In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

The truth behind Depleted Uranium (DU) Contamination and its usage

Posted by seumasach on July 7, 2009

London,June 14 (Pal Telegraph) -There has been significant publicity about the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions, its ability to travel very long distances and the consequences to our health.

So where does DU come from, why is it used in munitions, what do such weapons look like, and what is their application in today’s warfare?

Although it was widely believed that DU munitions were used extensively during the Balkans War (1991-2001) it didn’t show its true face until the occurrence of an accident at a military camp in Kuwait. in 1991. Events prior to this accident had started intense US military activity in the region as a result of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on the 2nd of August 1990. Iraq forces had occupied Kuwait for seven months and in February the following year saw Operation Desert Storm liberate Kuwait.

At the request of the Kuwaiti Government the United States sent re enforcements to the region in order to stabilise Kuwait and secure its borders. It was obvious at the time that this build up was showing clear signs of some other hidden agenda in the build up to an attack on Iraq.

It was reported in the NY Times on the 19th of May 1991 that Dick Cheney had emphasized that the move was temporary and said: “It is our objective to get them out as quickly as possible. And the president’s made it clear we don’t want a permanent long – lasting ground presence in the gulf.” It is ironic that 18 years later US Forces are still deeply emended in Iraq with clear intentions of permanent bases within Iraq.

On the 11th of July 1991, an explosion ripped through a United States ammunition depot referred to as Camp Doha killing and injuring both US and British forces. There were many cases of shrapnel wounds that would lead to further misery of those injured. The NY Times reported that the explosion incinerated nearby vehicles and tore the roof off the British headquarters building. The walls of several warehouses used as barracks for American and British soldiers were riddled with holes.

US Forces run for their lives as weapons explode
This terrible accident revealed for the first times the horrors and usage of Depleted Uranium (DU). Panic took hold of those living in the camp as the many explosions peppered the entire area with fragments of DU munitions. Those troops unfortunate enough to be injured by shrapnel or who had inhaled the dust were about to launch themselves on a very uncertain future of pain and suffering, many of whom would die from the effects of Low Level Radiation Poisoning.

For the first time the public were able to witness the grave danger of Depleted Uranium that had now contaminated the immediate area as well as drifting on the wind to locations further afield. This accident also for the first time revealed the warheads that are so distinctive with DU munitions. Spread over the remains of these explosions were the Depleted Uranium Rods and Sabots that frequently remain at many locations around the world and have been found in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The DU rod (warhead) normally does not survive an impact unless the target area hit is soft. When such rods hit solid metal or concrete they turn into an aerosol of fine DU Dust particles that appears as a dark black-dark grey cloud. Once airborne it then takes its deadly course of contamination. The health problems associated with DU and the very fine particles will be covered in another article. You can clearly see in the picture below the telltale DU Rod and Sabot that survived this accident.

The evidence is revealed (DU Rods and Sabots survived the inferno)

On July 11, 1991, at about 10:20 a.m., says a Pentagon inquiry, a defective heater in an M992 ammunition carrier loaded with 155mm artillery shells caught fire and set off a sustained series of explosions and fires. The blaze and blasts sent chemicals and radiation dust from munitions and tanks into the air for miles, as the black hazardous smoke rose high into the sky.

As a result this accident the Government of Kuwait insisted that the United States Government remove the contamination and return it back to the US. A total of 6,700 tons of contaminated sand with particles of depleted uranium and lead from Kuwait was shipped in April to the Port of Longview in Washington. The barrels were then transferred to railway cars for final delivery to the American Ecology Corporation’s Idaho’s Grand View low-level radiation waste facility, 70 miles southeast of Boise in the Owyhee Desert.

During the Balkans War DU weapons were used by US and NATO forces and despite overwhelming evidence being found, those forces to this day denounce their usage.
What I have found in my research is that although this evidence was conclusive the authorities that carried out the enquiry, research and investigation covered up the true story behind this evil weaponry.

Many thousands of US, NATO troops, innocent civilians, recovery and clean up teams have had their lives changed forever by the contamination from these munitions. Many have since died from an array of radiation sicknesses and those that have survived continue to suffer indescribable pain and suffering. This has in many cases damaged their reproductive organs resulting in higher still births and badly disfigured babies. As was the case with Agent Orange (another US manufactured product) in Viet Nam the trend continues in their siblings passing this on down the line.

As we have seen in the picture above the deadly DU penetrators frequently survive impact and is subject to if the point of contact is hard or soft. If it is hard the DU Penetrators turns in DU dust but if the contact is soft i.e. soft structures or fields the penetrator remains in tact. In the ca\se of Camp Doha they did not make contact with anything and because of the fact it is a heavy metal, like tungsten it readily reveals itself.
During the Balkans investigation these telltale signs revealed an array of munitions. Both large and small penetrators where found in areas of soft target and this is because of the size of the many munitions used such as Missiles, Bombs, Shells and Bullets. Other evidence that also reveals a connection with DU is that frequently after some time and subject to the weather conditions the fragment or item will have traces of yellow on the fragment or casing. Uranium in its raw state is called “Yellow Cake” hence the traces of yellow. Likewise with copper we see after some time that the copper colours changes to a greenish blue. The final evidence is in taking readings from the items or impact area and a soil sample. Upon return to the laboratory on can commence exhaustive tests by using modern equipment whilst at the same time other medical tests can be carried out of the victims.

Penetrator collected by the UNEP team at Pljackovicka
A penetrator found lying in the grass. Note the yellow
Coating on the penetrator. Planeje/Planeja

It is the type of testing carried out by UN, WHO and other Government agencies that gives rise to grave concerns as to the authenticity of the resultant reports especially in regard to the medical aspects of the tests. As I have previously reports one method used is the ICRP Biokinetic Model which primarily is used in conjunction with “Heavy Dose of Radiation Contamination” It is totally Unsuitable for testing “Low Level Radiation” especially in cases of inhalation and ingestion by humans.
Major failings off all those involved in such investigations is evident as well as their use (in some cases) of totally unsuitable or obsolete apparatus. I can repeat this story time and time again, as in the case of Afghanistan and Lebanon but to no avail.
The US, NATO and IDF deny the use of DU in both countries and yet the same evidence still keeps coming to the surface.
So what now with Gaza? We have the UN War Crimes Investigation Team currently underway but what will they find? What will they choose not to find? What will be the final outcome? Could it again be a denial by the IDF that they did not use DU? Could it be a denial that the US did not export such weapons to Israel? And finally I believe that Israel itself is producing or modifying such weapons at its own nuclear facility. Is anyone brave enough to ask them to reveal their nuclear capability and exactly what is going on in such places as the Negev Desert Facility?

The UN like its predecessor, The League of Nations, is extremely weak and vulnerable to the powers that control it i.e. The Security Council. They can have vast sums of money withheld if they don’t tow the line! Their leader is also fragile and without substance so will it fail like its predecessor or can we as individuals insist that it does its job correctly?

In the case of Gaza we now see an opportunity to test the system and make sure that the final outcome proves that not only was DU used in the strip but also continues to be used. We can make sure that the War Crimes reach a successful conclusion and that Gaza and the Palestinian can at long last see true justice. It is then just a case of giving them full sovereignty rights at the UN and for Palestine to be free.

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