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Depleted Uranium:
The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War

LEUREN MORET / World Affairs – The Journal of International Issues 1jul04

[More by Leuren Moret]

 

Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The use of depleted uranium weaponry by the United States, defying all international treaties, will slowly annihilate all species on earth including the human species, and yet this country continues to do so with full knowledge of its destructive potential.

LEUREN MORET

Since 1991, the United States has staged four wars using depleted uranium weaponry, illegal under all international treaties, conventions and agreements, as well as under the US military law. The continued use of this illegal radioactive weaponry, which has already contaminated vast regions with low level radiation and will contaminate other parts of the world over time, is indeed a world affair and an international issue. The deeper purpose is revealed by comparing regions now contaminated with depleted uranium — from Egypt, the Middle East, Central Asia and the northern half of India — to the US geostrategic imperatives described in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book The Grand Chessboard

Fig. 1: Brzezinski’s map of the Eurasian Chessboard

SOUTH REGION:  “This huge region, torn by volatile hatreds and surrounded by competing powerful neighbors, is likely to be a major battlefield, both for wars among nation-states and, more likely, for protracted ethnic and religious violence.  Whether India acts as a restraint or whether it takes advantage of some opportunity to impose its will on Pakistan will greatly affect the regional scope of the likely conflicts.  The internal strains within Turkey and Iran are likely not only to get worse but to greatly reduce the stabilizing role these states are capable of playing within this volcanic region.  Such developments will in turn make it more difficult to assimilate the new Central Asian states into the international community, while also adversely affecting the American-dominated security of the Persian Gulf region.  In any case, both America and the international community may be faced here with a challenge that will dwarf the recent crisis in the former Yugoslavia.”  Brzezinski 

 

The fact is that the United States and its military partners have staged four nuclear wars, "slipping nukes under the wire" by using dirty bombs and dirty weapons in countries the US needs to control. Depleted uranium aerosols will permanently contaminate vast regions and slowly destroy the genetic future of populations living in those regions, where there are resources which the US must control, in order to establish and maintain American primacy.

Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon that keeps killing. The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth. And, as Uranium-238 decays into daughter radioactive products, in four steps before turning into lead, it continues to release more radiation at each step. There is no way to turn it off, and there is no way to clean it up. It meets the US Government’s own definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

After forming microscopic and submicroscopic insoluble Uranium oxide particles on the battlefield, they remain suspended in air and travel around the earth as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, contaminating the environment, indiscriminately killing, maiming and causing disease in all living things where rain, snow and moisture remove it from the atmosphere. Global radioactive contamination from atmospheric testing was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs, and still contaminates the atmosphere and lower orbital space today. The amount of low level radioactive pollution from depleted uranium released since 1991, is many times more (deposited internally in the body), than was released from atmospheric testing fallout.

A 2003 independent report for the European Parliament by the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), reports that based on Chernobyl studies, low level radiation risk is 100 to 1000 times greater than the International Committee for Radiation Protection models estimate which are based on the flawed Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Studies conducted by the US Government. Referring to the extreme killing effects of radiation on biological systems, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, one of the 46 international radiation expert authors of the ECRR report, describes it as:

"The concept of species annihilation means a relatively swift, deliberately induced end to history, culture, science, biological reproduction and memory. It is the ultimate human rejection of the gift of life, an act which requires a new word to describe it: omnicide."

 

1943 MANHATTAN PROJECT BLUEPRINT FOR DEPLETED URANIUM

In a declassified memo to General Leslie R. Groves, dated October 30, 1943, three of the top physicists in the Manhattan Project, Dr James B Conant, A H Compton, and H C Urey, made their recommendation, as members of the Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee, on the ‘Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon’:

"As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small … There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty … it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging."

As a Terrain Contaminant:

"To be used in this manner, the radioactive materials would be spread on the ground either from the air or from the ground if in enemy controlled territory. In order to deny terrain to either side except at the expense of exposing personnel to harmful radiations … Areas so contaminated by radioactive material would be dangerous until the slow natural decay of the material took place … for average terrain no decontaminating methods are known. No effective protective clothing for personnel seems possible of development. … Reservoirs or wells would be contaminated or food poisoned with an effect similar to that resulting from inhalation of dust or smoke."

