Depleted uranium weapons used in Iraq, coastal waters
By CHARLES BOYLAN*
Guest: Dr. Doug Rokke has a PhD in Physics and Technology Education, is a trained forensic scientist. He was sent to the Persian Gulf on assignment during the first Gulf War to prepare soldiers to respond to nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.
CB: We're at a moment in time when the "weapons of mass destruction" have been used widely again against a sovereign state, a member of the United Nations, for a regime change there. Something which the whole world marched and demonstrated against. But it was not successful in stopping George W. Bush from pushing forward with it and now they are in the euphoria of celebrating their so-called liberation of Baghdad and beginning of occupation of a country. Clearly, weapons of mass destruction were used. Were there DU weapons as well in this particular war?
DR: Already it has been admitted that uranium weapons were used in Gulf War 2, just as they were used extensively in Gulf War 1, and probably even more extensively this time.
CB: Give us a synopisis of what Depleted Uranium is and the dangers that it contains.
DR: Just a little bit of my background: During the first Gulf War I was sent over as a Theatre Health Physicist with responsibilities to teach nuclear, chemical and biological warefare and to make sure our troops were prepared for the use, on either side, of those types of weapons.
Then with the completion of the ground war, I was assigned to clean up the depleted uranium which is actually just an uranium emissions mess that was caused by the deliberate use of uranium weapons by the United States and Great Britain. At that time, no other nation possessed them nor using them in combat.
Uranium emissions are very unique. Each individual tank round -- we probably fired over 10,000 of those tank rounds during Gulf War I -- is over 4,500 grams, over 10 pounds of solid uranium. It's a gigantic dart of uranium. We also fired uranium rounds from the A-10 Warthog Aircraft. These are the same rounds that were effectively used in Gulf War II and the same rounds that an A-10 pilot used to kill British troops a couple of weeks ago. Each individual tank round fired from the A-10 aircraft is over 3/4 of a pound -- over 300 grams of solid uranium. The A-10 fires them at a rate of 4,000 rounds a minute or up to a 1.5 tonnes a minute. In addition to that we know that the bunker buster bombs and the cruise missiles contain uranium also. So we're looking at extensive contamination by uranium emmissions again during Gulf War II.
CB: Tell us a little bit about the significance.
DR: What we had during Gulf War I, when I had the assigned task of cleaning up the uranium, the bulk of the US casualties were caused by friendly fire using uranium emissions. At that time I had 16 Abrams tanks and 15 Bradley fighting vehicles that were destroyed, taken out of action, using uranium incidents.
CB:: How would an American tank get taken out by uranium weapons?
DR: A guy in a uranium tank just decided to shoot up another uranium tank or U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle. They also shot up some British vehicles.
CB: That happened in this war as well.
DR: It absolutely happened again. We're seeing just plain disaster. What happens with each uranium round when it impacts -- when a uranium round leaves the barrel of the gun, or what we call the tube, it catches on fire immediately. So you have a solid uranium rod moving at an extremely high velocity and it is already burning. Now, it comes in contact with any structure, any vehicle, or anything and it doesn't have to be armour, it can be a building it can be wood, it can be concrete, whatever you want, and it penetrates right in. And as it penetrates it loses between 40, 50, up to 70% of its mass. For example, if we have one single round of 4000 or 5000 grams we're going to lose about 2,000 grams of that or a little over four pounds into what we call spawling. The spawling increases uranium contamination in and around the vehicle to such an extent that within 50 metres of each of the destroyed vehicle, buncker, building, structure, car, truck, you have to wear full respiratory and skin protection to avoid exposures and the consequent adverse health effect.
CB: That's astounding! And they're firing this stuff off in downtown Baghdad.
DR: Absolutely. If you watched the film - consider the tank fired at the Palestinian Hotel (in Baghdad) -- that was uranium munitions.
CB: So those people are all contaminated up there!
