Is the Coalition Using DU Weapons in Libya?

Jean Hudon sends this collection of articles that question whether coalition troops are using depleted-uranium weapons in Libya. What would be the problem with using depleted uranium?  Well, here is a list of the problems from articles I wrote back in 2007.

  • Depleted-uranium (DU) weapons, when fired, create a DU aerosol of  ceramic nanoparticles.
  • Ingestion of DU or contact with it debilitates or kills.
  • Simple exposure to unfired DU weapons can contaminate.
  • There is no safe exposure limit to DU.
  • Protective gear does not protect.
  • DU infects spouses/mothers through semen transfer and family members through contact with contaminated objects.

    Depleted Uranium leads to birth defects like these

  • DU leads to horrible birth defects in babies.
  • Women and children are the most susceptible
  • DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years.
  • DU travels globally on the winds.
  • DU cannot be cleaned up.
  • There is no known treatment for DU contamination.

Depleted uranium is one of the most horrible toxic poisons on the planet, in the smallest of doses. If we are using it in Libya, we are guilty of condemning the people there, and their unborn babies, to a terrible future.

Having said that, I believe it’s also true to say that the galactics are cleaning up depleted urianium from around the globe, as SaLusa noted on May 12, 2010:  “We have limited contamination [for instance, from depleted-uranium weapons] to avoid as far as possible genetic damage to future generations.”

Here is Matthew Ward, predicting that the galactics will rid the planet of any remaining depleted uranium after they land: “Ridding Earth of toxicity will be given high priority as advancement in other ways will require a healthy environment, so all pollutants, including radiation from depleting uranium, will be dematerialized or neutralized quite rapidly with your space family’s technology.”  (Matthew’s Message, Oct. 22, 2008.)

If they were not doing so, the release of depleted uranium into the atmosphere would result in what Dr. Rosalie Bertell called “omnicide.”  If I did not believe that the galactics were cleaning depleted uranium up, I would not be writing on Ascension, but on the threat to the world from DU poisoning.

That having been said, I don’t share Dave Lindorff’s perspective on President Obama.


Toxic Intervention: Are NATO Forces Poisoning Libya with Depleted Uranium as They ‘Protect’ Civilians?

by Dave Lindorff — 03/23/2011

President Obama’s criminal launch of an undeclared and Congressionally unauthorized war against Libya may be compounded by the crime of spreading toxic uranium oxide in populated areas of that country.

This is latest concern of groups like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, which monitor the military use of so-called depleted-uranium (DU) anti-tank and bunker-penetrating shells.

Images of Libyan civilians and rebels celebrating around the burning hulks of the Libyan army’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, which had been hit by US, French and British aircraft ordnance in the early hours of the US-led assault on the forces of Col. Muammar Gaddafy, could well have been unknowingly inhaling the deadly dust of the uranium weapons favored by Western military forces for anti-tank warfare.

Specifically, the British-built Harrier jets used by British naval air forces and also by US Marine pilots, are often equipped with pod-mounted cannons that fire 20 mm shells–shells that often have uranium projectiles designed to penetrate heavy armor.

So far, the US has not introduced its A-10 Thunderbolts, known also as Warthogs, into the Libyan campaign, probably because these sub-sonic, straight-wing craft, while heavily armored, are vulnerable to shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles which Libyan forces are known to possess in large numbers. Once the air-control situation is improved by continued bombardment, however, these specialized ground-attack aircraft will probably be added to the attacking forces. The A-10 has a particularly large automatic cannon which fires an unusually large 30 mm shell. These shells are often fitted with solid uranium projectiles for attacking tanks, APCs or groups of fighters holed up in concrete bunkers.

A-10s were heavily used in the Balkan conflict, and officials of Kosovo were dismayed to learn that some 11 tons of uranium weapons were fired there, leaving dangerous uranium dust fallout in their wake.

The US military is fond of DU weapons because the material, made from uranium from which the fissionable U-235 has been removed, because it is extremely heavy, and, in alloy form, also extremely hard. Because of its mass, such projectiles can penetrate even the heaviest armor. Then, in the heat caused by the collision with an object, the uranium bursts into flame at extreme heat, causing an explosive (and toxic) inferno inside a tank or other vehicle, which usually also ignites any ammunition being carried. Soldiers inside a target vehicle are incinerated. The problem is that the resulting uranium oxide produced by such explosions, besides being highly toxic chemically, is also a microscopic alpha-emitter, which if inhaled or ingested by human beings is extremely carcinogenic and mutagenic.

Cities in Iraq where DU weapons were heavily used, such as Basra, Samara, Baghdad, Mosul and probably especially Fallujah, which was virtually leveled in a November 2004 Marine assault, are showing high rates of birth defects, many of which, along with unusually high rates of leukemia, medical experts say are emblematic of fetal radiation damage.

A University of Michigan peer-reviewed study of births in Fallujah published in December 2010 found that of 547 births in Fallujah General Hospital in May of 2010, six years after the all-out US assault on that city of 300,000, in which DU weapons were reportedly used widely, 15% of babies had birth defects–a rate more than five times higher than the global average of 2-3%.

It would be a tragic irony if rebels in Libya, after calling for assistance from the US and other NATO countries, succeeded in overthrowing the country’s long-time tyrant Gaddafy, only to have their country contaminated by uranium dust–the fate already suffered by the peoples of Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Statement on the potential use of depleted uranium in Libya – By the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons

(…) Although the French, British, US and Italian actions have approval from the UN Security Council, the mandate under resolution 1973 is for the protection of civilians. Furthermore, all belligerents are bound by the conventions of International Humanitarian Law, including the obligation to protect civilians from harm during conflict. The use of weapons such as depleted uranium, which cause long-lasting contamination and present a hazard to combatants and non-combatants alike, run contrary to these obligations, and should not be countenanced in any conflict, particularly by parties who claim their motivation is the protection of civilians. ICBUW repeats calls for warring parties to affirm publicly that they will not use DU weapons in this conflict, and urges all sides to abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect civilian life.ICBUW will continue to monitor the situation closely.