Internal Exposure:

"… Particles smaller than 1µ [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatics or blood. … could get into the gastro-intestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. … may be absorbed from the lungs or G-I tract into the blood and so distributed throughout the body."

Both the fission products and depleted uranium waste from the Atomic Bomb Project were to be utilised under this plan. The pyrophoric nature of depleted uranium, which causes it to begin to burn at very low temperatures from friction in the gun barrel, made it an ideal radioactive gas weapon then and now. Also it was more available because the amount of depleted uranium produced was much greater than the amount of fission products produced in 1943.

Britain had thoughts of using poisoned gas on Iraq long before 1991:

"I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. The moral effect should be good... and it would spread a lively terror..." (Winston Churchill commenting on the British use of poison gas against the Iraqis after the First World War).

GUIDED WEAPONS SYSTEMS

Depleted uranium weapons were first given by the US to Israel for use under US supervision in the 1973 Sinai war against the Arabs. Since then the US has tested, manufactured, and sold depleted uranium weapons systems to 29 countries. An international taboo prevented their use until 1991, when the US broke the taboo and used them for the first time, on the battlefields of Iraq and Kuwait.

The US military admitted using depleted uranium projectiles in tanks and planes, but warheads in missiles and bombs are classified or referred to as a ‘dense’ or ‘mystery metal’. Dai Williams, a researcher at the 2003 World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference, reported finding 11 US patents for guided weapons systems with the term ‘depleted uranium’ or ‘dense metal’, which from the density can only be depleted uranium or tungsten, in order to fit the dimensions of the warhead.

 

Figure 2 - Hard target guided weapons in 2002: smart bombs & cruise missiles with "dense metal" warheads (updated September 2002)

Warhead weight

Hard target guided weapons in 2001: smart bombs & cruise missiles with "dense metal" warheads

Warhead weights include explosives (~20%) and casing. Dense metal ballast or liners (suspected to be DU) estimated to be 50-75% of warhead weight - necessary to double the density of previous versions. AUP = Advanced penetrators. S/CH = Shaped Charge. BR = BROACH Multiple Warhead System (S/CH+AUP). P = older 'heavy metal' penetrators. © Dai Williams 2002

source: Depleted Uranium weapons in 2001-2002: Occupational, public and environmental health issues - Mystery Metal Nightmare in Afghanistan? Collected studies and public domain sources compiled by Dai Williams, first edition 31 January 2002

 

Extensive carpet bombing, grid bombing, and the frequent use of missiles and depleted uranium bullets on buildings in densely populated areas has occurred in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. The discovery that bomb craters in Yugoslavia in 1999 were radioactive, and that an unexploded missile in 1999 contained a depleted uranium warhead, implies that the total amount of depleted uranium used since 1991 has been greatly underestimated. Of even greater concern, is that 100 per cent of the depleted uranium in bombs and missiles is aerosolized upon impact and immediately released into the atmosphere. This amount can be as much as 1.5 tons in the large bombs. In bullets and cannon shells, the amount aerosolized is 40-70 per cent, leaving pieces and unexploded shells in the environment, to provide new sources of radioactive dust and contamination of the groundwater from dissolved depleted uranium metal long after the battles are over, as reported in a 2003 report by the UN Environmental Program on Yugoslavia. Considering that the US has admitted using 34 tons of depleted uranium from bullets and cannon shells in Yugoslavia, and the fact that 35,000 NATO bombing missions occurred there in 1999, potentially the amount of depleted uranium contaminating Yugoslavia and transboundary drift into surrounding countries is staggering.

Because of mysterious illnesses and post-war birth defects reported among Gulf War veterans and civilians in southern Iraq, and radiation related illnesses in UN Peacekeepers serving in Yugoslavia, growing concerns about radiation effects and environmental damage has stirred up international outrage about the use of radioactive weapons by the US after 1991. At the 2003 meeting of parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, discussing the U.S. desire to maintain its nuclear weapons stockpile, the Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi AKIBA stated,

"It is incumbent upon the rest of the world ... to stand up now and tell all of our military leaders that we refuse to be threatened or protected by nuclear weapons. We refuse to live in a world of continually recycled fear and hatred".