DR: Absolutely. Not only are the US troops contaminated because Gulf War I region, all around Basra and anywhere where they had tank battles, with uranium munitions. That's part of the consequences. Well over 1 ? to 2 million Iraqi's that are sick over there, when you combine all of the exposure. It was a toxic waste land.
Now, we just shot up all their tanks and munitions and anything we encountered -- again causing gross contamination.
CB: Right in Baghdad, a capital with 6 million people.
DR: Dy Williams -- out of England -- has gone back and done some investigations out of the US patent office and verified that the bunker busters and cruise missiles -- which we already knew -- did contain uranium components also.
We're looking in comparison after the Gulf War I when we fired practically 350 to 380 tonnes of solid uranium in the desert. We probably have doubled that this time, maybe even tripled it. And it is all in the name of liberation. I'm not sure how you destroy a country in order to liberate it.
CB: This is the infamous phrase from the Vietnam War, "We had to destroy the village, in order to save it.
DR: During the Vietnam War, I dropped bombs "for a living" out of B52s. We bombed everything and there was nothing left below when you got done. And they used carpet bombing again. This time -- and it is really interesting -- because on the Iraq Divisions they said they were virtually destroyed ... well that means killed.
CB: So what they did was mass bomb them and these weapons also would have had Depleted Uranium, is that a possibility?
DR: Not necessarily, because the conventional iron bombs and some of these other ones won't have the uranium. We know that the bunker busters and cruise missiles do, according to the US patent office records. Then we also have the submunitions, the land mines, the ADEM and the PM that contain uranium. We don't know if those were dropped or not. It is likely that they were used.
CB: What about these cluster bombs?
DR: There are two types -- the ADM and the PDM. Those are the nomenclatures for them, that they contain uranium. In either case what we have done in Gulf War II is taken radioactive waste that is generated during the uranium enrichment process -- and stored in Kentuky and Tenessee in Port Smith, Ohio -- and because we couldn't dispose of it effectively in our country we've taken it and disposed of it all over another nation.
CB: So, they have learned how to economize on their waste. This is recycling.
DR: It's the optimal recycling. While you're doing the recycling you're also doing the effective killing and destroying because uranium emissions are extremely effective in combat. But they leave an environmental contamination -- which I found when I was Director of the Depleted Uranium Project for the US Army, Department of Defense -- that can't be cleaned up.
We also know -- from the health effects on this stuff -- that we can't get medical help for the US friendly fire. During Gulf War I, I had -- by my count as investigating officer -- about a little over 120 individuals that survived DU impacts with absolutely known exposures. Plus, I had about 250 individuals working with and for me cleaning up the mess, moving the stuff. So in a briefing to the Presidential Oversight Board that goes directely to the then president, Bill Clinton, back in 1998, the US Department for Defense, the Office of Special Assistance to Gulf War Illnesses acknowledged that there were 424 individuals that absolutely needed medical assistance, but as of a briefing of 3 weeks ago by the Department of Defence they stated there are only 90 people being given medical care and that is itself a direct lie.
CB: When the DU went into the Palestine Hotel & this "spawling" happens and when 40 to 70 percent of it penetrates into the building and stays there -- how long will it affect people?
DR: 4 ? billion years, an eternity, which is essentially the current life of the earth.
CB: So there is no way to clean this up? What will you have to do then? Remove anything that a geiger counter detects brick by brick and bury it in a giant hole some place?
DR: A regular geiger counter won't detect this stuff. When I did this project for the arm that develops radiac meters -- geiger counters with specific probes and specific techniques in order to measure this stuff -- the problem you have is that uranium emissions are primarily the radioactive isotope Uranium 238. They're an alpha emitter. They have some beta and some gamma emissions. However, as an external hazard, they're really not all that significant. But once they are in the body, they absolutely destroy the cells and cause all sorts of adverse health effects. You can't measure this stuff. The only way to clean it up -- I this learned from doing all the research for the US army and cleaning the mess after Gulf War I -- is that if you have a struck tank you have to physically remove that tank entirely. Then you have to find all of the spent penetrators. You have to pick up all of the rubble from that destroyed tank. Then you have to go out to about 100 yards with a bulldozer and go down to about 6 inches and remove all that dirt. For each and every individual tank. The contamination levels that I measured within 50 meters absolutely required full respiratory and skin projection. And that is acknowledged in the training manuals in the US and Canada and now basically for all of NATO.
