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The U.S. Government and the Defense Department have consistently denied that depleted uranium used in munitions in the Gulf War, Iraq, or anywhere else, has had any negative effects, medical or otherwise on anyone.
But a "1993 Defense Department document written by then-Brigadier Gen. Eric Shinseki...shows that the Pentagon was concerned about DU contamination and the agency had ordered medical testing on all personnel that were exposed to the toxic substance."
Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, testified that "the VA has refused to listen to scientists and veterans who are concerned about DU, leaving thousands of veterans suffering from chronic illnesses related to the conflict unsure if they will ever receive a solid diagnosis to justify the benefits and treatment they need."
In the wake of terrible reports of escalating cancer rates and birth defects in Iraq which have been attributed to the use of DU in bombs and munitions, Sullivan expressed the belief that a training program and video designed to educate troops on how to handle, and clean up DU impregnated weapons had been pulled due to the reaction of the troops "who became upset when they saw soldiers in moon suits holding Geiger counters, and the military realized that the training could present a problem in the battlefield where soldiers need to disregard exposure issues while trying to kill the enemy."
This is somehow much worse than the original denial. The use of DU in weapons has left an indiscriminate legacy of medical devastation from the Balkans to Fallujah. The Government of the U.S. can no longer support the claim that they did not know that.
Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail* / Inter Press Service News Agency July 26, 2010
FALLUJAH, Jun 12 (IPS) - Babies born in Fallujah are showing illnesses and deformities on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say.
The new cases, and the number of deaths among children, have risen after "special weaponry" was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004.
After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November 2005 that white phosphorous, a restricted incendiary weapon, was used a year earlier in Fallujah.
In addition, depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tonnes of DU in Iraq thus far.
Many doctors believe DU to be the cause of a severe increase in the incidence of cancer in Iraq, as well as among U.S. veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War and through the current occupation.
Independent / Patrick Cockburn July 24, 2010
Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.
Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.
Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.
Will the rise of a new class of Cold Warriors doom Obama's nuke treaty?
James Traub has written an interesting article relating the subject material of two new films- Nuclear Tipping Point and Countdown to Zero, to the position in which the Obama Administration finds itself in relation to the New START Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and current outdated Cold War sentiments within today's Republican Party.
He says: the entire Obama agenda on nonproliferation has been warped and blunted by the exigencies of catering to Senate Republicans -- and to those elements of the military and nuclear-weapons establishment that cling to the old Cold War paradigm.
He goes on to say: The Obama administration has paid, and paid dearly, to ensure passage of START, a win which officials were once foolish enough to think would be fairly painless. But they might not have paid enough to satisfy the right. In recent days, conservatives have begun priming the pump of opposition, including a Wahington Post op-ed by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney so ludicrously ill-founded that Richard Lugar, the mild-mannered Republican senator, felt compelled to denounce it as a "hyperbolic" peddling of "misreadings and myths."
Many of the actions of the Obama Administration have been mysterious and disappointing to people who voted for him. Still, it's useful to know the kind of intrenched, illogical, head in the sand, thinking he's up against.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but seeing a disaster site the size of Hanford made a bigger impression on at least one member of the Blue Ribbon Commission who toured the North America's largest Superfund site recently:
"Boy, oh boy, what a mess we created making those bombs," said former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., a commission member, at the end of the Hanford tour. "Now we have to fix it up."
Hanford consists of 586 miles of contaminated everything- including leak-prone tanks containing 156 million curies of radioactive waste, the glowing blue of 1,936 capsules of strontium & cesium in the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility (106 million curies of radiation), and the uncompleted "$12.3 billion vitrification plant being built to turn the tank waste into a stable [although how stable has raised questions] glass form starting in 2019."
What the Blue Ribbon Commission will actually do about the nation's radioactive waste problem is currently a hotly debated topic. But, Hanford is a sobering sight and its clean-up, or the failure to clean it up properly, will effect the lives of people, and the environment, of the Northwest for farther into the future than we are capable of imagining. If the trip does something to mitigate the pro-nuclear backgrounds and leanings of the Commission, that will be a major step in the right direction.
For immediate release, Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Call Tri-Valley CAREs at (925) 443-7148 for more information
NEW DOCUMENT REVEALS GOV'T PLANS TO:
- Abandon promised science and "ignition and gain" at Livermore Lab NIF
- Jack up funding for nuclear weapon "life extensions" beyond what the
facts justify, and
- Escalate bomb budgets through 2030 despite lip service to Obama
WASHINGTON — The amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously reported, a new analysis indicates, suggesting that a cleanup to protect future generations will be far more challenging than planners had assumed.
This is hardly new information to Hanford Watchdog groups, but it is a good thing that the DOE and the government are publicly acknowledging it.
The desire of the DOE to clean up the Hanford site to 99% as opposed to the 99.9% demanded by the watchdog groups, the State of Oregon, and environmentalists seems like a small difference. But it's a critical one, that contains the fate of the Columbia River, and the public health of Hanford's neighbors now and, essentially (because of the 24,000 year half-life of plutonium) forever.
More info on what's buried in the 1000-plus page DOE clean-up plan can be found on the Heart of America NW website, and through Hanford Challenge
The Herald Scotland / 20 Jun 2010
Worsening shortages of staff and funds could jeopardise the safety of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons, the Ministry of Defence has secretly warned.
According to nuclear consultant John Large: “The signs are that the MoD’s nuclear regulatory and safeguard framework is already creaking and cracking at the seams with a number of crucial nuclear safety and environmental protection programmes being put on hold or subject to expedient repair and maintenance.”
The MoD, in a recently releases safety report said "it is facing increasing difficulties managing its nuclear programme, “with due regard for the protection of the workforce, the public and the environment”.