ILLEGAL UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

Four reasons why using depleted uranium weapons violates the UN Convention on Human Rights:

LEGALITY TEST FOR WEAPONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

TEMPORAL TEST – Weapons must not continue to act after the battle is over.

ENVIRONMENTAL TEST – Weapons must not be unduly harmful to the environment.

TERRITORIAL TEST – Weapons must not act off of the battlefield.

HUMANENESS TEST – Weapons must not kill or wound inhumanly.

 

International Human Rights and humanitarian lawyer, Karen Parker, determined that depleted uranium weaponry fails the four tests for legal weapons under international law, and that it is also illegal under the definition of a ‘poison’ weapon. Through Karen Parker’s continued efforts, a sub-commission of the UN Human Rights Commission determined in 1996 that depleted uranium is a weapon of mass destruction that should not be used:

RESOLUTION 1996/16 ON STOPPING THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM - DU

The military use of DU violates current international humanitarian law, including the principle that there is no unlimited right to choose the means and methods of warfare (Art. 22 Hague Convention VI (HCIV); Art. 35 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva (GP1); the ban on causing unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury (Art. 23 §le HCIV; Art. 35 §2 GP1), indiscriminate warfare (Art. 51 §4c and 5b GP1) as well as the use of poison or poisoned weapons.

The deployment and use of DU violate the principles of international environmental and human rights protection. They contradict the right to life established by the Resolution 1996/16 of the UN Subcommittee on Human Rights.

 

FOUR NUCLEAR WARS

"Military Men Are Just Dumb, 
 Stupid, Animals To Be Used
 As Pawns In Foreign Policy"
        
Henry Kissinger

Although restricted to battlefields in Iraq and Kuwait, the 1991 Gulf War was one of the most toxic and environmentally devastating wars in world history. Oil well fires, the bombing of oil tankers and oil wells which released millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Arabia and desert, and the devastation from tanks and heavy equipment destroyed the desert ecosystem. The long term and far reaching effects, and dispersal of at least 340 tons of depleted uranium weapons, had a global environmental effect. Smoke from the oil fires was later found in deposits in South America, the Himalayas and Hawaii. Large annual dust storms originating in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia will quickly spread the radioactive contamination around the world, and weathering of old depleted uranium munitions on battlefields and other areas will provide new sources of radioactive contamination in future years. Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq, Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia and childhood diabetes.

 

RADIATION RESPECTS NO BORDERS, NO SOCIOECONOMIC CLASS, AND NO RELIGION

The expendability of the sanctity of life to achieve US political ends was described by US soldiers on the ground, and from the air, along the Highway of Death in Iraq in 1991:

"Iraqi soldiers [whether they] be young boys or old men. They were a sad sight, with absolutely no fight left in them. Their leaders had cut their Achilles’ tendons so they couldn’t run away and then left them. What weapons they had were in bad repair and little ammunition was on hand. They were hungry, cold, and scared. The hate I had for any Iraqi dissipated. These people had no business being on a battlefield."
(S Hersh, New Yorker, May 22, 2000)

American pilots bombing and strafing, with depleted uranium weapons, helpless retreating Iraqi soldiers who had already surrendered, exclaimed:

"We toasted him…. we hit the jackpot….a turkey shoot….shooting fish in a barrel….basically just sitting ducks… There’s just nothing like it. It’s the biggest Fourth of July show you’ve ever seen, and to see those tanks just ‘boom’, and more stuff just keeps spewing out of them… they just become white hot. It’s wonderful."
(L A Times and Washington Post, both February 27, 1991)

Nearly 700,000 American Gulf War Veterans returned to the US from a war that lasted just a few weeks. Today more than 240,000 of those soldiers are on permanent medical disability, and over 11,000 are dead. In a US Government study on post-Gulf War babies born to 251 veterans, 67 per cent of the babies were reported to have serious illnesses or serious birth defects. They were born without eyes, ears, had missing organs, fused fingers, thyroid or other malfunctions. Depleted uranium in the semen of the soldiers internally contaminated their wives. Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time. Women in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq are afraid now to have babies, and when they do give birth, instead of asking if it is a girl or a boy, they ask ‘is it normal?’.