CB: I don't think people fully appreciate the extent of this contamination and the danger.
DR: The thing that's really nasty about this whole thing ... what happened after the ground war ... I issued medical directives for everybody, a medical bio-assay and consequent medical care; and then in June, 1991, the Theatre Medical Commander during Gulf War I issued the written directive himself. In January, 1993, the US General Accounting Office issued directives for medical care, education training and environmental cleanup. In June, 1993, the Deputy Secretary of Defence ordered the Secretary of the Army to do that. But here we've got August, 1993, General En... Oseki....////??? , who is currently the General of the US Army, the top dog, the guy who put everybody to war, issued an order himself for full medical care, education, training and environmental cleanup. It has never happened. So the guy that is in charge of this whole war knows perfectly well what the hazards and risks are associated with uranium emissions. He's already issued a previous order to do medical care in environmental clean up and it has not been complied with from Gulf War I and it won't be complied with in Gulf War II.
CB: On the one hand they write it up, they have manuals and instructions, and on the other hand they do nothing.
DR: Absolutely correct. In October 1993, the US was going to use uranium emissions in Somalia. We were able to get that stopped. However, we still did get a medical directive issued that required medical care within 24 hours for everybody that got exposed. If you were working in or around uranium contamination, if you were down-wind from the uranium smoke and contamination during a fire or impact or whatever, or if you were in a vehicle, structure or building, anything that was hit with uranium munitions. So that October 1993 directive has been ignored for the majority of US casualties -- and that's thousands upon thousands of people -- in addition to the friendly fire casualties, in addition to all of the Iraqi civilians, all of the Iraqis, the residents of Vieques Puerto Rico, the residence of Torishimo Island, Okinawa and the residents all over the US and the Balkans.
CB: Where did they first test these weapons.
DR: The first documentation I can find where uranium emissions were actually used where people were there to measure the stuff is during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973.
CB: That early?
DR: Individuals that looked into this stuff worked directly for the United Nations. They've given reports to the National Academy of Science in Washington DC. Nobody was prepared then and nobody is prepared now. It is an extremely effective weapon and they intend to use.
CB: The purpose of war is to kill and destroy.
DR: When stuff starts happening and I got the task assigned by the Pentagon and General Norman D. Schwartzkopf to clean up the mess following Gulf War I. I also got a memorandum called the famed 'Los Alomos Memorandum' and in this memo it told us very clearly we must lie about the health and environmental effects of this stuff in order to sustain its use. Otherwise, everybody will figure out it is so bad it will be banned from this earth, which is what it absolutely has to be.
CB: Do you know the work of Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine and radiology and a former science adviser to the US military? He has been talking about the testing that has been done on US, British, and Candian troops and civilians for DU and uranium poisoning over the past few years as well. He has a few things to say about Afghanistan. Are you familiar at all about what is happening in Afghanistan with this DU?
DR: Very familar with Dr. Durakovich., who is actually Colonol Durakovic; he is actually one of the Army's own physicians and experts on this stuff. What happened is that during Gulf War I, I recommended medical care for those who were exposed. Finally in 1993 or around that period, he started providing medical care for some of my guys that worked for me. He started all kinds of health effects on them. When he reported those health effects, as both the US Department of Verteran Affairs physician and an army doctor, a senior army Colonel, then all that kind of stuff just died. He became another one of us that became what is called a persona non grata.
CB: There has been pressure on you guys to shut your mouths?
