, `health officials have reported alarmingly high increases in rare and unknown diseases, primarily in children. Anecephaly, leukemia, carcinoma and cancers of the lung and digestive system have risen dramatically, as have late-term miscarriages and incidence of congenital disease and deformities in fetuses," which Dr. Siegwart Horst Guenther of Austria's Yellow Cross attributes to uranium contamination. Kuwait has not yet come to terms with the scope of the cleanup that will be required.
DU is nuclear waste, and the U.S.'s testing and wartime use has spread this deadly material across the U.S., Kuwait, and Iraq. Without concerted international action, it will continue to be used in worldwide conflicts; and DU arms proliferation - fostered largely by U.S. arms sales - will continue to spread DU across the world (the Army itself admits that `the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Thailand, Israel, France, and others are developing or already have DU- containing weapons systems'; and virtually every nation with nuclear energy or weapons programs has access to the material). The health and human consequences and environmental effects of continued DU use are a disaster in the making; and the costs of cleanup, compensation, and medical care could be astronomical. DU is an avoidable and unnecessary disaster, one that can be stopped now.
Stopping DU proliferation starts with recognition of its dangers. The recent technical report Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the U.S. Army by the Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI) meant to address this issue, but it is a self-contradictory tangle of optimism, omission and occasional bald admissions. Despite these admissions, it fails to call for adequate measures for controlling and curtailing the use of this deadly substance. Radioactive Battlefields of the 1990s is a response to that report.
Naturally existing uranium refined from ore is made up largely of U-238, a relatively stable isotope of the element, from which the highly fissionable isotope U-235 is extracted for nuclear weapons and power uses. After the U-235 is partially extracted (reduced from approximately 0.7% to 0.2% of the natural uranium), the remainder is misleadingly called depleted uranium. It still can be used for nuclear weapons and energy programs by being transformed into plutonium in a breeder reactor, and it is still radioactive and toxic. Recent studies indicate there is no threshold level of radiation below which an exposed person is safe from radiation damage, and though DU is less radioactive than U-235 or plutonium, it remains an extremely harmful substance with the chemically toxic properties of many heavy metals. Huge quantities of DU have accumulated in the course of U.S. energy and weapons programs - the Department of Energy alone holds a billion pounds of DU hexafluoride tails. Usually classed as low-level nuclear waste and viewed as a liability, DU has in recent decades been tried out for civilian and military uses.
Because of uranium's extreme density, DU can be used to make munitions and armor of great density. The penetrators made with DU have great range and velocity, velocity that gives them an ability to penetrate most kinds of armor (including otherwise virtually impenetrable DU armor, as Gulf War friendly fire casualties demonstrated). But their battlefield effectiveness is undermined by DU's deadly qualities, qualities that cannot be contained.
DU is a highly toxic and radioactive heavy metal with pyrophoric (flammable) properties: it bursts into flames upon impact. The burning uranium then spreads into the atmosphere, creating a small-scale fallout of aerosolized uranium particles which can be inhaled or ingested from the air or by contact with contaminated materials and sites. These particles can travel anywhere that dust goes. Most readers are familiar with the postwar images of blackened, burnt-out Iraqi vehicles: many of these were DU targets (as were the 6 U.S. Abrams tanks and 15 U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles hit by friendly fire). A survey shows that four out of five U.S. soldiers entered destroyed Iraqi vehicles, many of them DU-contaminated, but no studies have yet accounted for the degree of exposure or its possible long-term effects.
In April of 1995, French General Gallois remarked, `If we equip these tanks with these sorts of munitions, that means that chemical-nuclear war is morally allowable.' Radioactive and chemical weapons are internationally regarded as unacceptable, because their effects cannot be directed or contained and because they cause slow, cruel suffering and death; civilians, descendants, passersby, and allies are all likely to be victims. Although DU is used in conventional weapons systems and classified as a conventional weapon, its pervasive radioactive and chemical effects suggest this classification is inadequate and inaccurate.
Depleted Uranium and Nuclear History
Since the beginning of the Manhattan Project in 1942, the United States Army and the Department of Energy have been creating problems for which there are no solutions - beginning with the creation of vast quantities of radioactive material for which no adequately safe disposal methods or sites exist; and with weapons systems whose contamination spreads far beyond the intended target. The public history of nuclear weapons and energy is also the private histories of hundreds of thousands of citizens, from the quarter-million troops intentionally exposed to atomic testing between 1946-1963 and the civilians downwind of these tests, to the many citizens exposed to harmful amounts of radiation at all stages of the nuclear cycle, from mining and manufacture to deployment and disposal. High percentages of all these populations have experienced the illnesses, cancers and genetic defects that result from radiation exposure. DU weaponry is the latest, unfinished chapter in this long history of governmental recklessness and personal tragedy. Like radiation and many other toxins, DU disproportionately affects the poor and communities of color at home and in war. Nearly 50% of those on the front lines of the Gulf War were people of color, and DU assembly and testing facilities are mostly located in and near poor communities and communities of color.
