November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.
TESTIMONY AT THE JUNE 28, 2003, PUBLIC HEARING FOR
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR WAR CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN
CHIBA, CHIBA PREFECTURE, JAPAN
LEUREN MORET email@example.com
PRESIDENT, SCIENTISTS FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
CITY OF BERKELEY ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER
PAST PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN GEOSCIENTISTS
We are gathered here today through the efforts of Professor Akira MAEDA and Haruhisa TAKASE. I would like to thank both of them, and the many citizens and supporters in Japan, who have made this important event possible. We, the people of the global community, must hold our governments and elected officials responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, for these two issues are impossible to separate. Because health connects all species, we are all effected by what happens, even in distant countries.
Today I will describe the intimate connection between U.S. nuclear policy and depleted uranium, and the devastating effects they have had on the health of all species and the devastation of the environment which supports all life. Tragically, Afghanistan is just one of the countries devastated for all future generations by the use of depleted uranium weaponry in U.S. military aggressive actions dictated by U.S. foreign policy.
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
I am an independent scientist with a background in the geosciences. My hope and inspiration comes from my work with scientists and radiation specialists around the world to educate and inform the citizens of the world about the health and environmental effects from radiation exposure. In my professional career, I have worked at two nuclear weapons labs, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab where the transuranium elements were discovered to build the first atomic weapons, and the Lawrence Livermore Lab where nuclear weapons development continues.
After working on the cleanup and disposal of high level nuclear waste, I became a whistleblower in 1991 at the the Lawrence Livermore Lab. After observing an entrenched pattern of science fraud, theft, graft, corruption, lack of concerns for safety and security, discrimination against women and minorities, and severe retaliation practices, I drove out the lab gate one day, dropped off my badge and my beeper and never went back.
I realized after only two years at the lab, that the culture of nuclear weapons was a culture of insanity. What species on earth kills its young generation after generation? What species on earth sacrifices its young for the false notion of “security”?
At the end of the millenium which gave birth to nuclear weapons, I visited the Peace Museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the 2000 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs as the guest of Gensuikin. That visit to Japan changed my life when I finally understood the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. In 1991, in the first Gulf War, the United States broke a 60 year taboo and introduced depleted uranium to the battleground, a radiological weapon which is truly a weapon of indiscriminate killing and mass destruction.
Now that we know both, we must ask a question - which is worse, the horrific effects of flash annihilation from an atomic bomb or slow mutilation forever from depleted uranium weapons?
Today I have a clear conscience, the satisfaction of acting as a citizen scientist instead of a prositute for the military or corporations, and have hope for the future. I know that the people of the world are the only ones who can stop the insanity of nuclear proliferation and radioactive contamination of the environment which supports all life. With good information the citizens of the world can make good decisions. My purpose now with other independent radiation specialists who have joined together as the World Committee on Radiation Risk is to provide good information about the health and environmental effects of radiation to the global community.
DECLASSIFIED MEMO TO GENERAL L.R. GROVES, OCTOBER 30, 1943:
A classified memo1 dated October 30, 1943, was sent to General L.R. Groves from Dr. A.H. Compton, Dr. James B. Conant, and Dr. H.C. Urey, three of the most competent physicists working under General Groves on the Manhattan Project. This memo, written nearly two years before the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was a recommendation that radiological materials be developed for use as a military weapon on the battlefield. It is a blueprint for depleted uranium weaponry.
This memo which is now declassified, was given to me by Major Doug Rokke, a physicist and former head of the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Weapons Project. He is a Gulf War I veteran and is now suffering from depleted uranium exposure with severe health effects refered to as Gulf War Syndrome. My work is inspired by the hibakusha around the world who, like Doug, have told me their stories.
It is clear from this memo that the U.S. Government and military have known before 1943 that radioactive materials, dispersed as very fine particles on the ground or from the air, would be an effective battlefield weapon. This plan was recommended so that the Germans would not develop it first from radioactive materials created by the waste of nuclear weapons development. Depleted uranium is nuclear trash from the nuclear weapons project.
In the memo, the scientists recommended dispersing the radioactive materials in very fine particles, 0.1 microns in diameter, from the ground or the air. It would disperse like a radioactive gas, invisible and undetectable to the enemy. They described how increasing the amounts of radiation dispersed would accelerate the lethality and decrease the time until death and increase the numbers of dead.
