TOXIC RADIOACTIVE URANIUM WEAPONS: DID YOU KNOW?

After NATO’s use of Depleted Uranium weapons in Kosovo in 1999, the Council of Europe’s parliamentarians called for a worldwide ban on the manufacture, testing, use and sale of weapons using depleted uranium [DU], asserting that NATO’s use of DU weapons would have “long term effects on health and quality of life in South-East Europe, affecting future generations.” The call went unheeded.
-- Larry Johnson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, USA, 4 August 2003, “War’s Unintended Effects: Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Lingers As Health Concern”

Pressure mounted on NATO this week for the use of depleted uranium munitions to be investigated. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called for a halt in the [NATO’s] use of uranium weapons and a full inquiry into possible effects on soldiers in the Balkans. “I have a healthy skepticism about the use of munitions that could lead to dangers for our own soldiers,” he said. He also said he did not believe it was right for the U.S. to continue to use such munitions.
--Alexander Nicoll, Ralph Atkins and Frances Williams, Business Day, 10 January 2001, “NATO pressed to open uranium arms probe: Germany calls for inquiry and for use of weapons to be halted”; and Marlise Simons, New York Times, 11 January 2001 (p. A-10), “Uranium-Tipped Arms Ban Rejected by NATO Majority“; and Ray Moseley, Chicago Tribune, 9 January 2001, “Europeans fear Balkans ammo still lethal“

Hundreds of tons of depleted uranium used by Britain and the United States in Iraq should be removed to protect the civilian population, the Royal Society said yesterday, contradicting Pentagon claims it was not necessary. The Society’s statement fuels the controversy over the use of depleted uranium (DU), which is an effective tank destroyer and bunker buster but is believed by many scientists to cause cancers and other severe illnesses.
-- Paul Brown, The Guardian, UK, 17 April 2003, “Scientists Urge Shell Clear-Up to Protect Civilians, Royal Society spells out dangers of depleted uranium”

The April issue of New Scientist magazine reported that Alexandra Miller, a radiobiolo-gist with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., has discov-ered the first direct evidence that radiation from DU can damage chromosomes. “The chromosomes break, and the fragments reform in a way that results in abnormal joins. Both the breaks and the joins are commonly found in tumor cells,” the article says. The implica-tion is that it could cause cancer.
-- Larry Johnson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, USA, 4 August 2003, “War’s Unintended Effects: Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Lingers As Health Concern”

The widespread use of depleted-uranium munitions by U.S. and British forces in Iraq could pose serious health and environmental risks to troops and residents, nuclear and medical experts warned yesterday. Experts at the Pentagon and the United Nations have estimated 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of depleted uranium were used by U.S.-led coalition forces during their attack on Iraq in March and April. This contrasts with [the official estimate of] about 340 tonnes used in the 1991 Gulf War. One DU round fired from an A-10 costs $21.50.
-- Associated Press, USA, 15 June 2003, “Uranium-based weapons warning: Experts cite kidney and environmental damage”; and Wall Street Journal, 30 Jan. 2001

In the first Gulf War, U.S. forces used [an officially estimated] 320 tons of DU, 80 percent of it fired by A-10 aircraft. Some estimates suggest 1,000 tons or more of DU was used in the current war. But the Pentagon disclos[ed] Wednesday [May 14, 2003], that about 75 tons of A-10 DU bullets were used [by the A-10s alone, not including tank munitions,etc.] ...
-- Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor, USA, 15 May 2003, “Less DU in this war?”

The Pentagon and the UN estimate that U.S. and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks in Iraq in March and April -- far more than the [officially] estimated 375 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War.
-- Larry Johnson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, USA, 4 August 2003, “War’s Unintended Effects: Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Lingers As Health Concern”

According to an August 2002 report by the UN subcommission [on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights], laws which are breached by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing “poison or poisoned weapons” and “arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering”. All of these laws are designed to spare civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.
-- Neil Mackay, Sunday Herald of Scotland, 30 March 2003, “U.S. forces' use of depleted uranium weapons is ‘illegal’”

[In August 2002], the U.N. Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights authorized a study of the dangers of DU, which the panel had already labeled a weapon of mass destruction.
-- Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 January 2003, “Iraq links cancers to uranium weapons: U.S. likely to use arms again in war”

A United Nations subcommission [on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights] has asked for a ban on DU weapons, claiming they're inhumane.
-- Ray Rivera and Craig Welch, The Seattle Times, USA, 9 January 2003, “Navy's ammo has environmentalists, others up in arms”

Depleted uranium ... is dirt cheap. Tons of it, over 500 million pounds the last time anyone counted, is lying around in various states of nuclear “decay” at government reposi-tories throughout the [USA]. In an attempt to reduce this over-abundance of nuclear waste, the Defense Department provides depleted uranium to munitions makers such as Alliant Techsystems [in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA] -- the largest maker of depleted uranium projectiles in the world -- at no cost and buys it back as completed weapons. [emphasis added]
-- Elliot Borin, Wired magazine, 10 March 2003, “U.S. Stocking Uranium-Rich Bombs?"


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