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[casi] Hiroshima Appeal for banning DU weapons

Dear CASI list

Today is a grim anniversary for the people of Iraq - of the imposition of
sanctions. It is also the anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb.

Peace groups, scientists and lawyers in Japan have been deeply concerned for
the people of Iraq and Afghanistan in their exposure to known and suspected
uranium weapons.  Today they have used their own anniversary to reach out to
other communities violated by radiactive weapons used by US and possibly
colition forces in recent conflicts.

This is a short translation of the Hiroshima Appeal made today, and a
reflection on the need to eliminate radioactive weapons of all kinds.

Today, as well as remembering the effects of 13 years of sanctions there is
a vitally urgent need to recognise a new wave of radiation contamination in
Iraq. That DU ammunitions have been used - probably 100-200 tons - is not in
question. Whether uranium warheads have been used in far larger bombs and
missiles is unknown until independent radiation monitoring can start - as
recommended by the IAEA, UNEP and EU Parliament.  That some of these secret
warheads have been designed, patented and tested with uranium or depleted
uranium options is certain from US Patent records and the MoD website.

If a significant number of the 19,000 guided weapons used in Iraq this year
had large uranium warheads there may be up to 2000+ tons of new uranium
contamination in Iraqi cities and villages.  12,000 similar weapons were
used in Afghanistan, suspected of causing 1000+ tons of uranium
contamination. Severe levels of (undepleted) uranium  contamination have
been found among sick civilians living near recent guided bomb and missile
targets in Afghanistan (

The mystery illness reported last week among US troops in Iraq - like
pneumonia but also with renal failure - has disturbing similarities to the
mystery illnesses that Spanish troops died of soon after the Balkans war and
reported in Afghan comunities soon after the US bombing there. The symptoms
are those expected of acute exposure to uranium oxide dust but in far higher
doses than from DU anti-tank ammunition.  Until WHO teams can do serious
health monitoring in Iraq they may be many similar illnesses and deaths
among civilians written off as respiratory ailments.

It is vital that the warnings in the Hiroshima Appeal are repeated around
the world in support of communities in Iraq and Afghanistan.  To date the UK
media has been curiously silent on these questions.
Dai Williams, Surrey

Hiroshima Appeal
for Banning DU Weapons

August 6, 2003

Hiroshima appeals:

 No more Hibakusha! [victims of radiation warfare]
 Don't create any more Hibakusha.

 DU weapons are highly toxic radioactive weapons. Hence, they are weapons of
 mass destruction.

(1) Cries of warning have long been raised around the world. Resolutions
banning DU weapons have already been adopted by the UN Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and by the
European Assembly.  Nonetheless, the United States and Great Britain used DU
weapons again in the recent Iraq War.  This act is clearly a "crime against
humanity”as specified by the International Court of Justice.  Because DU
weapons are inhumane weapons, an immediate ban must be placed upon their
production, use, or trade.

(2) Not only soldiers but also many civilians are suffering from the damage
done by depleted uranium.  Children, who are most susceptible to its
radiation effects, are the most common victims. The use of DU weapons is an
irreparable, sacrilegious practice that permanently harms the Earth's life
environment.  We must lose no time in extending relief and aid to the
people, especially the children, suffering from DU damage.

(3) The United States and Great Britain should disclose all information
detailing when, where and what DU weapons have been used.  The international
community must bring to light the facts of the damage done, and draw up and
carry out the measures required to ameliorate or rectify the situation as
soon as possible.

NO DU Hiroshima Project

                                                               * * *

Bring back Peace! Bring back Human Beings!

In the US, a group of bereaved family members that formed to oppose military
retaliation for the September 11 terrorist attacks took the name September
11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. This name comes from a speech by Martin
Luther King Jr., who said, “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful
tomorrows.” I agree completely. Our urgent task today is to find “the right
chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
   HARA Tamiki (1905-51) was an important literary witness to the atomic
bomb. In 1947 he wrote the following in a poem entitled Summer Flowers.

H. Minear, Hiroshima: Three Witnesses, 1990, p.58)

In 1951, the poet witness TOGE Sankichi (1917-1953) wrote the following in
the prelude to his Poems of the Atomic Bomb (1951).

“Bring back the fathers!
Bring back the mothers!
Bring back the old people! Bring back the children!
Bring me back!
Bring back the human beings I had contact with!
For as long as there are human beings, a world of human beings,
bring back peace, unbroken peace.” (op. cit., p.305)

During the Korean War, President Truman announced that he was considering
the use of nuclear weapons. Toge, still recuperating from his A-bomb
injuries, was stimulated by this announcement to pour what energy he had
into writing his Poems of the Atomic Bomb as a warning. Hara’s suicide was a
direct result of mounting apprehension that nuclear weapons would be used
again. He wrote,  "Will human kind merely live pitiful lives in the valleys
between wars? Can one not sense its meaning unless one's own skin is seared
by the murderous rays of an atomic bomb? "(op. cit., p.30)

   Today, more than fifty years later, heartrending voices around the world
shout, “Return the human beings! Bring back peace!” The world is full of
sorrow, but we continue to use our “poor chisels.” North Korea announces
that it is developing nuclear weapons. The US government is developing
so-called mini-nukes. Meanwhile, we all suffer from radioactive
contamination, the epitome of man-made tragedy. Nuclear weapons are the
worst possible chisels for carving out peace. These chisels must never be
used again.

   Hannah Arendt, a Jewish philosopher who fled to the US from Nazi Germany
said, “The first step toward loving the world is to pay continual attention
to reality.”  Photographer Takashi Morizumi has shown us the reality of DU
weapons in Iraq.  His photos are an extremely shocking, raw testimony to the
damage that has been done. But we must look at this tragedy without
flinching. Above all, we must help Americans learn the truth.

   If we are to bring back peace and humanity to the world, we must begin by
carefully observing what is happening. Then, we must search together for the
right “chisels with which to carve out peaceful tomorrows.”

Director, NO DU Hiroshima Project

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