DR: It never ceases. That has been one of the key marks of this thing, as the warnings about the uranium emissions, the White House and the Pentagon has said recently the environmental and the health effects from uranium emissions are propaganda from Iraq and other nations that don't want us to use them. Another absolute lie. The warnings I had that came as early as 1991 came as a first letter to me in a letter from the Pentagon in December 1990 from Colonel Charles Day which said you gotta watch out for this stuff because it is going to be a mess. Then in March 1991 when I was ordered to clean up all of this stuff following Gulf War I, I got not only the Los Alamos memorandum, but I got a letter through official army chains, and these all came through official army chains, from the Defense Nuclear, Colonel Greg Lionel, he said this stuff is not only a health risk, it is a serious health risk.
Everything I have been able to find, going back to 1943, absolutely verifies that uranium and radioactive material exposure will cause all kind of health effects, contaminate the environment and you can't clean it up and there is no way to protect yourself against it.
CB: They've known this since the Manhatten Project?
DR: Absolutely. I've talked to senior scientists that were involved in this and they have said there is no doubt about it whatsoever.
CB: What effect can we expect the DU to have on the civilian, military and everyone in the cities in Iraq, particularly compared to the effects from Gulf War I which was mainly in the desert?
DR: You gotta remember that when we're going to war, we're not just having the effect of the DU emissions, we're blowing up everything that is there. So conventional weapons and uraniums emissions are blowing up everything that is present. So it is like going into your town and blowing up your factories, your schools and your hospitals. All those contaminants, all those hazardous materials are going to be released. What we have is a toxic environment beyond comprehension.
This evening in an AP wire report they observed that US soldiers were already developing the rashes. That's what we saw in Gulf War I and it has not been cured to this day. What we need to understand is that the casualty rate for US warriors that participated in Gulf War I, those that are on permanent disability, is approximately thirty percent of the entire force.
CB: That's staggering. That was the war that reportedly nobody got hurt in.
DR: What you'll find in the world almanac is a casualty rate of 766 people - includes dead, wounded and injured. However, when you go to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, published September 2002, they have of all those who participated in Gulf War I from August 1990 to May 2002 the number on permanent disability -- recognized by the US Department of Veteran Affairs -- exceeds 221,000 sons and daughters of our nation.
CB: One of the features of all of this is that science and knowledge exposes all the absolute anachronisms of warfare because of these modern weapons. To say this truth then becomes an act of subversion of state policy and then you have to, by its very nature of its combination of things, you will have to suppress truth as state policy to carry on doing what is completely illogical and anathema to people who are carrying it out themselves, the soldiers themselves.
DR: Not only is it the soldiers that are doing this being exposed, and we are going to see all the adverse health effects, but any place where this adverse effect remains and it is not physically removed and the area decontaminated, we are going to have the continued exposures and all the same health effects repeating itself.
We have gotten to the point in war where the weapons that we use, the techniques that we use to destroy the infrastructure that is full of hazardous materials and everything else, creates a toxic wasteland that we can no longer deal with. The perfect example of this is the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001. Out of those police, fire and medical personnel that responded to that, it is approaching over 500 of them -- and I don't know what the percentage is -- are now sick and ill and are on disability.
CB: From the toxic soup that was created from destroying that building?
DR: Absolutely. That contains the uranium that was in the jets that went flying into the buildings. Uranium is used as a weight and balance in all commercial aircraft.
About two years ago we had a jet that crashed in a lake north of Stansfield. Airport, outside of London England. They drained the lake to remove the uranium in the jet. All planes have uranium. There is no difference between uranium and depleted uranium. The name "Depleted Uranium" is a little bit goofy.
"Depleted Uranium" is just Uranium 238. For every 100 pounds of solid uranium ore that I have that goes into the enrichment process, I can get .6 pounds out that is the fissionable component, that's (Uranium) 234 and 235. The remaining 99.4 pounds that is always there is uranium 238.