KNOWN ILLNESSES INFLICTED BY INTERNALIZATION OF DEPLETED URANIUM PARTICLES

 

Table 1: Compiled by Leuren Moret from Interviews with Gulf War Vets and their families

GENERAL

abnormal births and birth defects
abnormal metabolism of semen: contains 
amine & ammonium alkaline 
acute autoimmune symptoms 
(lung-, liver-, kidney failure) 
acute myeloid leukemia 
(deadly within days or weeks)
acute immune depression 
acute respiratory failure 
asthma
auto-immune deficiencies
Balkan-syndrome 
blood in stools and urine
body function control loss
bone cancer 
brain damage
brain tumors 
burning semen 
burning sensations 
calcium loss in body
cardiovascular signs or symptoms
chemical sensitivities
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 
chronic kidney and liver disorders 
chronic myeloid leukemia 
chronic respiratory infections 
colon cancer 
confusion
diarrhea 
digestive problems 
dizziness
Epstein Barr Syndrome
fluid buildup
fibromyalgia

gastrointestinal signs/symptoms
general fatigue 
genetic alterations
glandular carcinoma 
Gulf war-syndrome 
headaches (severe) 
heart attack/disease 
high blood pressure 
high frequency of micturition 
Hodgkin lymphoma 
immune system deficiency 
infections 
insomnia 
involuntary movements 
joint/muscle/leg pain 
kidney failure/damage
leukemia 
liver carcinoma
loss of feeling in fingers 
Lou Gehrigs Disease -ALS
low blood oxygen saturation
( low HbO2) 
low lung volume
lung damage
lung cancer 
lymph cancer 
lymphoma
melanoma 
memory loss 
metallic taste
Microplasma fermentans/ 
incognitis infections
mood swings – violence 
homicide/
suicide

multiple cancers
multiple myeloma 
myeloma 
muscle pain
nerve damage 
neuro-muscular degenerative 
disease
non-Hodgkin lymphoma 
other malignancies 
pancreas carcinoma 
Parkinsons disease
petit & grand mal fits
rashes 
reactive airway disease
reduced IQ
respiratory ailments 
shortness of breath
sinus diseases 
skin cancer 
skin damage: sweat glands 
with trapped du-particles 
skin infections 
skin spotting 
smell, loss of
sleep disturbances
stiffening of fingers 
teeth crumbling
thyroid cancer 
thyroid disease
unable to walk
unusual fevers/night sweats
unusual hair loss 
vision problems
weight loss

CHILDREN

alimentary disorders 
asthma 
bladder & sphincter paralysis 
blindness 
complete range of known and 
unknown Congenital Defects 
deafness 
dyspraxia 
headache 
kidney disease 
leukemia 
lymphoma 
malformations of legs, arms, 
toes & fingers 
respiratory disorders 
stillbirth 
neural tube defects

FEMALE

abdominal pain 
breast cancer 
breast cancer at very young 
age (20) 
cervix cancer 
endometriosis
headaches 
incontinence 
joint pain 
lung cancer at age 20 and 
non-smoker 
menstrual problems 
miscarriages 
nausea 
ovarian cancer 
paralysis of digestive system 
thyroid problems 
uterine cancer

MALE

(acute) headache 
acute myeloid leukemia 
arthritis 
avoiding people 
breathing problems 
(stridor) 
chemical sensitivity 
chronic myeloid leukemia 
endometriosis in partners
gastrointestinal disorder 
hip and leg pain 
joint pain 
lung cancer at young age 
lymphoma 
skin cancer 
skin eruptions 
stomach pain 
suicide 
testicular cancer 
unable to walk 

VISIE: http://www.xs4all.nl/~stgvisie/VISIE/du-diagnosis.html 
DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM website: http://www.ushostnet.com/gulfwar/articles.htm  04/1504

 

Soldiers who served in Bradley fighting vehicles, where it was common to sit on ammunition boxes where depleted uranium ammunition was stored, are now reporting that many have rectal cancer.

