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[casi] Fw: CADU News 15



                             CADU NEWS
                        ISSUE 15 -Summer 2003

             Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, Bridge
            5 Mill, 22a Beswick St, Ancoats, Manchester
                                M47HS
                 Tel/Fax: +44  (0)161 273 8293
                       email: info@cadu.org.uk
                 website     http//: www.cadu.org.uk


                         The Contamination
                             Continues-
                         No Clean up in Iraq

Despite the international calls by the United Nations for
immediate clean-up in Iraq that were made at the time of the
recent attack, neither Britain nor the US has made any
attempts at decontamination. In the continuing chaos of Iraq
where lack of water, food, security and medical supplies is
the
daily reality, DU decontamination is slipping off the
political
and media agenda while countless Iraqis are undergoing
unnecessary exposure. According to the BBC, "The United
States has said it has no plans to remove the debris left
over
from the depleted uranium weapons it is using in Iraq. It
says
no clean-up is needed, because research shows DU has no
long-term effects."

A Missed Opportunity
As was made clear by the Royal Society and WHO (see CADU
News 14) there are no scientific studies of the effects of
DU on
people close to exploding munitions or exposed just
afterwards
and these studies should have taken place straightaway. If
the
US and the UK are so assured of the safety of DU why did
they not take the opportunity to gain accurate information?
The Royal Society said in its report on the health effects
of DU
weapons that death could result in days from kidney damage
at
high exposure levels. This means many Iraqis could have died
already without anyone knowing. The Government wants to be
able to keep making the claim that DU has not been linked to
effects on health by not looking for any links.

Meanwhile many reporters in Iraq have reported seeing people
unknowingly selling food next to burnt out tanks and
children
playing around DU-bombed buildings and vehicles. Many
children, with schooling finished by the war, have started
dismantling ordnance for scrap metal risking certain
exposure.
Very few warning  signs have been erected or areas cordoned
off, a basic necessity agreed on by all sides, and where
signs
have been made they have been hastily handwritten by
Coalition troops in English.

Questions in Parliament
Many CADU campaigners have been writing letters to their
MPs and the MoD demanding action over DU. This has
resulted in many questions being asked in both British
Houses
of Parliament. After the use of DU in the Balkans it took
NATO four years to reveal that it used DU there and some
sites where the munitions were used have still not been
disclosed. The British Government seems to have taken some
of these criticisms on board and has revealed that "A total
weight of around 1.92 tonnes of depleted uranium ammunition
has been fired in Iraq by United Kingdom forces since the
start
of recent hostilities." They have also said that the
location of
where the weapons were used will be available to UNEP.
On the 20th May Lord Bach was asked in the House of Lords,
"considering the growing concern about the toxicity of
depleted uranium, the fact that the long-term effects of
that
toxicity on civilian populations have so far not been
properly
examined and the fact that we have a duty to stop any
civilian
deaths as a result of any action that we have undertaken,
can
the Minister say how much money has been put aside for
decontamination of any depleted uranium used by British
forces in Iraq?" Lord Bach replied, "My Lords, I am not in a
position to give the noble Lord a sum. But we take our
responsibilities seriously. Our responsibilities are really
to civil
power at present. We will have to behave reasonably, and we
are determined to do so, to ensure that any possible
consequences are lessened."  Inadequate though this is, this
subtle admission by the British Government that it does have
a
responsibility to clean-up DU should be seized upon by
campaigners to pressurise the Government to act on
decontamination in Iraq.
Secrecy and Lies
The United States though has not been so forthcoming. They
have not revealed how much DU has been used by their forces
in Iraq nor whereabouts it was used. They have revealed only
that 75 tonnes were used by their A-10 planes but not by
other
weapons systems such as tanks. British disclosure of amounts
and whereabouts is useless without US cooperation since
their
forces used the vast majority of all DU munitions.
This information is vital to all countries with troops in
Iraq to
prevent exposure, but the British Government fails to grasp
this saying, "Ordnance expended by US forces is a matter for
the US authorities." In the Netherlands this has caused a
controversy when the Dutch Government told its parliament
that the US Government had said that the area where Dutch
troops had been sent, Al Muthanna, had had no significant
fighting or DU usage. This was quickly exposed as a lie as
the
province had in fact been a strategic location between Basra
and Baghdad. Having misled its own parliament, and perhaps
having let itself be misled by the US (the information was
publicly available) the Dutch Government has been accused of
"failing to allow an adequate judgement on the risks of
exposure to DU contamination" to be made.

