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Suing over USUK DU and other WMD

Verite Sparks | 20.08.2003 20:10 | Anti-militarism | Health | World

A growing international movement must demand full reparations for the
Iraqi people. A cleanup of the toxic, radioactive waste is in the
interests of all the people of the region. The cost of the war must be
calculated in terms of bankrupt social programs here in the U.S. and the
health of all the people who were in the region during the war and will
be in the years to come.

1) Victims From First Gulf War Seek Damages
2) The lunatics have taken over the asylum
3) Another U.S. war crime? Iraqi cities 'hot' with depleted uranium

Victims From First Gulf War Seek Damages

August 19, 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Blaming corporations for fueling former Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program, victims of the first Gulf War
filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking compensation for illnesses affecting
more than 100,000 soldiers.

``Anyone with eyes and ears knew Saddam was killing people with poison
gas in the 1980s,'' lawyer Gary B. Pitts said outside federal court.
``These companies have to be held accountable or they'll do this same
thing in the future with some other tyrant.''

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for more than 100,000 soldiers who
it says suffered severe injuries and staggering economic losses after
they were exposed to chemicals when coalition forces blew up Iraqi
ammunition dumps.

Lawyers said they hoped to force chemical corporations from France,
Germany, Switzerland and the United States to reject future requests for
business from tyrants around the globe.

According to the filing, the Department of Veterans Affairs has
determined that more than 100,000 veterans of the first Gulf War have at
least a 10 percent impairment from chemical exposure, about 3,500
veterans have 70 percent impairment and 1,200 veterans are 100 percent

Research has shown those veterans are more likely to suffer from a
variety of chronic problems, including memory loss, fatigue, joint pain,
depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches and rashes.

However, no conclusive cause for these symptoms has been found despite
hundreds of studies. The theories range from stress and low-level nerve
gas exposure to pesticides and depleted uranium from armor-piercing

Pitts said he brought the lawsuit in Brooklyn because the court there
has experience with complex lawsuits and because litigation pertaining
to Agent Orange had been filed there. The herbicide Agent Orange was
used in the 1960s and 1970s in Vietnam to clear dense jungle foliage
that provided cover for enemy forces.


The lunatics have taken over the asylum

Ian Fraser: FRASER'S RAZOR, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

Longtime readers of this column will recall my hopefully not too boring
diatribes about 'depleted uranium' (DU) weapons in the past. Well, the
chickens appear to be coming home to roost for the poor sods in the US
army who're stationed in Iraq, as the death toll from various sicknesses
begins to mount, with all the experts throwing up their hands in
confusion. Thus far, around 100 soldiers have caught pneumonia - among
other strange illnesses and deaths (apart from the combat deaths). Read
this BBC report Iraq Pneumonia Baffles US.

Then read US Soldiers Dying From DU.


Another U.S. war crime? Iraqi cities 'hot' with depleted uranium

Source: Global Research, 20 Aug 2003

Has U.S. use of depleted-uranium weapons turned Iraq into a radioactive
danger area for both Iraqis and occupation troops?

This question has already had serious consequences. In hot spots in
downtown Baghdad, reporters have measured radiation levels that are1
,000 to1 , 900times higher than normal background radiation levels.

It has also opened a debate in the Netherlands parliament and media as
1,100 Dutch troops in Kuwait prepare to enter Iraq as part of the
U.S./British-led occupation forces. The Dutch are concerned about the
danger of radioactive poisoning and radiation sickness in Iraq.

Washington has assured the Dutch government that it used no DU weapons
near Al-Samawah, the town where Dutch troops will be stationed. But
Dutch journalists and anti-war forces have already found holes in the
U.S. stories, according to an article on the Radio Free Europe website.

DU-caused radiation had already raised alarms in Europe after studies
showed increased rates of cancers, respiratory ailments and other
disabilities of occupation troops from NATO countries stationed in
Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

In general, the health and environmental dangers of weapons made with DU
radioactive waste have received far more attention in Europe than in the

In this year's war on Iraq, the Pentagon used its radioactive arsenal
mainly in the urban centers, rather than in desert battlefields as
in1991 . Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers,
along with British, Polish, Japanese and Dutch soldiers sent to join the
occupation, will suffer the consequences. The real extent of injuries,
chronic illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects won't
be apparent for five to 10 years.

By now, half of all the 697,000 U.S. soldiers involved in the 1991 war
have reported serious illnesses. According to the American Gulf War
Veterans Association, more than 30 percent of these soldiers are
chronically ill and are receiving disability benefits from the Veterans
Administration. Such a high occurrence of various symptoms has led to
the illnesses being named Gulf War Syndrome.

This number of disabled veterans is shockingly high. Most are in their
mid-thirties and should be in the prime of health. Before sending troops
to the Gulf region, the military had already sifted out those with
disabilities or chronic health problems from asthma, diabetes, heart
conditions, cancers and birth defects.