Also, from the research that Colonel Asaf Durakovic and his staff have done in Afghanistan, they've found that they have started using just straight urananium to manufacture these weapons. It's still uranium 238. The medical records that they have just completed on Afghan refugees those guys are excreting uranium 5,000 to 7,000 times the permissible level.
CB: Now, what about Yugoslavia?
DR: Yugoslavia is another place where we shot the place up with uranium munitions and caused contamination. It is almost two weeks ago where the United Nations Dr. Pecka Avisto??? has issued a directive that they should clean up the uranium contamination caused by the deliberate US use of uranium munitions in the Balkans. That was a nice win to have that, but I seriously doubt that anything will happen.
He is the person in charge of health for the UN.
It comes to haunt you guys a little bit more.
The US military and probably the Canadian have been shooting uranium munitions in your prime fishing waters. Representative James McDermott, a US Congressman, he found out a few months ago that the navy was shooting uranium munitions off of the coast so he sent a letter up asking why are you doing this. They replied, there's no health or environmental risks, we can do it.
We've also found out from the work individuals have done that they are doing the same thing off of Nova Scotia.
CB: We have a torpedo testing range here in Nanaimo, off Georgia Stait, it's a site the US likes to use to test torpedos, it's called Nanoose Bay. They have just put whole new anti-terrorism legislation in effect so you're not allowed to get near the area, to protest or whatever. Is it possible they are using uranium weaponry there as well?
DR: Probably. Abosoluteley shooting weapons with DU off the east and west coasts. When James McDermott sent the letters up and asked, what are you guys doing. Explain this stuff. Clean it all up. Cease and Desist. I was literally in his office when he got the fax pax from the US Navy that said there is no health or enviornmental effects. We don't have to worry about it.
At the same time Dr. McDermott is an MD, a medical doctor, and we're looking at the medical reports of those already sick and exposed to uranium and military reports classifying the stuff as dangerous and the toxicity can't be changed. At the same time, he gets this fax in from the US Navy Department saying there was no problem. Everyong was laughing at the lies.
CB: What I was trying to say earlier was that the state has to lie all the time and not only lie, but actually suppress the truth.Big networks - lot of things, BBC etc.
DR: What really gets me, and I've been in the US military for 37 odd years now and I'm still in not out, is that there are all these people running around saying support the trooops, support the troops. When you go to them and ask them to help you get medical care for previous conflicts for combat injuries, you don't get any help.
CB: This has got to be one of the biggest ironies. They take the boys and girls of the nations, use them is these wars, fill their heads with nonsense, and then when they are finished with them, take them back home and throw them on the streets.
DR: And that is happening to Canadian soldiers as we speak. The number of Canadian soldiers and military personnel that is sick and in need of medical treatment, let alone those who are dead already. We have Terry Reardon, who was a Canadian Military hero, absolutely contaminated, no doubt he died from uranium poisoning, according to the autopsy. Yet, the Canadian DND continues to insist there were no exposures and no health risks.
CB: ...and his thyroid was destroyed. He was in the military in the '70s and he said he gets a pension of $50 per month and that if he were classified as having a disability from the US military he would be receiving over $2,000 per month. So we're talking about a huge cost to the US budget if these people were properly and duly recognized.
DR: Number one, you have to provide medical care as was directed numerous times and was totally ignored without any consequences. Number two, you have to clean up the environment. You have to clean up all the contamination as is required, but is totally ignored. In addition, when we put all the training and education programs together, when I was Director of the DU project, recalled to active duty in1994-95 to do all this research and put together the training programs, I had a Canadian officer assigned to me. He helped me with this stuff. He sent it up to Canada and got it approved.
CB: The consequences of this?
DR: What I heard is they are giving individuals maybe 20 minutes of training out of the 40-hour program that I put together.
CB: It means they do not want them to have a consciousness of what this stuff really is.