                      Are People Sick Already?
There have already been many reports  thatsoldiers are
getting
sick in Iraq. The army has described the illness as being
"mysterious" and similar to "pneumonia"  which goes on to
attack many of the body's organs. However the American Gulf
War Veterans Association (AGWVA) have accused the
military of secrecy and say that more than 100 soldiers have
died or become ill. Interestingly at least some of these are
known to have definitely worked on 'clean up' operations
prior to having become ill. The AGWVA report that the father
of one of the  soldiers, 20 year old Josh Neusche, was told
by a
doctor  that "his son was suffering from a  "toxin."  No
mention of pneumonia was made,  nor was it ever reported in
the medical record."  The AGWVA is demanding answers
saying, "It  seems that whenever veterans become ill, the
term
"mystery illness" seems to be the first and   often the only
diagnosis that is ever made."

                         Uranium Yellowcake
                            Contamination
The US military failed to provide protection at Tuwaitha
nuclear facility near Baghdad allowing looters to steal
barrels
containing uranium yellowcake. The yellowcake was emptied
out and the barrels in many houses are being used to store
water and food. Frightening levels of radioactivity have now
been recorded in the area. Greenpeace has  started a barrel
swap scheme since the US military was only offering $3 a
returned barrel while a  new barrel costs $15. The UN
International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA) has demanded
urgent access to study the contamination saying "We have a
moral responsibility to establish the facts without delay
and
take urgent remedial action." Dr Chris Busby, a low level
radiation expert, points out that the US may have allowed
the
uranium looting to take place to cover up the effects of its
own
use of radioactive uranium weapons.

                   Bigger and Better - The Second
                    International Day of Action
                   Against Depleted Uranium Goes
                             with a Bang
The Second International Day of Action took place on 29th
May 2003 and had a fantastic response. Actions took place
all
over the world and dwarfed last year's event, which shows
the
growing concern over the use of depleted uranium. Below is a
selection of reports received by CADU to give an idea of the
international flavour of the day. To see more reports please
visit our website www.cadu.org.uk.

In Tuscon, Arizona, USA, the day was marked in 18' chalk
letters that give a warning to Tucson's A-10 pilots. As dawn
broke in Tucson Thursday morning, May 29, pilots
approaching Davis-Monthan AFB could see broad strokes of
white gypsum, marking letters in the brown Sonoran soil.
Near
the north end of the runway, the ecological graffiti reads:
A-10 + DU =
WAR CRIME
The A-10 combat aircraft is the major battlefield source of
toxic and radioactive ammunition made from DU.

At Dundrennan DU test fire range in Scotland, there was a
funeral march to the gates, with several children carrying a
coffin. There were several speakers, then there was a mass
die-
in. Next some 'weapons inspectors' went off and wandered
around the perimeter fences of the base. Around 70 people
attended and Scottish TV news covered the action.

In Perth, Western Australia, leaflets were handed out at a
vigil - to let people know that the day was happening.

In Nashville Tennessee, USA a group went to Congress man
Jim Cooper's office. They had a petition with 40 signatures
asking Mr. Cooper to support the proposed Depeted Uranium
Munitions Study Act of 2003 (H.R. 1483).

Orangutan Seen In Action Against DU in Berlin! It was seen
in pretty wild action in front of the subsidary of Lockheed
Martin in the Europa House. It has been reported that he was
throwing around flyers for the AntiNuclearPlenary Berlin as
part of the day.

A Japanese group, Anti-Radiation-Exposure Campaign of
Kansai, based in Osaka, had an educational meeting on DU,
and the recent nuclear and military policy of US. They went
to
the local embassy of the US in Osaka to appeal against DU
and
submit protest notes to them.

More than two dozen people were arrested for trespassing at
the Edina,  Minnesota, USA  headquarters of Alliant
Techsystems, US, as they protested the company's role in
producing munitions containing DU. More than 200 people
held a vigil outside the company to protest the munitions.

International Physicians Against Nuclear war in Greece held
a
Press conference focusing on the use of DU weapons.