For the first time, medical doctors in Yugoslavia and Iraq have reported multiple in situ unrelated cancers developing in patients, and even in families who are living in highly contaminated areas. Even stranger, they report that cancer was unknown in previous generations. Very rare and unusual cancers and birth defects have also been reported to be increasing above normal levels prior to 1991, not only in war torn countries, but in neighbouring countries from transboundary contamination.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, a senior radiation advisor who was on the staff of the World Health Organization, co-authored a report in November 2001, warning that the long-term health effects of depleted uranium would endanger Iraq’s civilian population, and that the dry climate would increase exposure from the tiny particles blowing around and be inhaled for years to come. The WHO refused to give him permission to publish the study, bowing to pressure from the IAEA. Dr. Baverstock released the damning report to the media in February 2004. Pekka Haavisto, Chairman of the UN Environment Program’s Post-Conflict Assessment Unit in Geneva, shares Baverstock’s anxiety about depleted uranium but UNEP experts have not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution. 

"DEPLETED URANIUM SCARE" - Claimed by President George W. Bush on the official White House website:

"During the Gulf War, coalition forces used armor-piercing ammunition made from depleted uranium, which is ideal for the purpose because of its great density. In recent years, the Iraqi regime has made substantial efforts to promote the false claim that the depleted uranium rounds fired by coalition forces have caused cancers and birth defects in Iraq. Iraq has distributed horrifying pictures of children with birth defects and linked them to depleted uranium. The campaign has two major propaganda assets:"

"Uranium is a name that has frightening associations in the mind of the average person, which makes the lie relatively easy to sell; and Iraq could take advantage of an established international network of antinuclear activists who had already launched their own campaign against depleted uranium."

"But scientists working for the World Health Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and the European Union could find no health effects linked to exposure to depleted uranium."

The US war in Afghanistan made it clear that this was not a war IN the third world, but a war AGAINST the third world. In Afghanistan where 800 to 1000 tons of depleted uranium was estimated to have been used in 2001, even uneducated Afghanis understand the impact these weapons have had on their children and on future generations:

"After the Americans destroyed our village and killed many of us, we also lost our houses and have nothing to eat. However, we would have endured these miseries and even accepted them, if the Americans had not sentenced us all to death. When I saw my deformed grandson, I realized that my hopes of the future have vanished for good, different from the hopelessness of the Russian barbarism, even though at that time I lost my older son Shafiqullah. This time, however, I know we are part of the invisible genocide brought on us by America, a silent death from which I know we will not escape."
(Jooma Khan of Laghman province, March 2003)

In 1990, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) wrote a report warning about the potential health and environmental catastrophe from the use of depleted uranium weapons. The health effects had been known for a long time. The report sent to the UK government warned "in their estimation, if 50 tonnes of residual DU dust remained ‘in the region’ there could be half a million extra cancers by the end of the century [2000]." Estimates of depleted uranium weapons used in 1991, now range from the Pentagon’s admitted 325 tons, to other scientific bodies who put the figure as high as 900 tons. That would make the number of estimated cancers as high as 9,000,000, depending on the amount used in the 1991 Gulf War. In the 2003 Gulf War, estimates of 2200 tons have been given — causing about 22,000,000 new cancer cases. Altogether the total number of cancer patients estimated using the UKAEA data would be 25,250,000. In July of 1998, the CIA estimated the population of Iraq to be approximately 24,683,313.

Ironically, the UN Resolution 661 calling for sanctions against Iraq, was signed on Hiroshima Day, August 6, 1990.

 

THE PARALLELS

War can really cause no economic boom, at least not directly, since an increase in wealth never does result from destruction of goods.
– Ludwig von Mises

The parallels between Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are startlingly similar. The weapons used, the unfair treaties offered by the US, and the bombing and destruction of the environment and entire infrastructure. In every city of Iraq and Yugoslavia, the television and radio stations were bombed.

