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From: "Miroslav Antic" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 01:01:25 -0000
Subject: [DU-WATCH] Depleted Uranium and Canada's Role
Audio Transcript [prepared by Janet M. Eaton] (recording at http://www.interlog.com/~nealm/du.html) of remarks by Dr. Rosalie Bertell speaking on Depleted Uranium [DU] Weapons and Canada's central role in the production of these weapons.
Dr. Bertell was one of nine prominent Canadians speaking at:
An Unjust and Illegal War:
Leading opponents of the War against Yugoslavia speak out
A public meeting held at Convocation Hall
at the University of Toronto, 6 May 1999
Dr. Rosalie Bertell is one of the world's leading authorities on health effects of low level radiation. For a decade she worked for the US National Cancer Institute and for 30 years has been in the forefront of research on the effects of low level radiation on human health. In 1984 she founded the International Institute of Concern for Public Health in Toronto.
For further background on Dr. Bertell see : "Dr. Rosalie Bertell - A Great Humanitarian & Scientist" at http://news.flora.org/flora.mai-not/11275 [as well as the full list of all her works on rat haus reality at http://www.ratical.org/rhrIndex/authorB.html#RB" --ratitor]
"I don't think I'm a radical." --Dr. Rosalie Bertell
Rosalie Bertell is deeply suspicious of the world's business, political, military and scientific leaders. As a nun and a scientist, she suspects we have already poisoned our environment beyond recall, and if we haven't, we should begin now to save the planet ourselves.
All the best,
Janet M. Eaton, PhD
I'd like to talk about a little known factor in this war and that is the kind of ammunition which is being used. It's called Depleted Uranium [DU] but don't let that fool you -- it doesn't mean it's harmless. Depleted Uranium is basically radioactive waste. It's the waste from uranium enrichment. When the uranium is taken out of the ground most of it is Uranium 238 but they like the fissioning of 235 which is less than 1 percent of the whole -- so when they do uranium enrichment they basically try to increase the proportion of the uranium 235 that fissions and the rest of the uranium, and a lot of it, is considered waste.
For a long time in 70's there was an effort to declare this waste "scrap metal" and use it in our refrigerators and stoves and bicycles and automobiles. Many of us were out there protesting this. We actually won and they stopped talking about that. But very quietly on the side they gave this uranium, free of charge, to weapons manufacturers.
What they discovered was it's more dense than lead which means it goes through a tank, or an armored car, or a bullet proof vest. It's what's called "auto pyrophoric" which means it can burst into flame and when it does it becomes an aerosol. Also -- you know how when you make pottery if you put it in a kiln and fire it you get a glass? -- well that's what happens to uranium when you ignite it in battle.
This was actually used for the first time by the Russians in Afghanistan but on a very small scale. The first time it was used on a very large scale was in Iraq in Gulf War. It was used extensively by the US and the UK. According to the Pentagon 400,000 American veterans were exposed to this depleted uranium aerosol in the Gulf War. About 200,000 of these men and women have sought medical care since the war and about 115,000 have been diagnosed as having Gulf War Syndrome. One would think in the United States of America, given this new weapon and this massive exposure and these sick veterans, that they would have tested the veterans for Depleted Uranium.
I was in Washington DC 10 days ago and I found that not one American veteran has been tested for Depleted Uranium in the 9 years since the Iraq war. We actually have tested some of the veterans here in Canada and we have found Depleted Uranium in their urine at quite a high level. Remember this is 9 years after their exposure which means that the amount that they now are excreting is nothing compared to what the original dose was.
There has been quite a dispute, which some of you may know, since the war is on in Kosovo as to whether or not Depleted Uranium ammunition was being used. In a sense this adds to the problem. But you should know that every Cruise missile contains Depleted Uranium ballast and when that missile impacts that ballast is again aerosolized into very small particles of uranium glass that can be breathed in and it will stay in the body 10 years or more. And it keeps irradiating the tissue around it wherever it is in the body!
Canada has been an international leader against land mines. But this Depleted Uranium is worse than land mines. It will stay around for thousands of years after the war is over. It is incorporated into the farm land; it can be picked up by the vegetables; the shrapnel can be handled by children. It stays around. It doesn't disappear. Because it's an aerosol it can travel as much as 50 or 60 kilometers from the point of release.
This is chemical and radiological warfare. It's outrageous. It's a very serious violation of human rights!
I think this talk about chemical warfare in Iraq and violation of human rights in Serbia is outrageous. Because if anyone is waging chemical and radiological warfare and violating human rights it's NATO.
In 1996 this issue was brought before the Human Rights Tribunal in Geneva. The Tribunal condemned it as warfare. They actually called Depleted Uranium a weapon of mass destruction. I think it might be better called a weapon of indiscriminate destruction but they didn't really have a term for it. I say indiscriminate because it will by choice affect women and children. Women have tissues that are more radio-sensitive, like breast and uterine tissue. Children are closer to the ground, they're growing, they'll incorporate more uranium into their bones as they grow. They also have a longer life span so the cancers that have a longer latency can be expressed. So it selects out women and children.
Anyway it was condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and they have appointed a rapporteur to prepare a brief for the United Nations. It's not completed yet. The World Health Organization has sent a team into Iraq to look at the aftermath of the war. But they just went in last fall and they expect to spend two years in the study.
So I think you can see that the forces for good here are slow compared to the extent at which this is being used and the rapidity with which it is being used not only in Iraq but Bosnia and Kosovo.
I call this to your attention and I ask you to make this known. It's largely Canadian uranium that's being used! Canada has a policy that its uranium cannot be used in nuclear bombs. That policy does not extend to these DU weapons. So you really have to complain loudly about this!
Canada also sends its uranium down to Paducah, Kentucky to be enriched and it does not ask for the return of the waste. If that waste stays in the United States for 30 days by U.S. law it becomes U.S. uranium.
So Canadian uranium is basically providing the material for these weapons. And I really would ask you to make this an issue in the front-centre and stop it now as quickly as you can!