Science for Peace in Toronto showed the video 'Invisible
War' in support of the International Action Against DU
weapons.

                   The Testing Scandal - Accurate
                  Testing for All Returning Troops?
Both the British and US governments have claimed that
lessons will be learned from the last Gulf War where little
accurate health data was collected. When veterans
subsequently became ill it was difficult for them to prove
their
claims without benchmark data. But the reality and the hope
for accurate testing for today's soldiers is now looking
unlikely.

The US Congress had passed a law stating that the military
had
to collect health data on troops both before and after
deployment. However it was only after the Pentagon found out
that campaigners were planning a full page ad showing how
the Pentagon was violating this law by not screening
soldier's
blood that they backed down and agreed that all troops would
be screened. But as campaigners TomPaine.com who were
placing the ad, have shown, this is no "victory for the
troops.
The Pentagon is still not admitting culpability: they
clearly
violated the law at the expense of soldiers' health. They
have
not promised to undertake the legally mandated medical exams
for any troops still being deployed. And, according to Dr.
John
Moxley - who testified before a congressional committee on
these matters - post-deployment exams will be of
questionable
value because the pre-deployment data is not comprehensive."

In Britain the scenario is also underhand. Readers of CADU
News will remember how the Government hastily said that all
troops would be tested for DU after the Royal Society made
public the dangers it posed. The test, a urine analysis,
that they
are offering is now known to be inaccurate. The Government
knows this too as they have spent three years funding an
accurate test, developed at a University of Leicester
laboratory. This test, however, will not be offered to
troops
returning from Iraq from this conflict but only for veterans
from the Gulf War 12 years ago. The test that returning
troops
from this conflict will be offered is known to give negative
results when an exposure has taken place. It has also shown
itself to be unable to pick up uranium isotopes way above
average levels.
 Nor is the new test expensive, which leaves an important
question as to why it is not being offered to troops now. As
at
least some DU is lost progressively over time through urine,
it
is important that all returning soldiers are offered
accurate tests
now if their true exposure levels are ever to be known.
This is a scandal that will again prevent us from ever being
able to correlate DU exposure with ill health and is
indicative of the British Government's record on this
issue: Don't Look, Don't Find.

                   Levels of Radioactivity in Iraq
Scott Peterson, a writer at The  Christian Science Monitor,
recently  went to Iraq with a Geiger counter and a
photographer and recorded the  levels of radioactivity that
he
found there at four sites. At one site a 3-foot-long DU dart
from a 120 mm tank shell was found    producing radiation at
more than 1,300 times background levels. Another site, by
some burnt out tanks, had piles of pure DU oxide dust, the
most easy to inhale and hence the most dangerous. "One pile
of jet-black dust yielded a digital readout of 9,839
radioactive
emissions in one minute, more than 300 times average
background levels registered by the Geiger counter. Another
pile of dust reached 11,585 emissions in a minute." The
Government always defends its use of DU by claiming it is
40% less radioactive than natural uranium. While this is
true,
natural uranium is spread out and normally in mineral form.
It
is the concentration of DU in weapons form that allows it to
reach these dangerously high levels of radioactivity.

                    Major Conference on DU to be
                   Held in Germany October 16-17,
                                2003
The World Uranium Weapons Conference will be held this
October at the University of Hamberg. It will feature
leading
experts from the scientific, campaigning and international
law
fields to give an overview of the leading edge thinking on
DU
weapons.

The amazingly long list of speakers include Dr Chris Buzby
(Low Level Raidation Campaign), Henk van de Keur (Laka
Foundation), Mary Guzman (UMRC), Dr. Souad Al-Azzawi,
(Iraq)Prof. Mohammed Miraki (Afghanistan)  and speakers
from anti-DU organisations all around the world.
For campaigners, activists or those who just want to get
better
informed this conference will be a wonderful opportunity to
learn more and should be a great opportunity to work out
future strategies for achieving a ban on DU weapons.

