MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH


January 17, 2003

Defeating the U.S. War Plans Series #15: The United States of Endless Horrors



Hello everyone

"Either we do away with war or war will do away with us" stated Dennis Kucinich in a remarkable interview tonight (Jan 16) on Nightline with Ted Koppel.

And nearly all of humanity agrees with him.

This compilation is really a Must Read and Must Network to all your contacts. Explore the links proposed too!

Love and Peace WILL prevail!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com

This compilation is archived at
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/DefeatingUSWar15.htm


"Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances."

- Mohandas Gandhi


"The military as an instrument of mass killing is a waste institution - humans, energy, oil, metals, scientific and technical skills, money - it consumes all and restores nothing to the resources of the planet. Any faithful or sane scrutiny would conclude that it must be dismantled. It kills, threatens and wastes - it is the BIG LIE institutionalized. Its veneer and untouchability gives new meaning to the demonic."

- Phil Berrigan (Anti-war activist who spent 11 years of his 79 years in prison for non-violent resistance to America's "bosses and warriors", as he put it. He died of cancer on December 6, 2002)


"I die with the conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville, that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself. We have already exploded such weapons in Japan in 1945 and the equivalent of them in Iraq in 1991, in Yugoslavia in 1999, and in Afghanistan in 2001. We left a legacy for other people of deadly radioactive isotopes - a prime counterinsurgency measure. For example, the people of Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Pakistan will be battling cancer, mostly from depleted uranium, for decades. In addition, our nuclear adventurism over 57 years has saturated the planet with nuclear garbage from testing, from explosions in high altitudes (four of these), from 103 nuclear power plants, from nuclear weapons factories that can't be cleaned up - and so on. Because of myopic leadership, of greed for possessions, a public chained to corporate media, there has been virtually no response to these realities..."

- Last statement from Phil Berrigan soon before he died.


CONTENTS

1. Afghanistan: The Nuclear Nightmare Starts
2. Iraq Links Cancers to Uranium Weapons: U.S. Likely to Use Arms Again in War


See also:

Ex-Bush speechwriter: I was to provide a justification for war (Jan 8) MUST READ!
http://www3.sympatico.ca/sr.gowans/frum.html
In late December 2001, chief presidential speechwriter Mike Gerson "was parcelling out the components of the forthcoming State of the Union speech. His request to me," recalls David Frum in his new book The White House in The Right Time: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, "could not have been simpler: I was to provide a justification for a war." And so was born the phrase "the axis of evil." A year later, the impending all-out assault on Iraq is spinned as "a war of liberation." And there's a certain truth to the claim. It will be a war that could liberate up to 500,000 Iraqis of their lives, according to the British healthcare group, Medact. It will be a war that could liberate 200,000 Iraqis of their homes, and 10 million of their security against hunger and disease, according to a new UN report. And, above all, it will be a war that will liberate Iraq of its oil wealth and put America more wholly in charge. CLIP

Anti-War Protests Looming (Jan 14)
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/030114/80/dir85.html
In a series of rallies organisers hope will dwarf the widespread anti-nuclear marches of the 1980s, peace activists are planning to fill cities across Europe and the United States under a "Don't attack Iraq" banner. Smaller protests against a second Gulf war -- looming larger in recent weeks as U.S. and British military might builds in the region -- are scheduled for cities in Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Australia and Canada. D-Day for the peace movement in Europe will be February 15, when simultaneous protests in several capitals are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of marchers. "February 15th is an international day of action... I think we could see record numbers at the biggest anti-war demonstration London has ever seen," said Andrew Burgin, spokesman for Britain's Stop the War Coalition. "The message is a simple one: no war against Iraq for any reason, whether the United Nations supports an attack or not," he told Reuters. On that day, big protests are also planned for Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and the Swiss capital Berne. (...) Political analysts say a well-organised peace movement could provide serious problems for governments -- especially Blair's, America's staunchest ally since the September 11 attacks -- where public opinion is stacked against an attack not sanctioned by the United Nations. CLIP

Anti - War Group Revives 'Daisy' Ad (Jan 15)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/011703G.daisy.ad.htm
Revisiting a jarring television commercial from the Cold War era, a grass-roots anti-war group has remade the 1964 "Daisy" ad, warning that a war against Iraq could spark nuclear Armageddon.