The argument that the U.S. should have DU weaponry if others do is a dubious one, because the effects of radioactive and chemical weapons cannot be directed and contained - for example, U.S. veterans of the Gulf War are suffering from their own army's use of DU. Its international proliferation ends the U.S.'s brief advantage as the primary user of DU armaments and armor and suggests that the battlefields of the future may be more horrible than anything yet seen. To go into future battles in which DU is used may mean, for the immediate survivors, an indeterminate life sentence waiting for uranium's dire chemical and radioactive effects to appear. The DU battlefields themselves could be something new: international sacrifice areas too contaminated ever to be put to peaceful use.
The DU Report by the AEPI
The AEPI's technical report on DU expands on a June 1994 report commissioned by Congress to determine these four things: `the health and environmental consequences of using DU on the battlefield; remediation technologies to clean up DU contamination; ways to reduce DU toxicity; how best to protect the environment from the long-term consequences of DU use.' The more than 200-page-long technical report has not been released to the public, few members of Congress have seen it, and even the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses has been unable to obtain a copy. It is, however, the document on which many decisions about DU use may be based. For this reason, public and expert appraisal of the report is critical.
The Military Toxics Project's Depleted Uranium Citizens' Network, which was able to obtain a copy of the report, finds it to be severely flawed, because its conclusions are inconsistent with its creditable scientific statements. Perhaps the most basic and crucial statements are these: `No available technology can significantly change the inherent chemical and radiological toxicity of DU. These are intrinsic properties of uranium' [from p. xxii], which answers the third point of the congressional inquiry; and `DU is a low-level radioactive waste and, therefore, must be disposed in a licensed repository' [from p. 154] which addresses the first, second, and fourth points. From these admissions alone, it is clear that DU is a deadly substance from which soldiers, the public and the environment must be protected beforehand, because no technology can afterwards adequately mitigate its effects; and that spreading it across test sites and battlefields conflicts with the disposal recommendation. Yet the report goes on, through many twists and turns of logic and optimistic assertions on military practices, to endorse the continued use of DU by the U.S. military. Finally it somewhat undermines this endorsement with calls for further research and implementation of better safety procedures.
There is no safe way to use DU, and a very basic question is why something considered to be hazardous radioactive and chemical waste in all other circumstances is considered safe in battlefield conditions. As the AEPI admits on page 78, `As much as 70 percent of a DU penetrator can be aerosolized when it strikes a tank (Fliszar et al., 1989). Aerosols containing DU oxides may contaminate the area downwind. DU fragments may also contaminate the soil around the struck vehicle.' DU munitions aerosolize when used, DU tank armor can aerosolize when struck, and there are many paths by which the resulting particles may enter the body - by inhalation, ingestion, or through open wounds. On page 101, the AEPI also concedes, `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.....' Once inside the human body, uranium particles tend to stay, causing illnesses such as lung cancer and kidney disease that often take decades to manifest. According to pioneering radiation biomedical researcher Dr. J. W. Gofman, particles of uranium smaller than 5 micron in diameter can become permanently trapped in the lungs. Leonard A. Dietz, former Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory scientist has estimated that a trapped, single uranium oxide particle of this size can expose the surrounding lung tissue to approximately 1,360 rem per year. This is 8,000 times the annual radiation dosage permitted by federal regulations for whole body exposure to the general public. Particles not trapped in the respiratory system may be ingested and find their way into the kidneys and reproductive organs.
One thing the report does make clear is that the DU exposure of most Gulf War veterans has not been taken seriously, documented, or studied, although the Army's own admissions suggests hundreds of thousands of soldiers and citizens may be at risk from having internalized DU. Only the small minority with actual DU shrapnel in their bodies is currently being studied for DU effects (DU bullets killed 35 U.S. soldiers and wounded 72 - 22 of whom have embedded DU fragments). However, DU is equally toxic and radioactive when it enters the body by other avenues, such as inhalation and ingestion. Potential risks for medical personnel treating contaminated soldiers, for cleanup crews and for civilian populations who come or return to the DU battlefield regions are completely overlooked, as are risks at other points in the weapons production, use, and disposal cycle. In 1980, workers at a Jonesboro, Tennessee plant, which manufactures DU penetrators, had the highest radiation exposures of any nuclear workers in the nation. One DU manufacturer, National Lead Industries of New York, was forced to shut down in 1980 because their emissions exceeded 150 micro-curies (385 grams) in a given month. Leonard Dietz, in a letter to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, asked `If New York State authorities were concerned about the release each month of radiation equivalent to the particles from one or two uranium projectiles, why isn't the U.S. government concerned about the effects of tens of thousands of projectiles being fired in a few days of war?' Citizens Research and Environmental Watch (CREW), a Concord, Massachusetts grassroots organization concerned about local DU munitions manufacturer Nuclear Metals, Inc., had soil samples from six Concord locations analyzed. The tests found uranium levels up to 18 times background levels and as far as nine-tenths of a mile away from the plant. It is urgent that assessment and appropriate medical treatment begin for everyone exposed by any of these avenues.
