Petition: Tell the U.S. to stop opposing UN resolutions on depleted uranium

Please sign this petition:

Dear Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Power,

We, the undersigned, urge the United States government to address the toxic legacy of its depleted uranium use in Iraq.

On November 5, a new resolution on depleted uranium weaponry will be introduced to the United Nations General Assembly. While the text of this year’s resolution is still being negotiated, since 2007, UN resolutions have included language affirming the need for research on the potential harmful effects of depleted uranium as well as the need for disclosure of where this weaponry has been used. The resolutions have been passed by the vast majority of the world’s nations, indicating a growing global concern. Unfortunately, each year the U.S. has isolated itself by opposing these resolutions, alongside only a few other countries.

The U.S. must end its opposition to UN action on depleted uranium. It must also support clean-up of areas where it has used depleted uranium and further scientific study of the impact of these materials on people, such as the relationship of these materials to increased cancer rates and birth defects, so that proper treatment can be pursued for those who have been exposed. These actions are critical to both civilian communities in Iraq and U.S. veterans and servicemembers.

We note the renewed urgency of this matter given the current U.S. military actions in Iraq and Syria.

Sign the petition http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10503.

U.S. sends planes armed with Depleted Uranium to Middle East again

Posted on War is a Crime

By David Swanson, October 28, 2014

The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them.

A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). “Weight for weight and by number of rounds more 30mm PGU-14B ammo has been used than any other round,” said ICBUW coordinator Doug Weir, referring to ammunition used by A-10s, as compared to DU ammunition used by tanks.

Public affairs superintendent Master Sgt. Darin L. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing told me that the A-10s now in the Middle East along with “300 of our finest airmen” have been sent there on a deployment planned for the past two years and have not been assigned to take part in the current fighting in Iraq or Syria, but “that could change at any moment.”

The crews will load PGU-14 depleted uranium rounds into their 30mm Gatling cannons and use them as needed, said Hubble. “If the need is to explode something — for example a tank — they will be used.”

Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, “There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed.”

On Thursday, several nations, including Iraq, spoke to the United Nations First Committee, against the use of Depleted Uranium and in support of studying and mitigating the damage in already contaminated areas. A non-binding resolution is expected to be voted on by the Committee this week, urging nations that have used DU to provide information on locations targeted. A number of organizations are delivering a petition to U.S. officials this week urging them not to oppose the resolution.

In 2012 a resolution on DU was supported by 155 nations and opposed by just the UK, U.S., France, and Israel. Several nations have banned DU, and in June Iraq proposed a global treaty banning it — a step also supported by the European and Latin American Parliaments.

Wright said that the U.S. military is “addressing concerns on the use of DU by investigating other types of materials for possible use in munitions, but with some mixed results. Tungsten has some limitations in its functionality in armor-piercing munitions, as well as some health concerns based on the results of animal research on some tungsten-containing alloys. Research is continuing in this area to find an alternative to DU that is more readily accepted by the public, and also performs satisfactorily in munitions.”

“I fear DU is this generation’s Agent Orange,”

U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott told me. “There has been a sizable increase in childhood leukemia and birth defects in Iraq since the Gulf War and our subsequent invasion in 2003. DU munitions were used in both those conflicts. There are also grave suggestions that DU weapons have caused serious health issues for our Iraq War veterans. I seriously question the use of these weapons until the U.S. military conducts a full investigation into the effect of DU weapon residue on human beings.”

Doug Weir of ICBUW said renewed use of DU in Iraq would be “a propaganda coup for ISIS.” His and other organizations opposed to DU are guardedly watching a possible U.S. shift away from DU, which the U.S. military said it did not use in Libya in 2011. Master Sgt. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing believes that was simply a tactical decision. But public pressure had been brought to bear by activists and allied nations’ parliaments, and by a UK commitment not to use DU.

DU is classed as a Group 1 Carcinogen
by the World Health Organization,

and evidence of health damage produced by its use is extensive. The damage is compounded, Jeena Shah at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) told me, when the nation that uses DU refuses to identify locations targeted. Contamination enters soil and water. Contaminated scrap metal is used in factories or made into cooking pots or played with by children.

CCR and Iraq Veterans Against the War have filed a Freedom of Information Act Request in an attempt to learn the locations targeted in Iraq during and after the 1991 and 2003 assaults. The UK and the Netherlands have revealed targeted locations, Shah pointed out, as did NATO following DU use in the Balkans. And the United States has revealed locations it targeted with cluster munitions. So why not now?

“For years,” Shah said, “the U.S. has denied a relationship between DU and health problems in civilians and veterans. Studies of UK veterans are highly suggestive of a connection. The U.S. doesn’t want studies done.” In addition, the United States has used DU in civilian areas and identifying those locations could suggest violations of Geneva Conventions.