Call to Conscience from Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists
http://www.calltoconscience.net
We are veterans of the United States armed forces. We stand with the majority of humanity, including millions in our own country, in opposition to the United States all out war on Iraq. CLIP

U.N. Wants Up to a Year for Iraq Inspections
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49467-2003Jan13.html
(...) The U.N. inspectors' comments were likely to further fuel an anti-war camp that includes much of the public in Europe and the Middle East, many of their governments, and the Pope, who declared Monday war would be a "defeat for humanity." CLIP

Declaring and Waging War: The U.S. Constitution (April 2002)
http://www.fff.org/comment/com0204a.asp
Excuse me for asking an indelicate question in the midst of war, but where does President Bush derive the power to send the United States into war against another nation? The question becomes increasingly important given that the president has indicated that once the Afghan War has been brought to a conclusion, he intends to use U.S. military forces to attack other sovereign nations. (...) Therefore, under our system of government although the president is personally convinced that war against a certain nation is just and morally right, he is nevertheless prohibited by our supreme law of the land from waging it unless he first secures a declaration of war from Congress.

Direct Action May Become a Necessity (January 16)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,875639,00.html
The UN is being used as a fig leaf for war in the face of world opinion - If anyone could sell George Bush's planned war of aggression against Iraq, surely it should be Tony Blair, a politician whose career has been built on his ability to smoothtalk his way out of a crisis. He has been straining every nerve to do just that for the past week. (...) But all the signs are that his spin offensive simply isn't working. (...) Not only does public opinion - along with key sections of the civil service, military, churches and trade unions - appear to be hardening against the expected war, but the Labour party itself shows every sign of risking rupture if that war goes badly. (...) Last week, in the first such incident since Britain's war of intervention against the Soviet Union more than 80 years ago, two traindrivers based at Motherwell in Scotland refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition destined for British forces in the Gulf in protest against the threat of war against Iraq. More than a dozen workers at the depot have now supported the action. If this war goes ahead, many others are likely to follow their lead. In such circumstances, direct action will not simply be justified, it will be a democratic necessity.

Phil Berrigan's review of Sr. Rosalie Bertell, book "Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War"
http://www.whatmatters.nu/wmemails/wmemails3.html#WT-18

Bush Declares a Sanctity of Life Day (Jan 14) http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-bush-abortion0115jan14,0,6134174.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dpolitics%2Dheadlines
Bush also declares "Irony Totally Dead as a Stone Day". Bush pleased anti-abortion activists Tuesday by declaring a National Sanctity of Human Life Day and pledging his administration's commitment to "build a culture that respects life."

Bush's Foreign Policy Irony (Jan 14)
http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/03/01/14_Irony.html
Bush's Schizophrenic Treatment of Iraq and North Korea Starkly Revealed

What's Left in Suburbia
http://www3.sympatico.ca/sr.gowans/
This is REALLY worth a thorough look! Tons of anti-military articles!

Take Back the Media website
http://www.takebackthemedia.com/index.shtml
Same recommendation!

We interrupt this broadcast for a moment of levity... (Funny/satirical cartoon)
http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2003/01/13/tomo/index.html

Bushwhacked (Jan 13)
http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,7558,873395,00.html
(...) Guardian writers are inundated by emails from Americans asking plaintively why their own papers never print what is in these columns. (...) The supposedly liberal American press has become a dog that never bites, hardly barks but really loves rolling over and having its tummy tickled.

John le Carre: The United States of America Has Gone Mad (Jan 15)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,482-543296,00.html
America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War. The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press. The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world’s poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions. But bin Laden conveniently swept all that under the carpet. The Bushies are riding high. Now 88 per cent of Americans want the war, we are told. The US defence budget has been raised by another $60 billion to around $360 billion. A splendid new generation of nuclear weapons is in the pipeline, so we can all breathe easy. CLIP




1.

THE CONTINUED USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM BY U.S. AND BRITISH ARMIES IS WORST THAN A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. IT IS A MOST BARBARIC ABOMINATION THAT WILL REMAIN AS A DEADLY AND CRUEL LEGACY FOR COUNTLESS GENERATIONS TO COME AND COULD, IN TIME, CONTAMINATE THE ENTIRE PLANET. THE REVULSION STEMMING FROM THE SIGHT OF COUNTLESS HORRIFICALLY DEFORMED BABIES IN IRAQ, BOSNIA, KOSOVO AND SOON IN AFGHANISTAN, AS WELL AS THE GROWING HORDS OF CHILDREN DYING FROM DU-INDUCED CANCER WILL HAUNT US ALL FOR A LONG TIME TO COME AS ONE OF THE WORST POSSIBLE NIGHTMARES RESULTING FROM "MODERN" WARFARE.
STOPPING THIS CRIMINAL INSANITY IS AN ABSOLUTE *MUST* AND BRINGING TO JUSTICE THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR ORDERING THIS HORROR, A COMMON RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL HUMANITY.