The cost of the conference is only 30 euros and some help
maybe available for  cheap accommodation for participants.
If
you want more information visit the website:
www.uraniumweaponsconference.de

                   Birth Deformities in Gulf War
                             Vet's Kids
Children of veterans of the first Gulf War are more likely
to
have three specific birth defects than those of soldiers who
never served in the Gulf, a government study has found.
Researchers found the infants born to male veterans of the
1991 war had higher rates of two types of heart valve
defects.
They also found a higher rate of a genital urinary defect in
boys
conceived after the war to Gulf War veteran mothers. In
addition, Gulf War veterans' children born after the war had
a
certain kidney defect that was not found in Gulf War
veterans'
children born before the war. The researchers said they did
not
have enough information to link the birth defects to
possible
exposures to poisonous gases, pesticides and other toxic
substances, which many Gulf War veterans suspect are
culprits
of their mysterious illnesses and their children's health
problems. They also did not have access to parents' family
histories and job exposures.

The study by the Department of Defense (Naval Health
Research Center and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention) examined birth defect data from 1989-93.  The
conditions found were hypospaedia, when boys born with the
condition have urethra openings located in the middle or the
back of the penis, tricuspid valve insufficiency, aortic
valve
spinosis  and renal aegenisis.

                     Damacio Lopez in Manchester
As part of his UK tour Damacio Lopez, Executive Director of
IDUST (International DU Study Team)  came to Manchester
at the end of July. He told us how he had come to
campaigning
from his home town in New Mexico. The contempt with which
he was treated when he raised doubts about the testing of DU
weapons close to the local school, spurred Damacio on to
throw himself wholeheartedly into campaigning. In his talk
three points stood out:
 1. If the military arguments are considered, tungsten is no
substitute  for DU, Damacio claimed.
 2. There are very serious problems for US serving soldiers.
If
they are
 in the army or associated jobs, they receive generous
health
insurance for themselves and their families. If they leave
or
criticise their employers, the health insurance is in
jeopardy.
 3. When our supporters approached the Ministry of Defence
about the clean-up of the DU contamination after the war,
the
replies said there was no legal obligation to carry this
out.
Ultimately this will prove an almost impossible task,
considering the amount of DU which has been used now in
Iraq. One report recently said that areas of Iraq were
'littered
with empty DU shells'.

                       Safe Alternative to DU?
Anti-tank shells tipped with DU may be phased out if an
alternative material proves its worth. The US Army is
expected
to award a contract this week for the manufacture of
prototype
ammunition incorporating a "liquid metal" alloy. The new
rounds could be in service within two years. Liquidmetal
Technologies, an R&D company based in Tampa, Florida, says
it can get comparable performance from penetrators made of
an exotic alloy of tungsten.The new contract is for a test
batch
of 30-millimetre ammunition of the type used by American A-
10 "tank buster" aircraft, which fired some 75 tonnes of DU
during the recent Iraq conflict. It must be remembered
however that large stockpiles of DU weapons exist and will
take years to run out.

                     A-Bomb Survivors Speak Out
                             Against DU
Survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki slammed U.S. use of depleted uranium bombs in Iraq
and issued an appeal urging U.S. President George Bush to
visit
Hiroshima and understand their feelings. A total of 400 A-
bomb victims, including those based in South Korea and
Brazil, took part in the event in Hiroshima City on July
5th.

A group of Japanese peace activists has also been to Iraq to
investigate possible radioactive hazards from DU weapons
used by the U.S. military during the Iraq war. Group member
Yuko Fujita, an assistant professor at Keio University said:
"I
doubt that Iraq is fabricating data because in fact there
are
many children suffering from leukemia in hospitals." Fujita
said. "As a result of the Iraq war, the situation will be
desperate in some five to 10 years."

                    Iraqi Scientists Visit Japan
The doctors Jawad Al Ali and Janan Ghalib Hassan spoke of
the rise in cancers and birth deformities that have occured
in
Iraq since the last Gulf war and their belief that this is
linked to
DU weapons. Both said they feared that the future would be
worse after the recent attack. Hassan, 47, said that in
2001,
611 babies were born with no limbs, no eyes or other birth
defects, compared with 37 such cases in 1990.

               Gulf War Illness an Official Myth
The Medical Research Council study found "little evidence"
that multiple vaccinations were the cause of Gulf veterans'
illnesses and declared: "There is no unique Gulf War
Syndrome." The report by the council - a government group
which promotes research into all areas of medical and
related
science - said that symptoms were similar despite different
exposures to vaccination, nerve agents, oil fire smoke and
other potential hazards. It added: "In short, there is no
evidence from UK or international research for a single
syndrome related specifically to service in the Gulf."