New animated short on DU: When the Dust Settles (video)

ICBUW and IKV Pax Christi have been working on a joint project to create an animated short film on the hazards of depleted uranium and the international campaign against its use and are happy to announce that the English language version has now been completed. The aim of the project was to render down a complex issue into six and a half minutes.

France claims depleted uranium fears unfounded as it seeks alternatives (31 January 2011)

A parliamentary response from the French Ministry of Defence has revealed that France has no plans to remove its depleted uranium rounds from service as part of a Europe-wide moratorium on their use, as requested by a 2008 European Parliament resolution. The MoD claims that the rounds are the most effective anti-tank weapon France has and that depleted uranium is harmless. However, the MoD also claims that it is undertaking research into alternatives, in order to replace depleted uranium as soon as it has a weapon that it believes is as effective. Like the UK, France claims that not only is depleted uranium harmless but also that it is the most effective material available for kinetic energy rounds. However, the UK now seems happy to field a less effective weapon if it can save some money, while France is so unconcerned about the potential risks from depleted uranium that it is spending money developing alternative materials. CLIP

UK Ministry of Defence: depleted uranium is not ‘safe’ (4 March 2011)

In a letter responding to concerns from SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament Bill Wilson, UK Defence Minister Dr Liam Fox has acknowledged that the MoD does not consider that depleted uranium weapons are ‘safe’. However he goes on to argue that no long term health or environmental problems attributable to depleted uranium use have been found.In acknowledging that depleted uranium is hazardous, he sought to reassure Bill Wilson that in the UK the use, storage and handling of the weapons – and other environmental considerations, are governed by a range of legislation. This includes the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 and the 2000 Ionising Radiation Regulations Act, both of which form part of the Health and Safety at Work Act and are enforced by the UK Health and Safety Executive. While his aim may have been to reassure, the reference to the tight legislative framework concerning the use and management of depleted uranium munitions in the UK stands in stark contrast to the uncontrolled release of the substance during conflict. This once again highlights the fact that the military use of depleted uranium munitions inevitably breaches the most basic of radiation protection norms. Furthermore, their use is clearly at odds with the UK government’s own strategy on radioactive discharges – which is based on both the Precautionary and Polluter Pays principles, where:”The Government considers that the unnecessary introduction of radioactivity into the environment is undesirable, even at levels where the doses to both human and non-human species are low and, on the basis of current knowledge, are unlikely to cause harm.” CLIP

Belgian MP asks government for clarity over US depleted uranium shipments (21 February 2011)

Belgian politician and depleted uranium ban advocate Dirk Van der Maelen has written to the Foreign Minister for clarification over possible breaches of Belgium’s uranium weapons ban after Wikileaks revealed that government officials had downplayed the importance of the legislation to US officials. Earlier this month a series of leaked US cables from its Brussels embassy published in Belgian newspapers revealed that Belgian officials had suggested to the US government that the country’s 2009 law banning depleted uranium weapons would not affect US military shipments of equipment through the country. Belgian campaigners reacted angrily to the news as the legislation clearly stipulates that the transit of depleted uranium and other inhumane weapons covered by the ban across Belgian territory is restricted. According to the cables, Belgian officials had privately suggested that Belgium’s treaty obligations to NATO took precedence over their domestic legislation. CLIP

German Bundeswehr manual challenges US and UK denials over depleted uranium in Afghanistan (21 July 2009)

A military manual that was handed over to German campaigners has reignited allegations that the US used DU ammunition in Afghanistan. If true, it runs counter to repeated assurances given by the US military that no DU was used. The manual, a war-fighting guide for Bundeswehrcontigents in Afghanistan is marked classified and for official NATO use only. It was written by the Bundeswehr’s Centre for Communication and published in late 2005. Campaigners have long suspected that the US military has not been entirely candid over the issue and papers have emerged showing that DU munitions were transported to Afghanistan. The use of A10 Warthog aircraft – one of the main users of DU ammunition – remains widespread to this day, although the number of armoured targets is now much diminished. Estimates by Janes Defence in 2003 suggested that the Taliban had at least 100 main battle tanks and 250 armoured fighting vehicles at the beginning of the conflict. It would be unusual if the US Army had chosen not to engage these targets with DU munitions from the air.The section on DU munitions begins with: During the operation “Enduring Freedom” in support of the Northern Alliance against the Taliban-Regime, US-aircraft used, amongst others, armour-piercing incendiary munitions with a DU-core. Because of its pyrophoric character, when this type of munition is used against hard targets (e.g. tanks, cars) the uranium burns. During the combustion, toxic dusts can be deposited, particularly at and around the targets, which can then be re-suspended easily. It then warns troops how to recognise contaminated targets and of the potential health threat from DU munitions, suggesting precautions that troops should take. It is notable that they suggest the use of full Nuclear Chemical and Biological warfare suits: DU-munitions can therefore induce toxic and radiological damage to exposed personnel through heavy metal poisoning and very low-level radiation. When it is suspected that these weapons have been used (burnt out cars or tanks, burnt out convoys, typical 30mm bullet holes) NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protection suits and NBC masks have to be worn in the vicinity of the munitions’ impact, until NBC security troops can rule out any threat. CLIP

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