Despite such omissions, the AEPI report is most useful as a document of some of the existing dangers and poor practices. Among them are:
army shortcomings and admissions
- The admission `The Army did not pursue many of the health- related studies and most of the environment-related studies recommended in these reports' appears on page 3, following a list of four Army-commissioned reports. Throughout the AEPI technical report, similar admissions document the many other health and ecological effects of DU the Army has failed to investigate. And on page 94, the accuracy of the existing research is called into question: `Researchers conduct experimental procedures and data analyses without external peer review to validate the quality or completeness of their work. Thus the Army does not appear to closely coordinate the planning and performance of experiments for DU health and environmental assessments.'
The authors of the DU report themselves sometimes indulge in baseless assertions and sometimes acknowledge they do so, as in this astounding statement from page 4: `The potential for health effects from exposure to DU is real; however it must be viewed in perspective. It is unlikely that any of the DU exposure scenarios described in this report will significantly affect the health of most personnel. In several areas, neither the scientific community nor the army have adequate medical or exposure information to defend this assertion.'
DU in the Gulf and in soldiers
- Although the Army has developed safety procedures and publications for dealing with DU, these were seldom, if ever, put into practice in the Gulf War. The AEPI report, on page 81, concedes that the 144th Army National Guard Service and Supply Company was allowed to proceed with battlefield cleanup for three weeks before these materials were introduced. Pages 81-85 document the overall lack of precautions. Gulf War soldiers and field commanders declare that they were never warned that DU is radioactive - in fact, General Calvin Waller told NBC's "Dateline" that neither he nor General Norman Schwartzkopf were ever told about the health hazards of DU. Early information suggests that troops deployed in Bosnia with DU-armored tanks and personnel carriers and DU rounds are also unaware they are at risk from DU exposure, and the Bosnian government has not been advised of the risk.
- Page 89. `A large number of DU rounds used in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm were destroyed during a fire at an ammunition depot.' The depot is actually the Doha base used by the U.S. Army in Kuwait; no information is provided on whether any measures were taken to minimize exposure, what the exposure may have been, how many rounds were burned, and other crucial aspects of this underemphasized disaster. Independent information suggests no significant cleanup was made a year later. Nor has the overwhelming task of cleaning up the Gulf War battlefields been addressed by this report, except to point out the U.S. is not legally obliged to do so, on page 83, and in a comment a page later, `It does not appear that Kuwait has addressed the long-term management of hazardous and radioactive materials in captured vehicles.'
DU and the U.S. environment
- Similarly, an offhand reference on page 65 to `investigating propellant disposal methods that are less likely to inject DU into the environment than open burning/detonation or incineration processes currently used for waste propellant destruction' suggests that the disposal of DU contaminated propellant by burning is a recklessly dangerous method that may spread DU particles into civilian communities and the environment.
- On page 26, comes this information: `More than fifty current and former sites have been involved in the production, manufacture, development, testing and storage of DU for various DoD [Department of Defense] uses.' Cleanup of domestic DU test sites - which include Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana, Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland - has not yet begun and would require extensive measures: page 67 `The Army has never decontaminated or decommissioned soft-target impact areas at its test centers.'; and page 72 `First, NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] allows the Army to bury low concentrations of DU with no restrictions on burial method.'; and page 73, `Alternatively, NRC allows the Army to dispose of low concentrations of DU by burying them under prescribed conditions so that no subsequent land use restrictions and no continuing NRC licensing of the material are required.'
Thousands of acres of U.S. bases that house these firing ranges are contaminated, and in the executive summary comes this admission [p. A-9]: `At Aberdeen, localized soil contamination was discovered at depths of 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) below a penetrator corroding on the soil surface. This suggested that DU can become soluble and migrate....'
The report makes it clear that real cleanup will be enormously expensive, requiring disposal of vast quantities of contaminated soil, in some cases it may be impossible, and it has not yet begun. The recommendation cited above, that DU be recognized as radioactive waste and appropriately disposed of, conflicts with all these practices. The few low-level waste dumps in the U.S. are already overwhelmed, and adding to the material waiting for disposal seems, to say the least, unwise.
DU as a disastrous future
- The consequences of DU production are accepted by the AEPI: On page 120, the report declares, `Since DU weapons are openly available on the world arms market, DU weapons will be used in future conflicts.' No mention is made of the fact that the U.S. dominates this market. Later on page 120, `The number of DU patients on future battlefields probably will be higher because other countries will use systems containing DU.'
The AEPI report is intended to endorse the Army's past use and future plans to use DU. Yet the report documents the enormous problems that currently exist and the intractably radioactive, toxic nature of DU. Given this documentation, it is clear the Army can only go forward with DU weaponry development and deployment by considering contamination of the environment, civilians and its own soldiers as an acceptable cost. Intentionally or not, it underscores the need for a worldwide ban on DU, cleanup of existing sites, better interim safety practices, and better medical attention and research for those who have been exposed.