Educational centres were targeted, and stores where educational materials were sold were destroyed on nearly the same day. Under UN sanctions, Iraq was not even allowed pencils for schoolchildren. Cultural antiquities and historical treasures were targeted and destroyed in all three countries, a kind of cultural and historical cleansing, a collective national psychic trauma.

The permanent radioactive contamination and environmental devastation of all three countries is unprecedented, resulting in huge increases in cancer and birth defects following the attacks. These will increase over time from unknown effects due to chronic exposure, increasing internal levels of radiation from depleted uranium dust, and permanent genetic effects passed on to future generations. Clearly, this has been a genocidal plan from the start.

 

Fig. 3: Map of regions within a 1000 mile radius of Baghdad and Afghanistan which have been contaminated with depleted uranium since 1991. Depleted uranium dust will be repeatedly recycled throughout this dry region, and also carried around the world. More than ten times the amount of radiation, released during atmospheric testing, has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991. In 2002 the US government admitted that every person living in the US between 1957 and 1963 was internally contaminated with radiation. Note that the contaminated region corresponds with the "South" region on the Eurasian chessboard in Fig. 1.

 

What has happened to Human Rights, to the Rights of the Child, to civil society, and to common humanity?

It is up to the citizens of the world to stop the depleted uranium wars, and future nuclear wars, causing irreversible devastation. There are just a few generations left before the collapse of our environment, and then it will be too late. We can be no healthier than the health of the environment — we breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat food from the same soil.

"Our collective gene pool of life, evolving for hundreds of millions of years has been seriously damaged in less than the past fifty. The time remaining to reverse this culture of ‘lemming death’ is on the wane. In the future, what will you tell our grandchildren about what you did in the prime of your life to turn around this death process?" (Rosalie Bertell, 1982)

 

THE DEEPER PURPOSE: G*O*D* [Gold, Oil, and Drugs]

"We must become the owners, or at any rate the controllers at the source, of at least a proportion of the oil which we require."
(British Royal Commission, agreeing with Winston Churchill's policy towards Iraq 1913).

"It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."
(US President George W. Bush, Beaverton, Oregon, Sep. 25, 2000).

"If they turn on the radars we're going to blow up their goddamn SAMs (surface-to-air missiles). They know we own their country. We own their airspace... We dictate the way they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now. It's a good thing, especially when there's a lot of oil out there we need."

(US Brig. General William Looney in 1999, referring to Iraq).

Millions of years ago, before India crashed into the Eurasian continent and uplifted the Himalayas, the ancient shallow Tethys sea stretched from the Atlantic across what is now the Mediterranean, Black, Caspian and Aral seas. Rich oil deposits are now located where ancient life accumulated and ‘cooked’ under just the right conditions to form large oil deposits in the ancient sediments. Long before 1991, Unocal in Afghanistan, Amoco in Yugoslavia, and various oil companies interested in Iraq oil deposits, had conducted extensive exploration and characterisation of oil deposits in the Middle East and Central Asian regions, including the northern half of India.

Britain has maintained an interest in Middle Eastern oil deposits for a century, and has been the staunchest military partner of the US since the first depleted uranium war in 1991 in Iraq. Germany, another military partner in Yugoslavia with forces now in Afghanistan, was one of the major economic beneficiaries of the breakup of Yugoslavia and the colonisation of the Balkans. US interest in Yugoslavia had much to do with building pipelines from Central Asia to the Mediterranean warm water ports in Yugoslavia. A silent and hidden partnership between the US and Japan provided large amounts of cash from Japan to finance the 1991 Iraq and 1995/1999 Yugoslavian wars, with additional help in Afghanistan by providing not only cash, but fuel for the war, from Aegis warships of the Japanese Self Defense Forces in the Indian Ocean. Nippon Steel, Mitsubishi, and Halliburton are now partners in a Central Asian oil pipeline project. In 2004, despite much citizen opposition in Japan, the Japanese government has sent Self Defense Forces to Iraq for ‘reconstruction’. This action taken by the Japanese government, of placing troops on the ground in a war zone, will lead to rescinding Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which forever prohibits military aggression by Japan.

