Re: Guardian article on DU from January, 2001 plus a questio
Fri Dec 22, 2006 18:00

Cathy Garger

Re: Guardian article on DU from January, 2001 plus a question for you

Dear Webby,

Thank you for taking the time and effort to construct such a thoughtful reply - particularly during this busy season!

On your first point? I feel that that is actually even perhaps a better answer than the standard answer to execute those who ordered the use of uranium munitions knowingly as a WMD and international crime against humanity. It seems that the punishment should truly "fit the crime" and walking around in contaminated Iraq or Afghanistan and caring for the wounded and homeless civilians seems like it would only be fitting and proper.

Perhaps jobs could be given to these leaders, such as helping to nurse those with cancer and cleaning up the radioactive messes they have left? Can we imagine commanders doing radioactive remediation of the environment? Can we just envision watching films of those who ordered DU (who normally wear tailored suits) have to don radioactive gear and shovel up the poisoned sands in the desert? Can we fathom a top defense official or federal leader from the federal District of Crime having to mop the brows and holds the urinals for children with cancer who have lost control of bodily functions? It seems that our leaders should do these things and make amends directly with the people who have been harmed.

For those who used the weapons, however? Well, yes, that depends on: Did they actually *know* they were doing the wrong thing? Once 9/11 hit, I wanted to defend our country, too,believing that we were truly under attack by foreign enemies, those "terrorists" who hated our freedoms. I actually considered leaving my home to help combat the "enemy" - (at that time not realizing who "the enemy" *reallllllly* was) but I was unable to serve our country at the time. But, still, my intent to serve my country against enemies (foreign, I thought at the time) was there. So I fully understand the desire to serve one's country if one believes that there is a genuine threat that is going to place our nation and loved ones back home in danger or peril.

But for those who do know what they are doing is wrong? I found this:

The invasion and occupation of Iraq has included War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Acts of Torture in violation the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Conventions and the UN Charter. The War Crimes Tribunals held after World War II declared, "anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of crimes." Additionally, the U.S. Military Code of Justice states that military personnel have a right and a duty to disobey illegal orders.

So actually the law is clear - that soldiers have the right and duty to disobey illegal orders. Since the use of uranium weapons is considered to be an international crime against humanity,
any soldier who realizes that this is so could possibly be held responsible for its use, it would appear, under international law.

Now here's a thought I've been mulling over in my mind... Let's say that the soldiers believe everything that they are told about the need to fight the "evil-dark skinned enemy who hates America's freedoms" for example. If, however, s/he finds out about the destructive, killing use of uranium weapons upon innocents *and* finds out what the munitions - these bullets, missiles, bombs do to his/her health once fired? It seems it would be tantamount to both genocide and suicide to continue fighting around radioactivity that is so easily and readily inhaled.

It seems to me that military families - even those who "support the defense of their nation" would not want their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, to be breathing in this radioactive poison stuff, right? I was just reading this resistance site... and it made me think. How many soldiers find out what is going on once they get overseas, but feel powerless to do anything about it?

What good is participating in an anti-war march on a Saturday and then going home and doing nothing? Would it not be better if all those who are against these illegal wars and the illegal weapons we use in these wars work to help educate the military and their families and perspective recruits who have not yet signed up?

The use of DU and other uranium weapons is both a crime against innocent humanity -and also, it's tantamount to suicide for our troops. Each one of us who realizes this must do something - whatever we can do - which will differ in terms of time, resources, and abilities. But we each, knowing what we know now, have to do something. I would love to see more discussions about things that people are doing or have plans to do in the future.

After the New Year, my peace group will be showing Beyond Treason and afterwards we will be discussing actions being taken around the US, such as by the CPT people. Getting out awareness is key and we must make a whole lot of noise.

Here's something else to think about. Sometime in October we can depend on a study coming back (the one that was mandated by legislation pushed for by Rep. Jim McDermott) that will purport to study soldiers who have been exposed to DU. Many in the know, however, believe that the study, being funded by the VA, will not, of course, tell the real, whole truth about the radiation-induced illnesses our veterans are facing.

So here is food for thought - What will we do in October or so when the results of this veterans' DU study is released?

Looking forward to hearing others' thoughts.

Cathy Garger

evernightfusion wrote:

What would I do to them?


How about condemning those reponsible for making the decision to use
the weapons to spending the rest of their lives working to care for
the people of Iraq that have been so badly affected by it, living and
working in the dust that they have spread so liberally around, and
knowing that it is eating away at their health too.

For those in the war that USED the weapons, I think that being
exposed to the dust will take enough of a toll of their health. They
are getting punished enough for something that is not seen to BE a
crime - for being patriotic sons and daughters of our respective
countries and doing as they were ordered in the beleif that what they
were doing was right.