It was known at that time that it would contaminate the air, water, food, and the soil. Entry into contaminated environments was impossible without certain exposure both to the enemy and to friendly forces. The memo detailed the fact that no protective methods were possible to develop, and that very fine particles would pass through all gas masks.
The memo also described that inhaled particles behave like a gas in the lungs, go directly into the blood and are dispersed thoughout the tissues of the body. The gut would also be exposed by ingesting contaminated foods, and areas of the gut where the food sat for longer periods would have more radiation exposure and increased damage.
In conclusion, it is clear from this 1943 memo, that everything was known about the extreme hazards to health and environment of radiological materials dispersed in fine particles on the battlefield. The fact that depleted uranium burns at high temperatures and forms large numbers of extremely fine particles makes it even more deadly and effective than nearly any other material as a radiological weapon. The half-life of depleted uranium is so great, 4.5 billion years, that environments where it is used as a weapon will remain radioactive forever.
It is no accident that an international taboo prevented further use of nuclear and radioactive weapons on the battlefield after 1945. The use of depleted uranium in Gulf War I was a decision made by the Strategic Defense Command in order to blur the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons. Because public opposition globally is so strong, the use of depleted uranium was used as a strategy to reintroduce the use of nuclear weapons.
Weapons must pass four tests in order to determine that they are legal under international law. The tests are:
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 inhumanely.
Depleted uranium weaponry fails all four tests. For that reason it is illegal under all treaties, all agreements and all war conventions:
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 suoperfluous 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.
Antidiscriminationnetwork MSD e.V. Berlin Berlin 22.04.2000
In order to develop new weapons systems for military applications, the weapons must first be researched and tested extensively2. The development and testing is conducted at the National Laboratories and military testing grounds which the Army, Air Force, and other military branches have in various locations.
Research summaries posted on a military website describe the research and testing of depleted uranium weapons systems between 1974 and 1999. They describe in detail the concerns that researchers had about exposure hazards to personnel handling depleted uranium weapons. There are details about the extremely small particle size formed while burning and upon impact at a target. Animals living on the testing grounds were tested and radiation levels were measured in the fur and the gut of the animals. It is known that testing grounds remain radioactive from fine dust in the air and soil long after testing has ended.
One research report summarizes the reason why depleted uranium was selected by the U.S. Army over other materials less damaging to the environment – the cost. Because depleted uranium is the trash from the nuclear weapons and nuclear power industries, it is a radioactive hazard and a liability to the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE has a million tons of depleted uranium to dispose of. DOE made the decision to pass the radioactive trash on to the military-industrial complex for the manufacture of weapons. By passing the cost of disposal on to other countries, it is a savings for the U.S. Government. In fact, by selling depleted uranium weapons to more than 20 other countries, the DOE has made disposal a highly profitable business for the arms industry.
It is impossible for the U.S. Government3 to continue to deny as they have since Gulf War I, that depleted uranium weapons cause no harm or that there are no known health or environmental effects. The Groves memo from 1943 and Research Report summaries of investigations conducted for the military from 1974-1999 indicate that the omnicidal* impact of depleted uranium weapons has been known since 1943.
U.S. Government funding for nuclear weapons declined after Gulf War I to the lowest level in decades4. From the lowest point in 1995, funding has increased to a level even higher than during the Cold War. The United States has no enemies and yet budget increases continue.
Stockpile Stewardship of the existing nuclear weapons arsenal is part of the cost but new and evolving policies are emerging. Enhancing nuclear warhead capabilities is also part of the weapons program. Rebuilding nuclear weapons to improve accuracy, storage capability, altering the ability of warheads to withstand changes in environment, and modifications in where, when and how they detonate is also part of existing policy.
“Gold plating the nuclear weapons labs” describes the spending sprees which are a result of large amounts of money pouring into lab budgets. When excessive purchases of instruments and “toys for the boys” exceed what is really needed to conduct competent science the laboratories become “solutions looking for a problem”.
During a meeting in San Francisco where I gave testimony on May 15, the University of California Board of Regents was informed by National Nuclear Security Administrator Linton Brooks that the National Labs would be developing nuclear bunker busters. One hour later he spoke at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and informed personel that they would not only be developing small nuclear bunker busters, but they would be building large nuclear weapons as well!