Iraqi doctors will be testifying on the damage done by DU before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C., in December. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration said on Thursday that it will be spending $1.6 million to try to identify atrocities committed in Iraq . . . by ISIS.

Source: http://warisacrime.org/content/us-sends-planes-armed-depleted-uranium-middle-east

12 Nobel Prize winners tell Obama to release report on torture

Posted by War Criminals Watch

28 October 2014

As 12 Nobel Peace Prize winners call on Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama to release the long-awaited report on torture that the Senate conducted, and the Obama administration debates codifying key aspects of Bush doctrine which allowed torture on foreign soil, it’s worthwhile to analyze why this has continued to be such a unsolvable problem for the rulers of the U.S.

Nobel Peace Prize winners — as we’ve seen lately, especially — aren’t the standard of justice in the world, but the standards of one in particular are an outrage. The Obama administration is micro-managing the release of the Senate’s report on CIA torture, already delayed for years, watered down and admittedly tampered with by CIA spying.  Obama doesn’t want the report out before the November 4 election.  In that he’s in sync with the most rabid pro-torturers from the Bush regime.

But this is not about history only, as important as setting the record straight is. Men are being tortured in Guantanamo now by indefinite detention and forced-feeding. Governments set up and bought by the U.S. in Afghanistan & Iraq are torturing with impunity in the very prisons built by the U.S. and CIA to originate the torture.

When — or if — the Senate CIA torture report becomes public, we can’t let that moment go by without mass protest.

From Rob Crawford’s piece The CIA, the President, and the Senate’s Torture Report, September 26: “Many military, security and political elites recognize that U.S. torture, approved at the highest levels of government, created an unsurpassed crisis of legitimacy for the country.  Their foremost objective is to restore that legitimacy.

Arguably, this is the principal reason why Obama issued his executive order rejecting torture in 2009 (I believe that McCain would have likely done the same). It is why the new president counseled amnesia about torture and why he refused to initiate criminal investigations or even a commission of inquiry.  It is why he has fallen mostly silent about the issue of torture.  The U.S. relies on an image that it conducts its wars humanely and in accordance with international law. Brutality and illegality belong to the enemy.  Occasionally, however, the brutal and unlawful exercise of state violence becomes public knowledge.  The inhumanity of violence “shocks the conscience.”  Legitimacy crises follow.  For the U.S., the Abu Ghraib photos were a disaster but the disaster kept growing with a cascade of revelations that included documentation of torture of prisoners in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and CIA kidnapping, renditions, and torture in secret prisons.  The reverberations are still being felt.”

Source:

http://warisacrime.org/content/twelve-nobel-prize-winners-call-nobel-prize-winner-obama-release-report-torture

Japanese doctors threatened; health statistics must be cleared by the IAEA before release to the public

Japanese doctors threatened — their hospital rights and medical license will be revoked if they tell patients their illness is radiation-related.

The IAEA is the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education on Radio Ecoshock, released Oct 29, 2014:

Alex Smith, host of RadioEcoshock (at 10:30 in):

We’ve heard almost nothing about the impacts [of the Fukushima catastrophe] on people in that region. There are accounts coming out of there of strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — what have you heard? Can we ever expect an honest accounting from Japanese authorities?

Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer (emphasis added):

That’s a pretty good summary, frankly. We continue to get information from people who live there about cancer rates — and illnesses in general, not just cancer. We think of radiation as a cancer causing thing, but it also causes many other ailments. Much higher incidences of a whole range of illnesses than they had in 2010, the year before the accident…

We’re also working with doctors in Japan, and some brave doctors are saying that they’ve been threatened — that their hospital rights have been threatenedif you tell your patient this illness is radiation related you’ll lose your right to practice and things like that. So there’s enormous pressure on the medical community to tell the patients that what they’re experiencing is not at all related to radiation. The key is statistics, and the question is when will the statistics be released for mortality, morbidity, and general illnesses…

We’re not seeing the data. The medical community now has to file every report that it writes with the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, before it’s issued. So if you’re a hospital, and you’ve got mortality data, you’re not allowed to issue that to the public until those reports have been cleared by the IAEA. Well, Article II of the IAEA charter is to promote nuclear power. So even if the hospital was conscientious — there’s a lot of political pressure not to be — but even if it was conscientious, there’s another step in the process, and they’ve got to clear an IAEA hurdle before those numbers are released. It’s truly frightening, the pressure the medical community is undergoing in Japan. Very few of them are willing to tell the truth.

Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer, Oct. 20, 2014 (at 15:00 in): There’s experts out there like me – independent experts – who are saying that as many as a million cancers may result.