A long-term problem

The impact of tons of radioactive waste polluting major urban centers
may seem a distant problem to Iraqis now trying to survive in the chaos
of military occupation. They must cope with power outages during the
intense heat of summer, door-to-door searches, arbitrary arrests,
civilians routinely shot at roadblocks, outbreaks of cholera and
dysentery from untreated water, untreated sewage and uncollected
garbage, more than half the work force unemployed, and a lack of
food--which before the war was distributed by the Baathist regime.

But along with these current threats are long-range problems. Around the
world a growing number of scientific organizations and studies have
linked Gulf War Syndrome and the high rate of assorted and mysterious
sicknesses to radiation poisoning from weapons made with depleted uranium.

Scott Peterson, a staff writer for the Christian Science Moni tor,
reported on May 15 about taking Geiger counter readings at several sites
in Baghdad. Near the Republican Palace where U.S. troops stood guard and
over1 , 000employees walked in and out of the building, his radiation
readings were the "hottest" in Iraq, at nearly1 , 900times background
radiation levels. Spent shell casings still littered the ground.

At a roadside vegetable stand selling fresh bunches of parsley, mint and
onions outside Baghdad, children played on a burnt-out Iraqi tank. The
reporter's Geiger counter registered nearly1 , 000times normal
background radiation. The U.S. uses armor-piercing shells coated with DU
to destroy tanks.

The Aug. 4 Seattle Post Intelligencer reported elevated radiation levels
at six sites from Basra to Baghdad. One destroyed tank near Baghdad had
1,500 times the normal background radiation. "The Pentagon and the
United Nations estimate that the U.S. and Britain used 1,100 to 2,200
tons of armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks on
Iraq in March and April--far more than the 375 tons used in the 1991
Gulf War," wrote the Post Intelligencer.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle analyzed swabs
from bullet holes in Iraqi tanks and confirmed elevated radiation levels.

Radioactive and toxic
The extremely dense DU shells easily penetrate steel armor and burn on
impact. The fire releases microscopic, radioactive and toxic dust
particles of uranium oxide that travel with the wind and can be inhaled
or ingested. They also spread contamination by seeping into the land and

In the human body, DU may cause harm to the internal organs due both to
its chemical toxicity as a heavy metal and its release of radiation.

An otherwise useless by-product of the uranium-enrichment process, DU is
attractive to military contractors because it is so cheap, often offered
for free by the government.

According to the Uranium Medical Research Center, the toxic and
radiological effects of uranium contamination may weaken the immune
system. They may cause acute respiratory conditions like pneumonia,
flu-like symptoms and severe coughs, renal or gastrointestinal illnesses.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic of UMRC explains that the initial symptoms will be
mostly neurological, showing up as headaches, weakness, dizziness and
muscle fatigue. The long-term effects are cancers and other
radiation-related illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, joint and
muscle pain, rashes, neurological and/or nerve damage, mood
disturbances, infections, lung and kidney damage, vision problems,
auto-immune deficiencies and severe skin conditions. It also causes
increases in miscarriages, maternal mortality and genetic birth defects.

For years the government described Gulf War Syndrome as a post-traumatic
stress disorder. It was labeled a psychological problem or simply
dismissed as mysterious unrelated ailments. In this same way the
Pentagon and the Veterans Administration treated the health problems of
Vietnam vets suffering from Agent Orange poisoning.

The cover-up

The U.S. government denies that DU weapons can cause sickness. But
before the first Gulf War, where DU weapons were used extensively, the
Pentagon's own internal reports warned that the radiation and heavy
metal of DU weapons could cause kidney, lung and liver damage and
increased rates of cancer.

Ignoring these dangers, the Pentagon went on to use these weapons, which
gave it a big advantage in tank battles. But it denied publicly that DU
use was related to the enormously high rate of sicknesses among GIs
following the war.

Today the Pentagon plays an even more duplicitous role. It continues to
assert that there are no "known" health problems associated with DU. But
Army training manuals require anyone who comes within 75 feet of any
DU-contaminated equipment or terrain to wear respiratory and skin

The manuals say that "contamination will make food and water unsafe for
consumption." According to the Army Environmental Policy Institute,
holding a spent DU round exposes a person to about 200 rems per hour, or
twice the annual radiation exposure limit.

This March and April U.S. and British forces fired hundreds of thousands
of DU rounds in dense urban areas. Superfine uranium oxide particles
were blown about in dust storms. Yet the Pentagon refuses to track,
report or mark off where DU was fired. There is no way Iraqis or the
occupying soldiers can keep 75 feet away or use respiratory and skin
protection in120 -degree heat.

The American Gulf War Veterans Association (AGWVA) reports that
suffering veterans are receiving little, if any, medical treatment for
their illnesses. "Whenever veterans become ill, the term 'mystery
illness' seems to be the first and often the only diagnosis that is ever
made. Veterans are then left to fend for themselves, sick and unable to
work, with little hope of a normal life again."