For 60 years the University of California has been the manager of the nuclear weapons labs at Los Alamos and Livermore. Dr. Brooks informed the University of California at the May 15 meeting that the management contract will now go up for bid. The University of Texas is perceived to be the favored choice for the new management contract.
Is it a coincidence that the Bush family is also from Texas? In November 1991, Richard Berta, the Western Regional Inspector for the Department of Energy at the national nuclear weapons labs told me “the Pentagon exists for the oil companies…”
Depleted uranium was used in Gulf War I for the first time on the battlefield in large amounts. The use of over 340 tons of depleted uranium weaponry in Iraq in Gulf War I has had devastating results over the past decade and the devastating effects are increasing. The battlefields were far from the cities of southern Iraq but soldiers and downwind populations could not escape exposure to the invisible war, depleted uranium in the wind. Cancer, birth defects and radiation related diseases in both Gulf War veterans and Iraqi civilians has increased to alarming levels.
Children born to Gulf War veterans after the war and children born to civilians living in areas downwind from the battlefields in Iraq expose the impact of this invisible war. In a Veterans Administration study5 of 251 Gulf War I veterans, they determined severe birth defects and diseases in 67% of the children6 born after the war. They were born without eyes, brains, organs, legs, arms, hands, feet, or had blood and other radiation related diseases. The Iraqi children also have birth defects and a high incidence of leukemia. In the decade after the Gulf War, each month the number of babies born with birth defects and mutations has increased.
Dr. Hari Sharma, an independent researcher, has measured the depleted uranium levels in 71 residents of Basra who died after the war was over. He found levels of 150 micrograms of depleted uranium per kilogram of tissue throughout their bodies. That would amount to a very high exposure rate, roughly estimated at 10 alpa particles per second throughout the body. Alpha particles are the most biologically damaging form of radiation. The radioactive decay products of depleted uranium are even more radioactive by millions and billions of times.
Living in a radioactive environment with chronic exposure to low levels of radiation has a cumulative effect and the entire population in contaminated areas will slowly be destroyed. Genetic defects will be passed to future generations who will also be exposed to new sources of radiation from contaminated air, water and food. The depleted uranium dust will cycle through the environment and travel throughout larger regions, carried on the atmospheric dusts which travel around the earth.
Following the Gulf War, Dr. Doug Rokke was in charge of the team cleaning up the depleted uranium for the U.S. Army. He provided me with documents detailing some of the U.S. Army directives and memorandums regarding depleted uranium. In a document dated March 1, 1991, “Los Alamos Memorandum7” he said “I was directed to lie” to cover up the environmental effects of depleted uranium weaponry “so that the Army can continue to use it”. He told me “what right do we have to throw thousands of tons of nuclear waste all over any country? [International Humanitarian Lawyer] Karen Parker considers this to be indiscriminate killing…”
The October 14, 1993, “Somalia Message8” is the U.S. Army Medical Care Directive for unusual depleted uranium exposures such as “inhalation or ingestion of depleted uranium dust or smoke”. This directive requires a radiobioassay within 24 hours, nasal swipes, and analysis of gas mask filters used by exposed personel. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers, Iraqi soldiers, and citizens were exposed to “unusual uranium exposures”. Dr. Rokke said that nothing was done for anyone.
Under international law, after the battle is over any medical treatment for wounded U.S. soldiers must be provided to wounded enemy soldiers as well. Even more important, any civilians who suffer from war exposures must also receive medical care. If the U.S. provides medical care for its own soldiers and does not treat enemy soldiers and/or civilians equally, that constitutes a war crime.
In an August 19, 1993, memorandum9 General Eric Shinseki, for the U.S. Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, requires:
- adequate training for anyone who might come in contact with depleted uranium contaminated equipment
- complete medical testing of personnel exposed to depleted uranium contamination during the Persian Gulf War
- develop a plan for depleted uranium contaminated equipment recovery during future operations
The Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI) Executive Summary10 (1995) report to Congress addresses:
- the health and environmental consequences of depleted uranium
- remediation technologies that exist or might be developed to clean up depleted uranium contamination
- ways to reduce depleted uranium toxicity
- how to best protect the environment from the long-term consequences of depleted uranium use
Dr. Rokke informed me that the U.S. Army directives ordering medical care and environmental cleanup after Gulf War I were given to only a few military personel and they were not complied with. This is a violation of both U.S. and International Laws and constitutes war crimes.