DR: You know, it is real, real simple. We have to understand. Uranium emissions are radioactive waste. A single tank round is over 10-pounds of solid uranium 238. We have fired hundreds and hundreds of tonnes. If you were to take one tank-round, representing 10 pounds of solid uranium, throw that into your local parks there or your local schools, you are going to get arrested and go to jail forever. However, the United States and Great Britain and any other nation, Canada has had the emissions too, and now is sold on the open market, can shoot this stuff and throw it in anybody else's back yard and walk away. Refuse to clean up the environment, refuse to provide medical care, and ignore all of the long-term health effects on the citizens of the world.
CB: This is very enlightening, at the same time depressing and astounding to get your mind around. At this point in the program, we open the lines, we have a caller on line now.
CALLER: Dr. Doug Rokke was talking about the hot spots created by this depleted uranium and I gather it atomizes and goes into small bits and so forth... we've also seen the dust storms in Iraq. Do these dust storms blow this uranium around and does it contaminate larger areas?
DR: When uranium impact hits, it creates oxides and all kinds of spawn that range in size from marbles and then down to the uranium oxide dust. The uranium oxide dust, according to scientists at the Livermore Research Lab in the US that I've talked to that are experts on this and also looked at the research on this, goes down to less than point one micron. Now the work of Len Deets in New York where he was exploring and investigating the extent of contaminations. They had a uranium emissions plant in New York, the contaminants from that Uranium Emissions plant that were released went over 28 miles in sufficient quantities to cause health effects.
In the desert where you have all these uranium contaminations it depends on how much you use as to how far it is going to be spread and gets out the contaminants. From a single incident I measured contamination up to 400 meters, when I was doing the research. The sandstorms in and of themselves, because of the nature of the sand that is very small particles, cause all kinds of serious adverse health effects just from the sand itself. If we mix that with all the other contaminants, what we have is a toxic soup that's blown across there and you are sucking it in.
CB: This raises a big point. At one point an Iraqi Minister said that this is genocide against the Iraqi people. This statement was trivialized with cries that no, they were liberators and so on, but with what you are saying we are sowing seeds of death in a nation, in the wombs of a nation.
DR: Absolutely. The birth effects that have been reported and I've talked about, individual friendly fire casualties, and other individuals who were exposed to uranium emissions during Gulf War I that are American veterans are astounding. It's all there. When you look at all the birth defects out in Iraq, around Basra and everywhere the individuals who were exposed to this stuff, it gets downright scarey.
You can't take radioactive materials that are both radioactive and a heavy metal toxic waste, throw it in the environment and walk away. It is a crime against God, it is a crime against humanity and it has to be stopped and accountability must be made.
CALLER: It's incredible. I've known about depleted uranium for a long time and what you're seeing here is pretty much a nuclear war. Probably the biggest genocide, mass murder, in the history of mankind. This makes the holocaust of the Jews look like a picnic. It is unbelievable what the implications of this are. The amount of waste from the seventh fleet cruising around all over the world, they have literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tonnes of this stuff and they cannot get rid of it. This is the only way they can get rid of it. It's incredible, like your guest Doug has said, it's incredible that they are allowed to do this. He was talking about the East coast. You know why the Grand Banks doesn't have any fish? That's why. They've been doing that there for 20 years.
CB: You think there is a correlation between the fish crisis and this nuclear waste as well.
CALLER: They blamed it on the Japanese and the Russians and everybody else, but the fact is they've been using those kind of depleted ammo there, in fact that was one of the first areas they ever tested. There aren't many people there and those that are there are pretty much controlled by the military.
CB: I know that they dumped a lot of toxic gas there after WWI and WWII and now those containers are starting to leak. I think it is mustard gas and other poisonous gas.
CALLER: If there was ever a time. If the UN is ever to be worth anything in this world. If they stand in belief for anything in this world, ten years ago was the time to stop this, it's time. From an economic point of view, I believe the euro was placed to take over as the standard of trade in the oil market. I think this is their retaliation for that. They know this stuff blows around. They are waging the war over there. They know it is going to contaminate Europe and Asia. If I was those people, I'd be so pissed off, I'd do something about it.