Sneak peek of Oct. 29 broadcast here | Watch Oct. 20 presentation here

Posted on ENE News.

http://enenews.com/frightening-doctors-being-threatened-telling-patients-illnesses-related-fukushima-radiation-strange-tumors-kids-dying-pets-dying-higher-incidences-range-health-problems-being-reported-experts

 

$355 Billion expansion of nuclear weapons proposed by Obama administration and Congress

From the Guardian, September 29, 2014
By Cady Enders

…Congress and the Department of Defense, together with New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), are gearing up to dramatically increase production of nuclear weapons cores to numbers not seen since the cold war. In a report to Congress last month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) outlined specific recommendations for a nuclear production plan under which as many as 80 explosive plutonium cores – 3.5in spheres that trigger an atomic bomb – would be created per year by 2030.

The Los Alamos proposal, which aims to increase plutonium core production at the nuclear facility thirtyfold from 2013 levels, leaves various environmental, fiscal, and political questions unanswered. Los Alamos, which the CRS report cites as the only plausible place for the slated nuclear expansion, happens to have a staggeringly poor history of safeguarding war-grade nuclear materials. A federal study last month found the nuclear facility unprepared to respond to emergencies; environmental violations abound; and a former employee was recently sentenced to a year in federal prison for trying to sell nuclear secrets to the Venezuelan government.

The plan, which has already been quietly adopted in broad terms by the House and Senate armed services committees as part of the 2015 Defense Authorization Act, is expected to contribute an estimated $355bn for nuclear weapons development over the next decade. The spending would seem to stand in stark contrast to President Obama’s stated position on nuclear weapons.

Obama has previously indicated a strong commitment to cutting the nuclear stockpile from 5,113 warheads in 2009 to 1,500 by the year 2016. In a 2009 speech in Prague, cited by the Nobel committee as the primary reason for awarding him the peace prize…

… James Doyle, a former scientist in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division at LANL, said that the scale of the proposed project lacks supporting research, particularly in the quantity of cores required. “I’ve never seen the justification articulated for the 50-80 pits per year by 2030,” Doyle said.

Doyle, a 17-year veteran of Los Alamos, was dismissed on July 8 for publishing an article in support of nuclear disarmament that had been approved prior to publication by the laboratory’s classification department. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the State Department have since classified the article, despite the fact that the media review process at the lab prior to publication identified no classification breaches. (The article remains available to the public even after the classification.)

Doyle believes that the timing of his ouster was connected to the congressional push for nuclear weapons maintenance. “I think the laboratory would like to review for message, too,” he said.“I would speculate that the message of my article was in opposition to the labs’ message when searching for funding for the plutonium pit project.”

Doyle believes that the government should turn its focus from weapons component production to a strategic plan for eliminating nuclear weapons by the year 2045. “I think there are plenty of people at the lab who share my view that are now even less likely to write an article like that now this has happened to me,” Doyle said.

… Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear watchdog group, said that the reason the pit proposal has progressed, despite monumental cost to the taxpayer, comes down to the priorities of the for-profit corporations that now run all the country’s nuclear laboratories since they were privatized in 2006. That includes Los Alamos National Security, a private limited liability corporation that manages and operates Los Alamos National Laboratories.

“The business model of the nuclear weapons labs is to blackmail the government into continuing excessive appropriations,” said Mello. “The nuclear weapons labs are sized for the Cold War, and they need a Cold War to keep that size.”

For the complete article:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/29/congress-nuclear-weapons-new-mexico-radioactivity

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44968
Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2014 to 2023

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Nuclear weapons deal with US renewed in secret, UK confirms

From the Guardian, October 20, 2014
By Richard Norton-Taylor

The British government has just published amendments updating a treaty that goes to the heart of the UK’s special relationship with the US.

They relate to the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) first signed in 1958, which, according to the government, enables the UK and the US “nuclear warhead communities to collaborate on all aspects of nuclear deterrence including nuclear warhead design and manufacture”.

One amendment refers to potential threats from “state or non-state actors”. But the amendments are for the most part arcane and their significance cannot be understood in the absence of information which is kept secret.

The MDA does not have to be debated or voted on in parliament, as I have remarked before. Though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.

Yet the matters covered by the treaty, which is renewed only at 10 year intervals, are hugely important. Successive British governments have made clear a proper debate on the issues involved would not be welcome.

“A debate on the renewal of the MDA would be used by some as an opportunity to raise wider questions concerning the possible renewal of the nuclear deterrent…and our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” notes an internal MoD paper, dated 2004. The paper was released only earlier this year through a freedom of information act request by the independent Nuclear Information Service.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) says the UK-US agreement flew in the face Britain’s commitments as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“It is appalling that David Cameron is signing secretive nuclear deals behind Parliament’s back. In no other area of government would such a sinister sidestepping of democratic process be tolerated.”