In a recent United Nations Environmental Protection report, depleted uranium shells and bullets left in or on the ground have lost 25% of their mass by dissolving and are now contaminating the groundwater. Illnesses in civilians living near contaminated areas are rising.
During bombing in Kosovo and Bosnia, depleted uranium was monitored in Hungary and Greece, carried by the winds and eventually incorporating with atmospheric dusts. It is impossible to escape exposure even for populations hundreds and thousands of miles from battlegrounds.
A new study11 in Germany of Gulf War and Balkans War veterans, found significant amounts of damage to chromosomes in these veterans. The damage was characteristic of exposure to ionizing radiation and high linear energy transfer particles (alpha particles).
Professor Marc Herold, from the University of New Hampshire, has conservatively estimated that the U.S. military used more than 1000 tons of depleted uranium weapons in the recent conflict in Aghanistan. This is nearly three times as much as Gulf War I.
Dr. Andre Gsponer has provided deeply troubling information in his research papers12 which details how and why the U.S. Government has used depleted uranium and compares its performance to tungsten. Although the performance of the two is close, tungsten is actually a better choice for performance and environmental impact. He believes that the pattern of testing different amounts of depleted uranium in each country (including Gulf War II 1100-2200 tons) may be a way to test 4th generation nuclear weapons without actually using them if the radiation levels are similar to depleted uranium. This could relate to the decision by the Strategic Defense Command to introduce the use of depleted uranium in Gulf War I and the pressure over the last decade for new nuclear weapons development.
The impact on the wildlife in Afghanistan has been devastating. Not only is the environment contaminated with depleted uranium, but the Afghanis have been forced to hunt rare and endangered species in order to eat the meat and sell the skins for money. The devastating effects of depleted uranium will occur in all species in contaminated areas. The impact on the animals in the Iraq region was also devastating yet there was very little reporting on it13.
LEAKED VIDEO FOOTAGE OF AN AC-130 SPECTRE GUNSHIP ON A COMBAT MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN
The bombing of Afghanistan by U.S. military forces demonstrates the deliberate use of illegal weapons such as bunker busters, cluster bombs and other depleted uranium weapons systems to precision target civilian populations, water supplies, and infrastructure. Afghanistan is a poverty stricken underdeveloped country which poses no threat to the United States or any other country.
This unauthorized leaked 7.5 minute video14 permeated the internet in the spring of 2002. It shows the destruction from an AC-130 Spectre gunship on a combat mission in Afghanistan. When the Pentagon was contacted for clarification on the details of the mission, the reply was:
In response to your query about the AC-130 video permeating the internet, I unfortunately cannot comment on it, much more than to say it wasn’t ‘released’ through any official channels and therefore we don’t know who posted it, from what mission or where (though it can be surmised from the video where it took place).
Regards, LT (name suppressed), USN
Pentagon Room *******
The AC-130 gunship is a C-130 cargo plane which carries a lot of firepower protruding from the left side:
Two M61 20mm Vulcan Cannons
One L60 40mm Bofors cannon
One M102 105mm howitzer
One L60 40mm Bofors cannon
One M102 105mm cannon
The plane circles a ground target counter-clockwise and annihilates it.
In the radio traffic from the AC-130 plane the crew sounds like kids playing a video game. The crew is engaged in combat but from a safe distance and without any threat or resistance from the human targets on the ground. The video shows people leaving a mosque who start running for their lives as they are fired upon. The AC-130 continues circling and firing on individual Afghanis below. The crew sounds like “rednecks” picking off varmints on a Texas ranch as they talk back and forth and fire on the Afghanis one by one:
“Yeah, I was trying to lead that guy…..he was hiding behind that bank….he’s down, he’s still moving…..I saw him fly into pieces….”
It is a frightening and horrifying example of the most powerful military in the world using sophisticated satellite guided and other technology, precision targeting some of the poorest people in the world from airplanes far off the ground. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. This is the war against the third world.
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) described in Congress15 how the U.S. military air dropped food packages to starving Afghanis. The food packages looked very similar in size and color to unexploded cluster bomb ordinance. How many children stepped on land mines or picked up bombs that exploded in their hands when they were simply trying to feed themselves in order to survive?
The excuses used by the United States to bomb Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, Afghanistan, and recently in Iraq (for the second time), do not disguise the fact that the countries where depleted uranium weapons have been used are countries that contain oil resources the United States wants to control or are neighbors to pipelines the US wants to build.