CB: One of the important things to start with is information, so we'll go back to Doug. The problem is there is so much science fiction around. Do you actually think that it is possible that these armament, dumping armaments and shooting uranium around could have an effect on the cod fishery?
DR: Absolutely. Why wouldn't it? If you put radioactive waste into the water, if you put all these other hazardous wastes, if you spill all these other chemicals emissions into the area, the water is not going to be good. This does not take a super scientist to figure out. If you contaminate the air, water and soil, you will have the environmental contamination. If you have the environmental contamination, people will go in the area. People will be exposed. If people are exposed to this stuff, they will get sick. It's real simple.
What right does the US, or Great Britain, or Canada have to take solid radioactive waste, throw it in somebody else's backyard and walk away? It is wrong.
CB: It is not only wrong. I would think somewhere in the United Nations rules it must not only be wrong, it must be a crime.
DR: The United Nations in September 10, 2001 did pass a resolution banning DU and calling it a weapon of mass destruction. But all that kind of stuff, just all kind of disappeared after other events that happened.
CB: September 11, 2001 happened.
DR: When arrogance is king, you can do what you want, when you want, to who you want without any consequences.
CALLER: First of all I've heard that some authorities claim that there is no demonstrable harm from DU. I don't know who these are -- UN Agencies or US government "fronts" -- but on what basis do they claim that there is no harm? 2. If geiger counters don't detect this stuff, what does? 3. What kind of on-going effects would you expect after exposure to the Iraqi population after the war, aide workers and casualty figures, that is the official casualty figures now and what you would expect them to balloon to later?
DR: There have been a lot of individuals who claim there are no health effects of uranium munitions. The individuals who wrote their reports never provided medical care for myself or any of the individuals involved in that. They were not there. They were not involved in the clean-up. So, you find these individuals who are absolute fronts for DND or the British Ministry of Defence in order to sustain the use of these things. When I met with these individuals that have an overall responsibility in the United States, in Canada and in England and said: here's the actual evidence, here's what we found, they just ignore it. They just absolutely ignore it, because it is so simple.
For effects on people in Iraq, you have to look at the effects of all the contaminants around, in addition to the uranium. If you were in or around any building or structure that was hit by DU, if you are downwind of DU smoke, or if you work in any area that is contaminated, you are going to have a problem and you need medical care. You need a radio bio-assay within 24-hours. The problem is there is only one or two labs in Canada and two or three labs in the United States that can even measure this or do the testing.
Through the depleted uranium project in'94-'95, out at the Nevada test site, this is Mercury, Nevada. The Department of Energy finally did a radio bio-assay on me. The military and the VIA had refused to do it for years, despite all the requests and directives that I issued myself. They collected the urine sample in November, 1994. They got the test results back January, 1995. They totally confirmed, approved and everything in March, 1995 and they waited for 2 ? years before they told me I was excreting uranium at 5,000 times the permissible level.
What's happening is: If you don't look you don't find it. If you don't find it, there is no correlation between the exposures and the health effects. It is a deliberate act.
What are we going to see if you are exposed, or you are in these downwind hazard areas? According to the October 1993 medical directive, you've got a problem. If you are involved in any of these other areas where all these other contaminants are around from warfare, you are going to have a problem. We know from the United States General Accounting Office reports and the Army investigation reports that the gas masks issued to the troops are defective. Flat out. You can't protect yourself against this stuff.
Then we wonder why, like today in the report of the AP wire story that the kids are already coming down with rashes. We know they have respiratory problems. The serious respiratory problems were reported in the News Week's last week issue. It's there all over the gastro-intestinal, the diarrhea problems, the rashes, it's all there. It's showing up already.
CB: The other question the caller asked was, if you can't detect this with a geiger counter, how do you test for it?