 

THE IRON TRIANGLE (all under one roof): MILITARY, BIG BUSINESS, POLITICS

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

But what do oil, military partners, depleted uranium wars, and US foreign policy have to do with nuclear weapons? The answer came to me in 1991 when I became a whistleblower at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory near San Francisco, California. Richard Berta, the Western Regional Inspector for the Department of Energy, told me "The Pentagon exists for the oil companies… and the nuclear weapons labs exist for the Pentagon."

Depleted uranium was used beginning in 1991 for three reasons:

Today, the US is number one in 4th generation nuclear weapons research and development, followed by Japan and Germany tied for number two, and Russia and other countries follow.

 

Figure 4: Depleted uranium and 4th generation nuclear weapons

Map by Mika TSUTSUMI 12/12/03

 

The Carlyle Group, a private massive equity firm, the 12th largest defense business with an obscenely high profit margin, is a business "arrangement" between the Bush and Bin Laden families, wealthy Saudis, former British Prime Minister John Major, James Baker III, Afsaneh Masheyekhi, Frank Carlucci, Colin Powell, other former US Government administrators, and Madeleine Albright’s daughter. The Carlyle Group is the ‘gatekeeper’ to the Saudi investment community. It owns 70 percent of Lockheed Martin Marietta, the largest military contractor in the US, and because Carlyle is privately owned, has no scrutiny or accountability whatsoever. A journalist who calls himself ‘a skunk at the garden party’ described investigating the Carlyle Group, he said ‘it’s like shadow boxing with a ghost’. The Group hires as lobbyists the best known politicians from around the world, in order to influence the politics of war, and privately profit from their previous public policies. The conflict of interest is obvious: President George W. Bush is creating wars as his father, former President George Bush, is globally peddling weapons and "protection". Lockheed Martin Marietta now owns Sandia Laboratories, a private contractor that makes the trigger for nuclear weapons, with a Sandia laboratory facility across the street from Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories, where the nuclear bombs are made.

At the May 2003 University of California Regents meeting which I attended, Admiral Linton Brooks was present and newly in charge of the nuclear weapons programme under the Department of Energy. Admiral Brooks informed California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante and the UC Regents that the management contract for the nuclear weapons laboratories, held unchallenged by the University of California for over 60 years, will be put up for competitive bid in 2005. The favoured institution, with a faculty member on the ‘blue ribbon committee’ making the contract award, is the University of Texas. This privatisation and management contract transfer of the US nuclear weapons programme will put control of the US nuclear weapons programme close to the Carlyle Group. The incestuous relationship between the US government, private companies, and the Bush and Bin Laden families in a way answers many of the lingering questions in everyone’s minds about many of the ill fated decisions and policies that have been implemented.

 

But who is Osama bin Laden really?
Let me rephrase that.  What is Osama bin Laden?

He’s America’s family secret.  He is the American President’s dark doppelganger.  The savage twin of all that purports to be beautiful and civilised.  He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America’s foreign policy; its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of  "full spectrum dominance," its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts.  Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think.

Arundhati Roy
The Algebra of Infinite Justice

 

Leuren Moret has worked at two US nuclear weapons laboratories as a geoscientist. In 1991 she became a whistleblower at the Livermore nuclear weapons lab, and since then has worked as an independent citizen scientist and radiation specialist in communities around the world, and contributed to the UN subcommission investigating depleted uranium. Her research on the environmental and public health effects of low level radiation from atmospheric testing fallout, nuclear power plants, and depleted uranium weaponry, is available on the internet and at http://www.mindfully.org. In 2003, she testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan held in Japan, and presented at the World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference in Hamburg, Germany, and at the World Court of Women at the World Social Forum in Bombay, India in January 2004. She is a Contributing Editor to GLOBAL OUTLOOK, a City of Berkeley Environmental Commissioner, and the Past President of the Association for Women Geoscientists.

More on Mindfully.org by Leuren Moret

 

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