Iraq's National Ministry of Health organized two international
conferences to present data on the relationship between the high
incidence of cancer and the use of DU weapons. It produced detailed
epidemiological reports and statistical studies. This data showed a
six-fold increase in breast cancer, a five-fold increase in lung cancer
and a16 -fold increase in ovarian cancer.

Because of the U.S.-imposed sanctions, Iraqi doctors and scientists were
barred from presenting their research papers in most of the world.

Doug Rokke of AGWVA, former head of the U.S. Army DU Project, who is
seriously ill with respiratory problems, has been campaigning against
the use of DU. Rokke reports that U.S. troops presently in Iraq are
already falling sick with a series of Gulf War Syndrome symptoms.

The AGWVA says the Department of Defense has information regarding
"mystery" deaths of soldiers in this latest war and the emergence of a
mysterious pneumonia that has sickened at least 100 men and women.

U.S. position: no clean-up

While the U.K. has admitted that British Challenger tanks expended some1
. 9tons of DU ammunition during major combat operations in Iraq this
year, the U.S. has refused to disclose specific information about
whether and where it used DU during this yearcampaign. It also is
refusing to let a team from the United Nations Environmental Program
(UNEP) study the environmental impact of DU contamination in Iraq.

Despite this refusal, it is public knowledge that the U.S. made
extensive use of weapons that can fire DU shells. These include the A-
10Warthog tank-buster aircraft with30 -mm cannons that can fire up to4 ,
200DU rounds per minute; the AC- 130gunship; the "Apache" helicopter,
and Bradley fighting vehicles that fire anti-armor105 -mm to120 -mm tank
rounds containing DU.

The U.S. followed the same tactics in the wars in the Balkans. While
claiming full cooperation with UNEP's Balkans studies, the Pentagon
delayed releasing target locations for 16 months. It gave misleading map
information. Then bomb, missile and cluster-bomb targets were excluded.
NATO allowed10 other teams to visit or clean up sites before UNEP
inspections started.

Washington refuses to acknowledge DU use anywhere or that it poses any
danger. To acknowledge radiation poisoning would immediately raise
demands for a cleanup.

According to Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent: "The
U.S. says it has no plans to remove the debris left over from depleted
uranium weapons it is using in Iraq. It says no cleanup is needed,
because research shows DU has no long-term effects."

Evidence of DU use
But in the information age, the Pentagon can't suppress all the
evidence. The Dutch example shows this. Though the U.S. government
specifically denied any firing of DU weapons near the city of
Al-Samawah, where Dutch troops were to be stationed, a simple Internet
search by journalists undid this lie.

The Dutch government, to get a resolution through the parliament to
authorize sending troops to Iraq, depicted the Al-Samawah region as a
remote, barely inhabited desert where no noteworthy events had occurred.

In actual fact, Al-Samawah is strategically located on the road from
Basra to Baghdad, providing access to a bridge over the Euphrates River.
On its march to Baghdad, the U.S. Army encountered fierce resistance
from Iraqi forces there, according to American officers. This was well
covered by their embedded media.

It was more than a week before the town and the road were cleared of all
pockets of resistance. Some 112 civilians, most of them inhabitants of
Al-Samawah, were killed in battle.

DU ammunition was widely used during this operation. In a widely
distributed field message, Sergeant First Class Cooper reported that the
weapons systems used by the 3rd Infantry, 7th Cavalry, en route to
Al-Samawah and on to Najaf, were performing well, especially the 25-mm
DU and 7.62.

Of greater interest to Internet researchers was a letter a young soldier
sent home to his parents, which they posted in their church bulletin on
the Internet. In the letter E. Pennell, a crew member on a Bradley
Fighting Vehicle of the1 st Infantry Battalion,41 st Infantry Regiment,
described how his crew fired a25 -mm DU round as they encountered seven
Iraqi troops in the town of Al-Samawah.

Pennell's letter has raised concern among groups like the United
Federation of Military Personnel, a kind of labor union for Dutch
troops. It fears that its members might be at risk of contracting cancer
or other diseases because of exposure to DU ammunition.

Resistance: the only solution

Officers and politicians in imperialist countries have always treated
rank-and-file soldiers as cannon fodder. These young lives are totally
expendable. The occupied or colonized people are not counted at all.

As a global movement against imperialist wars grew over the past
century, military planners made great efforts to hide the true costs of
war, especially the human cost. The nearly 60,000 U.S. casualties in the
Vietnam War provoked a mighty mass anti-war movement. This time, long
before U.S. casualties reached 100 soldiers, the movement to "Bring the
Troops Home" had gained momentum.

This new movement must demand a true accounting of the enormous human
costs of the war. The impact on the health and future of not only U.S.
troops but the millions of people in Iraq must be part of the demand.

A growing international movement must demand full reparations for the
Iraqi people. A cleanup of the toxic, radioactive waste is in the
interests of all the people of the region. The cost of the war must be
calculated in terms of bankrupt social programs here in the U.S. and the
health of all the people who were in the region during the war and will
be in the years to come.

Posted for educational and research purposes only,
~ in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 ~

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