DR: You have to have a special gieger counter. The uranium emissions are primarily an alpha emitter, so you have to a sytilation (?) probe and you have to have the proper techniques. The problem you have with uranium emission and uranium impact is you have all kinds of exploded and unexploded ordinance and other hazardous materials. In order to measure the contaminations, the alpha emissions from uranium 238 you literally have to hold your probe a finger's thickness, a finger's width, away from the surface. So what happened to three of my guys at camp Doha, in late summer 1991, they were refuelling some tanks. They forgot to put the grounding straps on them, there was a static charge and they blew up. Consequently everything started to blow up.
When my guys went back in to clean that stuff up, they got into one of the M1-tanks, they cleaned it up, they moved something wrong and the unexploded ordinance was in there, when they tried to locate the DU and remove it, and it went boom and those guys were turned to dust. I still have citations for work they did earlier in my briefcase. They died before they ever got the honours bestowed on them.
That's what is going to happen with uranium emissions. You have all these shot up tanks and military equipment there, because the destroyed how many Iraqi divisions. All these things are contaminated with uranium - we're talking hundreds and hundreds and maybe thousands of vehicles. At the completion of Gulf War I it took our specialized team 3 months to clean up 24 vehicles.
CALLER: I have a degree of skepticism about the fish, but anyway, at a half-life of 4.5 billion years and a dispersal rate of, I think you'd have to look to other causes. I think it really is terrible that they are using these things in Baghdad and elsewhere, firing shells into the Palestine Hotel, reporters like Rick McInnes Ray and others talk sarcastically about conspiracy theories. Well, maybe they might think about it now.
CB: If anyone thinks some higher up didn't give the order to go and give those guys a shot in the face to let them know what it means to be an embedded reporter, they have to be a fool. They've just told those guys, you want to report on the war, you get in our bed or you get a shot in the face.
DR: We don't know, this is true. Still, the concept that the military can take uranium emissions and shot them into your waters and walk away is ridiculous In the United States, Canada and all over, you have to have a licence to possess radio active materials, you have to have a secure licenced facility to accept the disposal of it. If that is the criteria to handle even half a pound, why can they throw hundreds and hundreds of pounds anywhere they want to?
CB: This has been an extremely informative and very, very distressing conversation. We'll put it on our web-site and try to get it transcribed as well. I'll give you the last minute just to give your summation, again, of what we all need to do to deal with this issue politically. How can we cope with this.
DR: It is very simple:
1. The citizens of the world must speak up to ban the use of uranium munitions in combat forever.
2. The citizens of the world must speak up in a unified voice demanding medical care for all individuals that are exposed not only to uranium emissions, but all the contaminants of war caused by the technology we use today.
3. Environmental remediation, or isolation of these entire areas, must be done, period.
The use of uranium emissions and the effects on environment of war today, because we can't deal with the medical consequences or clean up the environment, has made it to the point where we must seriously ask: "Is war obsolete?", and: "Do we have to reach for peace and exhaust all possible alternatives before we do this again?" Because no matter where you come, in all the religions, they say: "And a child shall lead them to peace". But if we contaminate the earth and we wound and kill the children, where will that child come from that will truly lead this world to peace in the future?
CB: Thank you, and to remind our listeners: You must get out and participate in demonstrations and rallies and activities this weekend. You have to be out on the street, because it is not just this war in Iraq today, it is all the wars that are being planned down the tube and we have to take a stand. Take signs saying "Ban Uranium Weapons", that's a good slogan to carry in that demonstration.
Thank you, Doug Rokke for the interview here on DISCUSSION.
Copyright DISCUSSION, 2003
*Charles Boylan has produced and hosted "Discussion" for the past five years
and also hosts the popular morning public affairs program "Wake Up with Co-op"
on CFRO 102.7 FM in Vancouver, North America's largest co-op radio station.
He is an occasional contributor to Shunpiking Magazine.
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Copyright New Media Services Inc. © 2004. The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of shunpiking magazine or New Media Publications.