For the full article:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/oct/20/nuclear-weapons-uk-us

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

‘Depleted’ Uranium & Induced Radioactivity: What the Department of Defense hopes you don’t learn

Induced radioactivity would also apply to contamination from Fukushima affecting water (and bodies of water, such as reservoirs), soil, and whatever it comes in contact with (such as roofs, playgrounds, roads, animal feed).

It would also apply to the USS Ronald Reagan that the US Navy has allowed children to board, and which it has redeployed with new crew, regardless of the contamination from Operation Tomodachi and the consequences to the health of US military personnel.

—————————————————————————————————

By Elaine Hunter
Posted on COTO Report
August 18, 2011

120mm DU Munition

Lest anyone jump to the conclusion that this article is about my opinion, let’s start out with the military definition:

“Induced radiation: (DOD, NATO) Radiation produced as a result of exposure to radioactive materials, particularly the capture of neutrons.” (From Military Dictionary:  US Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Words: Terms and concepts associated with the military. Induced-Radiation)

Induced radioactivity occurs when a previously stable material has been made radioactive by exposure to specific radiation (specific being: alpha, gamma, neutrons, x-rays).

The author recalls reading decades ago, in the context of research about the push for fusion power production, that where there is substantial neutron activity, the equipment that initially was not radioactive eventually becomes so radioactive that it must be decommissioned.  To date I’ve seen very little discussion of this aspect of the use of DU.  It is not insignificant.

Neutron activation is the main form of induced radioactivity, which happens when free neutrons are captured by nuclei. A less common form involves removing a neutron via photodisintegration. In this reaction, a high energy photon (gamma ray) strikes a nucleus with an energy greater than the binding energy of the atom, releasing a neutron.

Induced radioactivity was observed early on along the rocky road of nuclear sciences; it was first observed in 1934, by Irene Curie and Frederic Joliot. They bombarded aluminum metal with alpha particles in the following reaction:

The casings, at least for the 30mm DU munitions are aluminum! (“Al” noted in the above equation). The “He” noted in the above equation represents an alpha particle, an alpha particle is essentially a helium atom. The resulting atom is phosphorus (“P”) plus a neutron (“n”). The neutron that results can go on to induce radioactivity in other atoms of aluminum or steel or….

25mm DU munition

The resulting phosphorus atom is radioactive with a half life of approximately 14 days. This is not insignificant. I can’t help but wonder what role induced radioactive phosphorus played in causing the increases in horrid birth defects in Iraq and elsewhere. Phosphorus is an essential element in DNA, RNA, amino acids, etc., the building blocks of life.

Surely those concerned about DU munitions have learned that U-238 is an alpha emitter. It is also a neutron emitter (my article DU – You Don’t Have To Inhale Or Ingest It For It To Make You Sick gives details about this).

The A-10 Thunderbolt jet and the Apache helicopter both use 30mm munitions in their GAU Gatling gun (front mounted).

Bradley Fighting Vehicle

However what was in their linked ammo is not 100% DU rounds. The linkage was 4 DUs to 1 HEI (High Explosive Incendiary) round (Note I’ve also seen 5/1 ratio). Has anyone else noted that those HEIs and their casings had to have become radioactive? How about the region of the jets or helicopters where the ammo was loaded? Wouldn’t they also become radioactive?

From where I sit, it is too difficult to come up with a listing of what artificial radioisotopes would have been induced or what half lives they would have, but they have to be there.

While in stockpile or not yet loaded for action, the DU munitions are stored in now radioactive steel ammo cans. Troops who sat on such cans would have been cooking their behinds and “family jewels” with various radioactive emissions to their peril.

Some years ago the Navy stopped using the 20mm DU round. Was it because it was gradually making their ships radioactive; because sailors were getting sick? You’ll have to ask the higher-ups on that one. They said it was because they did not need them.

Marine Harrier Jet

How about DU armor on tanks? Did the manufacturer or the DOD give some special blessing over it to prevent the inevitable induced radioactivity it would cause to the rest of the tank and the crew?

These are not the only examples of where DU occurs. Fill in others that you know and think about it.

More and more examples of information for the horses’ mouths that show the US military has failed to consider or reveal the far reaching ramifications of using “depleted” uranium ostensibly on the enemy, yet on its own who have to have anything to do with it. Always, always more questions than answers. Obfuscation, betrayal.

Dr. Prof. Elaine Hunter is an Independent Researcher. Feel free to contact her at: uncommon.eyes at gmail.com. A late-comer to the concerns about DU munitions, was shocked when she learned she lived in the midst of the US DU “production” triangle. She grew up a pre-boomer WWII military brat.

Source:
http://coto2.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/%e2%80%98depleted%e2%80%99-uranium-induced-radioactivity-what-dod-hopes-you-don%e2%80%99t-learn/