Veterans are furious at having their illnesses dismissed.
Charles
Plumridge of the GV&FA said veterans would not be giving
up the fight for pension rights and more treatment for the
illness. "We will continue to fight. It is not a question of
money. It is question of successive governments denying what
is a fact," he said.

                   Conference in New York on the
                        Health Effects of DU
On June 14th a conference was held at the New York
Academy of Medicine organised by the Nuclear Policy
Research Institute. Speakers  represented differing points
of
view  as the conference organisers tried to present a
variety of
scientific opinions for debate. All agreed however that
public
awareness raising and decontamination were priorites in
areas
where DU was used.

Dr. Helen Caldicott, President of the NPRI summed up by
saying that the hazards of using the radioactive material
included severe consequences for kidney function and
environmental pollution. Presentations and audio recordings
from the conference are available online at:
www.nuclearpolicy.org/DUSymposium.html

The NPRI have also produced a useful booklet summarising
the medical evidence of the dangers of DU, 'Depleted
Uranium: Scientific Basis for Assessing Risk.'  It is
availible in
pdf at::
www.nuclearpolicy.org/Documents/DU_report_final_7_6.pdf

                  Government to Pay to Study Clean
                                Up of
                            Nuclear Mess
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an
agreement with five parties responsible for contamination at
the Nuclear Metals Inc. Superfund site in Concord, Mass. The
U.S. Army, the US Department of Energy, Whittaker Corp.,
MONY Life Insurance Co. and Textron Inc. will share the cost
of conducting studies to determine cleanup options. The
federal parties will pay 98 percent of the expected costs,
and
the private parties will handle the remaining 2 percent and
also
will perform the studies. The expected cost of the studies
is
$8-10 million. The EPA added the site to its National
Priority
List in June 2001. Various operators have used the site as a
research and metal manufacturing facility, which was
licensed
to possess low-level radioactive material. The current
operator, Starmet Corp., formerly Nuclear Metals,
manufactured depleted uranium munitions for the U.S. If the
nuclear and munitions industries know that Governments will
pay the costs of the pollution they create they will never
have
an incentive to behave more responsibly.

                      Convoys of DU Weapons On
                            British Roads
Nuclear convoy watchers have spotted trucks loaded with DU
weapons unused in the recent Iraq attack being transported
between RAF Fairford to the weapons dump at Welford. RAF
Fairford is where A-10 bomber planes, which use DU
ammunition, took off from for the attack on Iraq. These
transports have serious safety considerations in case of
accidents and are an important issue for local councils to
take
up.
 Contact NFLA. Email at office@nuclearpolicy.info

                   New 'Supergun' to be tested at
                      Dundrennan on US's Behalf
Dundrennan, in southern Scotland, which has previously been
used as a DU test fire range, is now facing the prospect of
having a new 'supergun' tested there. Campaigners at the
site
are furious that US weapons are being tested there without
any
public consultation. Green MSP Chris Ballance argues, "There
are grave concerns that Scotland is an experimental test
site for
American weapons.
"I think it is outrageous that the whole deal has been done
and
signed without anybody being informed of it, much less
consulted about it beforehand."

                      New Organisation: World
                    Committee on Radiation Risk
                               (WCRR)
It has been clear for some time that the dangers of
low-level
radiation are underestimated by current risk models, leading
to
dangerous emission levels of radiation being set. The WCRR
has been set up to combat this. Its foundation statement
reads:
"Low levels of ionizing radiation and the full range of the
adverse effects have not been sufficiently addressed. The
independent World Committee on Radiation Risk (WCRR) has
been formed to focus on these issues. The WCRR is needed
because worldwide, national governments, international
organizations, scientists and public and environmental
health
officials do not have full access to information regarding
adverse effects from exposure to ionizing nuclear radiation.
To
date, the dominant sources of information (...) operate
under
political, economic, and academic constraints and their
members, directly or indirectly, are connected to the
nuclear
arms and nuclear power industry. These existing committees
have been concerned primarily with high doses and high dose-
rates related to industrial and military applications. Their
conclusions are based upon assumptions, many of which were
accepted prior to the advances in knowledge and
methodologies available today."
               Contact: 202-328-0002; cindyf@nirs.org.

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