Dr. Chris Busby’s comments in a recent article16 posted on a Toronto website sums up the global impact that radiation has had from nuclear weapons testing and nuclear power plants. Depleted uranium weapons use is adding to the radiation burden which is the cause of the global cancer epidemic now on the increase:
If you think Cancer is a problem now, wait until more depleted uranium is released into the world.
This document reports known links between exposure to low-level nuclear radiation and cancer. Concerning the impending US war against Iraq.
"If Dai Williams' analysis is correct the SHOCK and AWE missile and bomb inventory (which I can send anyone interested) is accurate. We are talking about 1900 tons of DU (or perhaps U) which is equivalent to 60TBq of alpha and beta particulate activity equivalent to the amount of alpha emitting radioactive material Sellafield put into the Irish Sea each year at the peak of its releases and about 50 times the present amount released annually to the Irish Sea. This DU will become widely dispersed and re: Israel I would not want to be living within 1000 miles of Baghdad. As a crime against humanity and a weapon of mass destruction this will be in a class of its own."
The European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) concludes:
"The present cancer epidemic is a consequence of exposure to global atmospheric weapons fallout in the periods 1959-1963 and that more recent releases of radioisotopes to the environment from the operation of nuclear fuel cycle will result in significant increases in cancer and other types of ill health."
(ISBN# 1-897761-24-4) (C. Busby) http://www.euradcom.org
The ECRR is based upon studies of chronic, internal exposure to low-level nuclear isotopes in diverse populations: leukemia in children on the Irish Sea Cost (Sellafield); Chernobyl children; and civilians and military exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU) armaments resulting in systemic harm and genetic damage.
"Using both the ECRR's new model and that of the International Committee for Radiation Protection (ICRP), the committee calculates the total number of deaths resulting from the nuclear project since 1945. The ICRP calculation, based on figures for doses to populations up to 1989 given by the United Nations, results in 1,174,600 deaths from cancer. The ECRR model predicts 61,600,000 deaths from cancer, 1,600,000 infant deaths and 1,900,000 fetal deaths. In addition the ECRR predicts a 10% loss of life quality integrated over all diseases and conditions in those who were exposed over the period of global weapons fallout."
The use of depleted uranium weapons is a crime against humanity, a crime against all species, and a war against the earth. It is imperative that we demand a permanent international moratorium on the sale and the use of depleted uranium weaponry.
Thank you for informing and educating the citizens of the world not only about the war crimes of President Bush in Afghanistan, but against all humanity. I am honored to have been invited by the citizens of Japan to give my testimony here today.
*omnicidal – the death of all life. In this sense, depleted uranium is the war against the earth – air, water, soil, and all species.
1Letter to Congressman McDermott: Declassified 1943 memo to General L.R. Groves – a blueprint for depleted uranium
2Research Report Summaries on Depleted Uranium from 1974-1999, conducted at National Laboratories and military labs.
3White House statement on “depleted uranium scare”,
4”The Department of Energy Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Request for Nuclear Weapons Activities” an analysis by Dr. Robert Civiak
5 Depleted Uranium: Metal of Dishonor International Action Center (1999)
6 LIFE Photoessay “The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm” http://www.life.com/Life/essay/gulfwar/gulf01.html
7March 1, 1991, Los Alamos Memorandum
8October 14, 1993, “Somalia Message” is the U.S. Army Medical Care Directive
9August 19, 1993, memorandum from General Eric Shinseki, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans
10 Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI) Executive Summary (1995)
11”Chromosome Aberration Analysis in Peripheral Lymphocytes of Gulf War and Balkans War Veterans” H. Schroder et al., Radiation Protection Dosimetry V.103:3, pp.211-219 (2003).
Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium by Akira Tashiro (2001)
12“Depleted Uranium Weapons: the Whys and Wherefores” A. Gsponer
13”The Animal Victims of the Gulf War” by J. Loretz, PSR Quarterly; 1991:221-225.
14Combat video of Afghani civilians targeted from an AC-130 Spectre U.S. military plane
15”Rep. McKinney vilified for telling the truth” by B. Fertik, San Francisco Bay View, April 17, 2002, p.1.
16”If you think cancer is a problem now, wait until more depleted uranium is released into the world” Toronto for Peace
Page created June 25, 2003 by Charlie Jenks