For those that KNEW that what they were doing was so destructive, and
failed even to question it, I don't know.


--- In , Cathy Garger
> This article, courtesy of Romi, is an oldie but a goodie - because
it describes how way back when, before the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars
had even begun... Italy and Germany tried to get the 19 countries in
NATO to stop all use of uranium munitions.
> The US and UK failed to heed this proposal and went on to use it
liberally in both the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan.
> One wonders what should be done to the UK and US military for
their use of DU as a crime against humanity since 1991? Any thoughts?
> I know of a humanitarian law firm that is trying to raise funds
to prosecute war crimes such as the use of DU that has harmed
innocent civilians in Afghanistan. Please check them out and maybe
the group can help brainstorm ways to help assist them by raising
funds for their group?
> Here is their website:
> Cathy
> From: Romi Elnagar
> Subject: Guardian article on DU (Jan. 10, 2001)
> Gulf veterans left in cold
> Balkans troops to be screened for uranium
> Special report: depleted uranium
> Richard Norton-Taylor and Andrew Osborn in Brussels
> Wednesday January 10, 2001
> The Guardian
> The government yesterday bowed to intense domestic and
international pressure by agreeing to screen Balkans veterans for
signs of contamination from depleted uranium used in US anti-tank
> But the announcement infuriated Gulf war veterans, whose
supporters labelled the refusal to offer the tests to troops in
previous conflicts a "vicious injustice". In an embarrassing u-
turn, foreshadowed in yesterday's Guardian, John Spellar, the armed
forces minister, told MPs that British troops who had served in
Kosovo and Bosnia, as well as civilians working there, would be
offered what he called "an appropriate voluntary screening
programme". He said Britain would step up its environmental
monitoring of the Balkans and pool data collected by the UN and
European allies, which have already introduced emergency screening
for their troops. Until yesterday, the MoD had repeatedly spurned the
need for any screening for DU.
> But Mr Spellar insisted there was no evidence linking DU shells
to ill health. He did not offer the new tests to troops in the Gulf
war even though far more of the controversial weapons were fired
there than in the Balkans. Mr Spellar delivered a robust
defence of DU shells, used in British tanks as well as US aircraft,
insisting they provided a "battle-winning military capability". He
said: "Because of its density and metallurgic properties, depleted
uranium isideally suited for use as a kinetic energy penetrator in
anti-armour munitions". At Nato headquarters in Brussels,
Britain and the US joined forces to kill off an Italian proposal,
backed by Germany, for the alliance's 19 member countries to stop
using depleted uranium ammunition until further notice. Mr
Spellar conceded that debris from DU shells might present a "hazard
from chemical toxicity" and a "low-level radiological hazard". Those
risks, he said, arose from dust created when the weapons
> hit targets, but as expended rounds or fragments the hazards of DU
were "negligible". He said Gulf veterans - the cause of whose
illnesses, he added, had not been discovered - had been offered
screening for a "whole body load of uranium". But these tests were
derided as inappropriate by Gulf war veterans and their
medicaladvisers. Malcolm Hooper, emeritus professor of
medicinal chemistry at Sunderland University, described the Ministry
of Defence move as a "cynical betrayal" and "vicious injustice".
The MoD, he said, was testing for high-level exposure to soluble
material, rather than long-term, low-level, exposure to radiation
inside the body. It was indulging in "Mickey Mouse science".
Terry Gooding of the Gulf War Veterans Association said the MoD had
never screened members for DU symptoms. Michael Burrows, senior
coordinator of the association, said: "Mr Spellar said there is an
insignificant danger posed by radiation from depleted uranium, but
> about the dust and the effect it has on the lymphatic
system?" He added: "I can't see that the voluntary screening
will have any benefit whatsoever. The screening that he is talking
about is for uranium, not depleted uranium." Ministers are
expected to await the publication of a report on DU being prepared by
the Royal Society, expected in the summer , before finalising details
of the screening programme. Bruce George, chairman of the
Commons defence committee, who had been threatening to mount his own
inquiry into the affair, warned it was essential that the research
was carried out as quickly as possible. "If it is true that there is
a link between depleted uranium and leukaemia cancer, then people are
going to die," he said. The government's announcement - pressed
on the MoD by Downing Street - follows a spate of leukaemia cases
among Balkan veterans in Italy, France, Portugal and Denmark, though
scientists differ over whether the number is
> exceptional within the total groups. Professor Eric Wright,
an expert on radiation-induced leukaemia at the University of Dundee,
said: "The diagnosis of leukaemia in many of these people is very
soon after the alleged exposure. Whilst you can never say never in
science, this does seems extraordinarily unlikely to be
causal." Norwegian peacekeepers yesterday refused to sign
contracts for service in Kosovo, demanding a clarification of the
risk from ammunition that included DU.

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