From: http://www.coastalpost.com/03/01/03.htm

Afghanistan: The Nuclear Nightmare Starts

By Davey Garland
CoastalPost.com

When questions were asked in the British parliament a year ago about whether depleted uranium (DU) weapons had been used in the military strikes on Afghanistan, "It is not being used at present" was defense minister Geoff Hoon's reply.

A few days earlier, Hoon had been similarly vague on the issue, assuring us that: "No British forces currently engaged in operations around Afghanistan are armed with depleted uranium ammunition. However, we do not rule out the use of depleted uranium ammunition in Afghanistan, should its penetrative capability be judged necessary in the future."

The defense minister played his cards close to his chest, no doubt having been informed that DU or other uranium weapons were being used by the United States (and no doubt British) forces to penetrate the caverns of Tora Bora and other targets (including civilian ones), especially in the vicinity of Kabul.

The refusal of the Ministry of Defense to fully admit that dangerous uranium weapons may have been used in Afghanistan and the conflicts in the Balkans (Bosnia and Kosova), when evidence shows the contrary, illustrates just how sensitive the government is to the possibility that its use, or its collusion in the use, of weapons of mass destruction may be discovered.

This is not just because thousands of innocent civilians will suffer due to radiological (and heavy metal) poisoning, but also because the government is prepared to send British troops and aid workers, possibly for a long occupation of the war zones, ill-equipped and vulnerable to contamination.

When the Afghan crisis began, many of us believed that a great amount of DU/dirty uranium would be used to achieve the US-British campaign objectives, both to penetrate the opposition's hideouts in rocky terrain and to test new weapons systems (dirty uranium or dirty DU contains radioactive contaminants, such as plutonium isotopes, derived from spent fuel from power reactors). The amount used in Afghanistan might have exceeded the several hundred ton's of DU/dirty uranium used in the 1990-91 Gulf War and the Balkans conflicts.

Startling report

A startling new report based on research in Afghanistan indicates that our worst fears have been realized. The study, produced by the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC), points to the likelihood of large numbers of the population being exposed to uranium dust and debris.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine and radiology and a former science adviser to the US military, who set-up the independent UMRC, has been testing US, British, and Canadian troops and civilians for DU and uranium poisoning over the past few years. His findings confirm significant amounts in the subjects' urine as much as nine years after exposure.

Two scientific study teams were sent to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the conflict in 2001-02. The first arrived in June 2002, concentrating on the Jalalabad region. The second arrived four months later, broadening the study to include the capital Kabul, which has a population of nearly 3.5 million people. The city itself contains the highest recorded number of fixed targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. For the study's purposes, the vicinity of three major bomb sites were examined.

It was predicted that signatures of depleted or enriched uranium would be found in the urine and soil samples taken during the research. The team was unprepared for the shock of its findings, which indicated in both Jalalabad and Kabul, DU was possibly causing the high levels of illness but also high concentrations of non-depleted uranium. Tests taken from a number of Jalalabadd subjects showed concentrations 400% to 2000% above that for normal populations, amounts which have not been recorded in civilian studies before.

Those in Kabul who were directly exposed to US-British precision bombing showed extreme signs of contamination, consistent with uranium exposure and with some types of chemical or biological weaponry. These included pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are found in Gulf War and Balkans veterans and civilians. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous.

The study team itself complained of similar symptoms during their stay. Most of these symptoms last for days or months. The team also conducted a preliminary sample examination of new-born infants, discovering that at least 25% may be suffering from congenital and post-natal health problems that could be associated with uranium contamination. These include undeveloped muscles, large head in comparison to body size, skin rashes and infant lethargy. Considering that the children had access to sufficient levels of nutrition, the symptoms could not be due to malnourishment.

