Depleted Uranium: we
must stop this!!!!!!]
I was absolutely shocked at the news I received
regarding the use of
Depleted Uranium (DU) in combat over Yugoslavia.
I urge you and beg you to
pass this information around and to do everything
in your power to stop
this environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.
Please contact your
Greenpeace organisations in your corresponding
countries and any other
environmental organisation you may be lucky to
have. Contact as many
embassies as you can warning them of the danger
of contamination to the
surrounding countries of Yugoslavia. If
they don't care very much for us I
am very certain they will care about their backyards.
The people of Europe
and the world have a right to know how sick the
Americans really are. I
cant stress enough how urgent this is.
For those who may have missed the
notice here it is so that you may fax it to the
above mentioned places:
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
Uranium bullets on NATO holsters
Thur, April 1, 1999
By Kathleen Sullivan
OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
As the war against Yugoslavia escalates, NATO
is expected to send U.S. Air
Force attack jets to blast Yugoslav tanks with
depleted uranium — a
radioactive ammunition prized as a "tank killer"
and deplored as a
long-term threat to human health.
The use of depleted uranium in combat is a troubling
prospect to some
veterans groups, which worry that the Pentagon
will fail — once again — to
issue warnings about the danger posed by its
hazardous dust and debris.
"With its behavior during the Gulf War, the United
States has established a
precedent: Don't protect your own troops from
depleted uranium, don't warn
civilian populations about it, and don't take
any responsibility for
cleanup or restoring the environment when you're
done," said Dan Fahey, a
staff member at Swords to Plowshares, a veterans'
rights group in San
"I would hope that wouldn't happen again," said
Fahey, author of "Case
Narrative: Depleted Uranium Exposures," a 1998
report on Gulf War health
According to Fahey's report, the Air Force fired
ammunition in combat in Bosnia in 1994-95.
Depleted uranium ammunition is made from a radioactive
and toxic metal that
is twice as dense as lead. It rips through tanks,
the Pentagon says, "like
a hot knife through butter."
NATO officials have said that during the second
phase of the war, planes
would target Yugoslav tanks and armored vehicles.
The Air Force A-10,
nicknamed "Warthog," is a low-flying, slow-moving
plane, often referred to
as a "tank buster."
During the first phase of the attack on Yugoslavia,
bombers hit targets
with cruise missiles fired from a great distance.
"Unless there is a cease-fire in the immediate
future, the likelihood of
the imminent use of depleted uranium ammunition
is high," said Paul
Sullivan, executive director of the National
Gulf War Resource Center, a
Washington, D.C., advocacy group for veterans.
NATO officials say Air Force A-10s have flown
recently from Aviano Air Base
in northern Italy, but have returned without
attacking targets because of
thick clouds and rain. They could not fly below
the clouds because of the
risk of exposure to anti-aircraft missiles.
In addition to depleted uranium bullets, which
are fired from the plane's
Gatling guns, Warthogs can also fire Maverick
missiles at Yugoslav armored
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon declined Wednesday
to answer questions
about when or how A-10s will be used in Yugoslavia,
saying such operational
details were "verboten from this podium."
"Planes' assignments secret"
Piers Wood, a senior fellow at the Center for
Defense Information, an
independent think tank in Washington, said the
movement of A-10s is an
important tactical secret that must be guarded
to protect pilots from enemy
fire. Wood, a retired Army lieutenant colonel,
dismissed concerns about the
health and environmental effects of depleted
uranium, saying everything in
life is a trade-off.
For a U.S. soldier facing a tank attack on the
ground, an A-10 is a welcome
sight, he said.
"Ask me whether I'd like to have an A-10 overhead
with depleted uranium
when tanks are going to kill me, or if I'd rather
preserve the environment
and have that pilot carry heavy explosives, and
I'd say: I want them
carrying depleted uranium," Wood said.
"I wouldn't say no, use the heavy explosives,
because I'm worried about
dying of cancer 30 years from now. I would risk
the consequences of
inhaling depleted uranium dust before I would
consider facing tanks.
Depleted uranium is wonderful stuff. It turns
tanks into Swiss cheese."
However, radiation expert Rosalie Bertell said
depleted uranium is highly
toxic to humans. Bertell, president of the International
Concern for Public Health, called its use in
Yugoslavia radiation and toxic
chemical warfare that must be denounced.
"Troops not told of dangers"
The ammunition was used for the first time in
combat in the gulf, but
soldiers were not warned that inhaling, ingesting
or absorbing its
hazardous residue could cause cancer, or respiratory,
kidney and skin
By the end of the Gulf War, 630,000 pounds of
depleted uranium dust,
fragments and penetrators — the ammunition's
spear-shaped projectile — were
scattered in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, the
Pentagon has said.
In 1998, the Pentagon said exposure to depleted
uranium was not the cause
of Gulf War illnesses, the undiagnosed ailments
veterans. However, in 1999, the Pentagon corrected
that statement, saying
its conclusion was premature.
Under a 1998 federal law, the National Academy
of Sciences will investigate
the causes of veterans' illnesses to determine
if they are linked to
battlefield exposure to depleted uranium and
other toxic substances used in
Sullivan, of the National Gulf War Resource Center,
said he hopes the
Pentagon will provide medical screenings to U.S.
soldiers who may be
exposed to Yugoslavian battlefields contaminated
with depleted uranium — if
it is used.
Army regulations required medical screenings for
soldiers exposed to
radioactive substances, but the military failed
to provide them.
Sullivan also warned of the environmental hazards
posed by depleted
uranium, which has a half-life of 4.5 billion
"In Yugoslavia, it's expected that depleted uranium
will be fired in
agricultural areas, places where livestock graze
and where crops are grown,
thereby introducing the spectre of possible contamination
of the food
chain," he said.
Last year, Iraqi doctors said they feared a disturbing
rise in leukemia and
stomach cancer among civilians who live near
the war zone may be linked to
depleted uranium contamination of Iraqi farmland.
Please pass this around to everyone.
University of Western Sydney, Nepean
School of Civic Engineering and Environment
Westmead North Campus
Westmead NSW 2145
phone:(02) 9685 9883
Fax: (02) 9685 9893
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