Durakovic and his team have searched for possible alternative causes, such as geological or industrial sources, or the likelihood of Al Qaeda having uranium reserves. But the uranium found is not consistent with the "dirty bomb" scenario proposed by the US (in which stores of radioactive materials might explain the findings), nor is it connected to DU, or an enriched uranium-type dust that has been found in Iraq and Kosova.

The only conclusion is that the allied forces are now possibly using milled uranium ore in their warheads to maximize the effectiveness and strength of their weapons, as well as to mask the uranium, hoping that it may be discounteded as part of any local natural deposits.

However, marked differences between natural uranium and the uranium used in the metal fragments found in Afghanistan was uncovered with the use of an electron microscope, which revealed the presence of small ceramic particles produced by the high temperatures created on impact. This method of disguising uranium would benefit governments that are under pressure from the growing anti-DU lobby.

Repeated warnings of this possible contamination was sent to both the British and Afghan governments in April by scientific researcher Dai Williams in her report, "Mystery Metal in Afghanistan". Warning were also sent to the UN Environment Program, the World Health Organization and Oxfam. All have ignored them and failed to conduct their own investigations.

Iraq

Present information and studies stressing the growing mortality rates amongst young children, especially the new born, indicate that malnutrition and other social causes cannot be the only attributable source of this phenomenon. This is confirmed by health specialists, international observers and a few brave officials from local hospitals who are convinced that this rise in illnesses and malformation are due to uranium/DU weapons.

In October, Durakovic spoke on al Jazeera television, claiming that the amount of DU/uranium used in Afghanistan far exceeded that of past conflicts. He also warned that if the scale of the attacks in Afghanistan was matched or exceeded in a forthcoming war in Iraq, then the consequences would be of appalling proportions for both civilians and military forces alike.

This scenario has substance, if the $393 billion defense authorization bill that Congress approved recently is taken into account. More than $15 million was assigned to modifying bunker busters bombs to nuclear capable, quite apart from uranium being added to conventional and bunker buster systems. Money was also invested in other weapons of mass destruction, including thermobaric and electromagnetic weapons.

The anti-war movement must oppose radiological and other weapons, as well as research and access to the source materials. Many of us have seen the heart-wrenching pictures of deformity and death in Iraq, and know of the growing cancer wards in Bosnia and Kosovo, not to mention the 80,000 American, 15,000 Canadian and thousands of British, Australian, French and other troops who are suffering a painful existence from Gulf War Syndrome plus the growing number suffering from a Balkans equivalent.

Davey Garland is a coordinator of the British-based Pandora DU Research Project. Source; Green Left Weekly, Issue of December 2002.




2.

From: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/01/13/MN233872.DTL

Also from: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/011503F.irq.dep.urnm.htm

Iraq Links Cancers to Uranium Weapons: U.S. Likely to Use Arms Again in War

Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

January 13, 2003

Baghdad -- Something is killing the children in Dr. Emad Wisam's hospital ward, and filling it up again and again with more sick and dying kids.

Walking a visitor through the halls of Al Mansour Children's Hospital in Baghdad last weekend, Wisam stopped briefly at his small patients' bedsides to commiserate.

After checking 5-year-old Nur Abdullah, who has a tumor in his throat, Wisam turned away with a pained look in his eyes.

"He will die soon," he said. "Most of these kids will die. And there's almost nothing we can do."

Iraq has experienced a dramatic increase in child cancers, leukemia and birth defects in recent years. Wisam, Iraqi medical authorities and growing numbers of American activists cast blame on the U.S. weapons containing depleted uranium that were used in the 1991 Gulf War and in the 1998 missile attacks on Baghdad and other major cities. They also assert that such munitions -- which were also used by U.S. forces in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia in far smaller quantities -- may be a cause of Gulf War diseases, elusive maladies that have affected 50,000 to 80,000 U.S. veterans of the 1991 conflict.

The Pentagon says studies it has sponsored have found no evidence that depleted uranium, known as DU, causes serious illnesses, while many international medical experts remain on the fence, citing the lack of definitive scientific evidence on the issue.

But with the renewed use of DU weapons by the U.S. military considered likely in the event of a new war with Iraq, the controversy is being stirred up again.

Depleted uranium is the low-level radioactive waste left over from manufacturing nuclear fuel and bombs. It is used in bullets and missiles by the United States, Britain, Russia and several other nations -- though, from all indications, not by Iraq.

HIGHLY EFFECTIVE

Military experts regard DU as an almost magically effective material. DU is 1.7 times denser than lead, and when a weapon made with a DU tip or core strikes the side of a tank or bunker, it slices straight through and erupts in a burning radioactive cloud. In addition, armor made of DU appears to make tanks far less vulnerable on the battlefield.

During the Gulf War, U.S. airplanes and tanks fired off munitions containing 320 tons of DU. According to Iraqi health statistics, the country's recent increase in health problems has been concentrated in the same areas of the country that took the brunt of U.S. attacks: Baghdad, the southern port city of Basra, and the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

No similar problems are known to have occurred in Kuwait, where DU was also used, because such weapons were used mainly outside of population centers and because Kuwait carried out a comprehensive, well-funded postwar cleanup of spent munitions and combat wreckage.

Among children throughout Iraq, the number of cancer cases has risen five-fold since 1990, and congenital birth defects and leukemia have tripled, say government health officials. Overall cancer rates among all Iraqis have risen by 38 percent, the Iraqi government says.

"There are thousands of cases of DU poisoning in Iraq by the Americans and British," said Health Minister Dr. Omeid Mobarik.

FUTURE USE PREDICTED

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that branches of the U. S. military are looking for alternatives to DU, but officials refuse to say publicly whether DU weapons will be used in a new war against Iraq. Defense Department spokeswoman Barbara Goodno has acknowledged, "Depleted uranium is an important component in the U.S. arsenal."

"Despite being engaged multiple times (during the Gulf War), often at close range, by Iraqi tanks and anti-armor weapons," she added, "not a single U.S. tank protected by DU armor was penetrated or knocked out by hostile fire."

Experts say the crucial edge that DU technology affords makes it too effective to pass up.

"Yes, certainly the U.S. will use it," said John Eldridge, editor of the authoritative book Jane's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense.

Christopher Hellman, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information in Washington, said U.S. and British military planners are likely to be swayed more by DU's effectiveness than by possible health concerns.

"Their view is very simple," said Helman. "This is war, and a destroyed enemy tank is less dangerous than one that's shooting at you, regardless of whatever residual effects DU may have."

Just what those health effects may be, however, is hotly debated.

Pentagon officials deny any links, either to Iraqi civilians or American Gulf War veterans. They dismiss Iraq's reports of increases in cancer, birth defects and leukemia, saying their pre-1990 baseline figures are unreliable.

They point in particular to a Pentagon-funded review of scientific literature on cancer and DU carried out by the Rand Corp. in 1999. It concluded that no link had been found. Initial studies by the World Health Organization and the European Community also have found no link.

But the Rand report -- which leans heavily on research into the relatively mild effects of conventional uranium -- acknowledges that "few studies to date . . . have focused directly on DU."

While the Veterans Administration has conducted limited studies of some veterans exposed to DU, and found no links so far to serious illness, U.S. activists point out that none of the published studies have tested broad numbers of sick Americans or Iraqis who have been exposed to DU. The U.S. military has conducted several such studies, but they remain classified. The Iraqi military refuses all comment on whether its veterans have experienced their own Gulf War illnesses.

AMERICAN EXPERT

One American with personal experience of DU is Doug Rokke, former director of the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project. He was in charge of a team of about 100 soldiers who examined and cleaned up Iraqi tanks and American vehicles struck by DU shells during the Gulf War.

The work was ghastly -- the DU explosions so badly burned the dead soldiers inside that the team dubbed them "crispy critters."

The team's members, uninformed about the danger of DU residue, were themselves contaminated. Most have suffered serious health problems in the intervening years, and "too many" have died, says Rokke, who says he eschews exact numbers because of the difficulty of proving direct links to DU exposure.

Rokke, who has a Ph.D. in physics and until recently was a professor at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, says he has "5,000 times the recommended level of radiation in my body" and has called the health woes among residents of southern Iraq and his own colleagues "the direct result" of DU exposure.

In an interview on Saturday, Rokke said of his own health: "I'm trashed." He said that Pentagon officials routinely tell him and others who were contaminated in the gulf theater that the elevated levels of uranium in their bodies are "just coming out of our diets."

INTERNATIONAL OPINION

But organizations outside the United States have come down against DU munitions:

-- In 1999, the European Parliament voted to urge NATO to suspend the use of DU munitions pending results of an independent study. The request was ignored.

-- Last August, the U.N. Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights authorized a study of the dangers of DU, which the panel had already labeled a weapon of mass destruction. The move -- coming over the objections of the United States and Britain -- was a significant victory for Karen Parker, a San Francisco lawyer who works with the International Educational Development/Humanitarian Law Project and has campaigned against DU for years.

-- A 1991 study by Britain's Atomic Energy Authority found that use of DU weapons in the Gulf War could eventually lead to half a million "potential deaths from cancer." The report was suppressed by the British government until 1998.

Hard science on the DU issue remains scarce, however.

Richard Clapp, an epidemiologist at Boston University School of Public Health and one of the few experts to investigate the DU-cancer relationship, is carrying out a study of Gulf War diseases among Massachusetts veterans.

His initial findings suggest increased incidences of Hodgkin's disease in Gulf War veterans exposed to DU, but no increases in other types of cancer.

But Clapp cautions that further comprehensive study is needed. In an e-mail interview, he wrote: "The potential for a DU-cancer link (especially lung cancer in those who breathe DU through dust and smoke particles) is still an open question. I certainly would not rule it out on biological grounds, and 'no proof of harm is not proof of no harm,' as we say."

OIL FIRES, CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Iraq's health problems and Americans' Gulf War illnesses could have many additional causes besides DU, Clapp and other U.S. experts say. Other possible factors include pollution breathed in from the oil fires ignited in Kuwait by retreating Iraqi soldiers or from Iraqi chemical weapons stores hit by U.S. missiles.

"The reason there is no proof of causality between DU and any particular disease is that no one has seriously looked for it," said Steve Leeper, co-director of the Global Association for Banning DU Weapons, a U.S.-Japanese coalition based in Atlanta, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"The biggest problem with radiation, especially involving a low-level radiation source that is also a toxic chemical, is that it can get you in so many ways," said Leeper.

"Which disorder you wind up with depends on where the DU winds up in your system and what sort of damage it does to what sort of cells. To really find an effect, the government would have to study all the veterans, especially the 205,000 that have applied for medical help from the Veterans Administration, and the people of southern Iraq and test for uranium in their urine, organs and bones, then look for correlations with various pathologies."

Dr. Alim Yacoub, a British-educated epidemiologist who is dean of the medical school at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, expressed anger at the world's response to the Iraqi health crisis.

"Why have no international studies been carried out?" he asked. "Where is the World Health Organization? This issue is highly political and has been affected by propaganda, by American pressure."

WHO officials say that in 2001, the U.N. organization proposed to Iraq a comprehensive study of all cancer problems, including DU, but received no response.

U.N. SANCTIONS

Yacoub insists that the project was blocked by the strict U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq since the Gulf War. He said the International Atomic Energy Agency has refused to allow Iraq to import radiology equipment needed to carry out the research because it is termed "dual use," meaning that it could be used to help develop nuclear weapons.

Defense analyst Hellman summed up the standoff over DU by saying, "The science on this is not unanimous.

"My approach is: If you can't use it safely, then you shouldn't use it. The military's approach is 180 degrees from that. They say, 'If you can't prove it isn't safe, we're going to keep using it.' "

---

ORIGIN, USES, EFFECTS OF DEPLETED URANIUM

Depleted uranium (DU) is a byproduct of the process during which fissionable uranium (uranium 235) used to manufacture nuclear bombs and reactor fuel is separated from natural uranium, a heavy metal found in soil and water everywhere on earth, mainly in trace quantities.

DU (uranium 238) is about 40 percent less radioactive than natural uranium, but it remains radioactive for 4.5 billion years. Because it is such a highly dense metal -- heavier than lead or steel -- it is prized for its abilities to both penetrate military armor and provide shielding against attack.

Upon impact, DU produces extremely fine uranium oxide dust that is both chemically toxic and radioactive. Easily spread by wind, it is inhaled and absorbed into the human body and absorbed by plants and animals, becoming part of the food chain.

E-mail Robert Collier at rcollier@sfchronicle.com




SUBSCRIPTION TO THE EARTH RAINBOW NETWORK E-LIST

If you would like to subscribe to the Earth Rainbow Network automated listserver and regularly receive similar compilations covering a broad range of subjects, including each new Meditation Focus issued every two week, please click on this SUBSCRIPTION page.





BACK TO THE FIRST HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE