grassrootspeace.org

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 Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.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.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

See also Special Commentary below:

Tedd Weyman, Uranium Medical Research Center,
on DU rounds and inhalation of aerosols in battle zone

Doug Rokke, Ph.D., Major (Retired) USAR on unacceptability of use of DU rounds

Ross Wilcock, MD on 'friendly fire' and 'depleted' uranium as terms of befuddlement.

Addendum to Killing of Marines at An Nasiriyah
( follow link above to original article)

Marines described A-10's strafing them (with DU rounds) during interviews with Marine field historians shortly after the March 23, 2003 ugly fire incident at An Nasiriyah,. Segments were played on March 19, 2004 during an NPR report by Jackie Northam. See this site's article on killing of Marines at An Nasiriyah. The Marines described the deadly strafing by the A-10's, which according to one sergeant accounted for most of their dead.

On March 29, 2004, the US Centeral Command issued a press release on the US Air Forces, Central Command report on the incident. The press release stated that:

A total of 18 Marines were killed and 17 were wounded. Eight of the deaths were verified as the result of enemy fire; of the remaining 10 Marines killed, investigators were unable to determine the cause of death as the Marines were also engaged in heavy fighting with the enemy at the time of the incident. Of the 17 wounded, only one was conclusively determined to have been hit by friendly fire. [sic - the fire in question was anything but 'friendly' - we prefer another term (suggestions welcome) and will try to avoid the Department of Defense term unless quoting.]

Three Marines were wounded while inside vehicles that received both friendly and hostile fire, and the exact sequence and source of their injuries could not be determined.

Listening to the NPR report, and then reviewing the findings of the investigation, one may almost wonder if these were describing two different incidents.

When this incident was first happened, US authorities said that the Marines had been ambushed by Iraqi's who first pretended to surrender. FoxNews, March 24, 2003. Then, on March 29, 2003, the Charlotte Observer reported " Nine N.C.-based Marines killed Sunday in the battle for Nasiriyah may have been victims of friendly fire, not Iraqis pretending to surrender as originally believed." (Scott Dodd's story is reprinted below, for reader's convenience, under 'fair use.')

The military first told us that the Marines were killed by sneaky Iraqis. Was this a ruse to cover-up the incident which included the strafing of Marines with uranium rounds? (These rounds were so-called 'depleted' but retain most of the radioactivity of the original uranium, with small amounts of U-236, plutonium and neptunium from reprocessing.) Now, after NPR's report during which we hear Marines - soon after the battle - describe the deadly attacks by the A-10's - the military comes out with a press release on its report, saying that it cannot confirm a single death due to friendly fire.

A total of 18 Marines were killed and 17 were wounded. Eight of the deaths were verified as the result of enemy fire; of the remaining 10 Marines killed, investigators were unable to determine the cause of death as the Marines were also engaged in heavy fighting with the enemy at the time of the incident.

Of the 17 wounded, only one was conclusively determined to have been hit by friendly fire.

Three Marines were wounded while inside vehicles that received both friendly and hostile fire, and the exact sequence and source of their injuries could not be determined.
(from Central Command press release)

The military 'investigation' is in multiple parts - available currently at http://www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/newsfeatures.asp (includes links to graphics files not provided below)/ See Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 If the report is becomes unavailable on the military site, please contact us as we have downloaded each section.(Controversial material on DoD sites have been known to disappear.)

The Central Command's common explanation for each of the 10 Marines whom it said were not clearly killed by enemy fire, was that each was killed by an "indeterminable source." See Section 1, pages 31-44 of 100. In other words, it could not tell the difference whether enemy fire or friendly fire caused the death.

Did Colonel Reed Bonadonna foresee an outcome like this Central Command report, when he talked to NPR's Jackie Northam: (includes comments by Marines in the battle):

I think that most of the Marines felt that with the kind of price that is being paid by this war, by a lot of people, and with the stakes being what they are, that falling back on some kind of no comment or bland, evasive or euphemistic language is really inadequate to the situation. That this kind of sacrifice, only the truth is good enough. That to try to protect somebody's nasty little career or to try to throw a gloss over this as if it didn't exist. The proper function of military history is to instruct people so we do it better next time, save people's lives.

Lastly, I invite the reader to listen to the Marines' vivid accounts of the battle with the A-10's and compare it to the Central Command report (with over 700 pages of material and photographs in graphic files.) Although they are referred to in the Central Command report, the autopsy reports were not present. The military cites these as evidence in showing that Marines were killed by Iraqis or that their deaths were 'indeterminable.' One would think that for Marines killed after being hit by DU rounds that tissue samples would confirm such. As noted by Tedd Weyman, below, "A-10 30-mm rounds are devastating anti-personnel ordnance. It is rare to survive a direct hit on the body." Thus, if dead Marines were determined to have been hit by DU rounds, it seems disingenuous and evasive to claim that their causes of death were 'indeterminable.'

Concerning Marines who were wounded, it seems inconceivable that DU (both radioactive and toxic as a heavy metal) would not be detectable by proper testing. The report refers to Marines injured in a vehicle that was hit by both Iraqi and A-10 fire. Yet it says it cannot determine what caused injuries to these Marines. On April 4, 2004, the New York Daily News reported that returning NY guard soldiers who were complaining of persistent ailments had tested positive for DU. These soldiers had simply inhaled DU in the war zone. Yet the military cannot determine if Marines wounded during the A-10's attack had been injured by the DU rounds? (These Marines, sadly, inhaled DU at the least, as noted by Tedd Weyman, below.)

Commentary*

Comments on the An Nasiriyah Depleted Uranium Munitions Incident

Dr. Doug Rokke, Ph.D. Major (Retired) USAR

March 30. 2004

Previous and ongoing combat in Iraq has resulted in U.S., coalition, and Iraqi casualties. One incident involves an A-10 Warthog pilot's deliberate strafing of a company of U.S. Marines engaged in combat actions near An Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003. Reuter's "U.S. Mulls Discipline in Iraq Friendly Fire Deaths", Monday, Mar 29, 2004, 06:51 PM ET, reports that "Eighteen Marines were killed and 17 wounded in the area as Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, sought to seize bridges and a canal near the southern Iraqi city". Eight of the Marines were killed by Iraqi fire."

Colonel Reed Bonadonna, United States Marine Corps, has stated that the marines were strafed with 30 mm depleted uranium rounds fired by the U.S. Air Force A-10 pilot. Refer to http://www.grassrootspeace.org/du_friendly_fire.html and follow links for National public radio program "All Things Considered" audio interviews with Marines who were involved in this incident.

This friendly fire incident involving uranium rounds is just one more example of 'hot dogging" and total disregard for rules of engagement. The A-10 pilot should have verified his target before firing and never should have shot up ground forces with 30 mm uranium and/or conventional rounds anyway. The A-10 Warthog is designed and armed as an anti-armor ground attack fighter. The A-10 GAU-8 fires 30 mm (approximately 1.25") diameter conventional or uranium rounds at a rate of 4000 rounds per minute. Any use of this weapon system by an A-10 pilot against ground forces is simply unwarranted and unnecessary. Friendly fire has been a significant problem throughout the ages but it can be prevented. This confirmed friendly fire incident using depleted uranium rounds reportedly occurred when another U.S. Marine Corps officer called in for air support. The use of uranium munitions that designed and reserved for armor or other hardened targets rather than against U.S. Marine Corps ground troops cannot be condoned.

The use of uranium rounds throughout Iraq during Gulf War 2 is unacceptable given that that "No available technology can significantly change the inherent chemical and radiological toxicity of DU. These are intrinsic properties of uranium " (Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the U.S. Army: Technical Report, AEPI, June 1995) and the primary U.S. Army training manual: STP 21-1-SMCT: Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks states "NOTE: (Depleted uranium) Contamination will make food and water unsafe for consumption." Task number: 031-503-1017 "RESPOND TO DEPLETED URANIUM/LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS (DULLRAM) HAZARDS". Their use also violates United Nations decisions that deplete uranium munitions are illegal and should not be used during combat.

Today we have additional uranium munitions casualties and deaths while 13 years after extensive use of uranium munitions during Gulf War 1 the majority of uranium casualties from that conflict are still denied Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs mandated medical care and uranium contamination has not been cleaned up as required by U.S. Army Regulation AR 700-48: "Management of Equipment Contaminated With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities" dated 16 September 2002.

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY TECHNICAL BULLETIN, TB 9-1300-278: "GUIDELINES FOR SAFE RESPONSE TO HANDLING, STORAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION ACCIDENTS INVOLVING ARMY TANK MUNITIONS OR ARMOR WHICH CONTAIN DEPLETED URANIUM" HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, JULY 1996 specifies immediate emergency actions to include personal decontamination, medical care, and contamination management procedures. These guidelines are emphasized in very simple steps in U.S. Army training manual: STP 21-1-SMCT: Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks, Task number: 031-503-1017 "RESPOND TO DEPLETED URANIUM/LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS (DULLRAM) HAZARDS". We must ask if these guidelines have been followed and if the mandated medical care has been provided to these U.S. Marines who are depleted uranium casualties because they were involved in this uranium munitions friendly fire incident. It is painfully obvious that department of Defense officials are continuing to disregard the adverse health and environmental effects caused by uranium munitions use. Once more I must request that Department of Defense officials ensure that:

1. All DU contamination must be physically removed and properly disposed of to prevent future exposures.
2. Specialized radiation detection devices that detect and measure alpha particles, beta articles, x-rays, and gamma rays emissions at appropriate levels from 20 dpm up to 100,000 dpm and from .1 mrem/ hour to 75 mrem/ hour must be acquired and distributed to all individuals or organizations responsible for medical care and environmental remediation activities involving depleted uranium / uranium 238 and other low level radioactive isotopes that may be present. Standard equipment will not detect contamination.
3. Medical care must be provided to all individuals who did or may have inhaled, ingested, or had wound contamination to detect mobile and sequestered internalized uranium contamination.
4. All individuals who enter, climb on, or work within 25 meters of any contaminated equipment or terrain must wear respiratory and skin protection.
5. Contaminated and damaged equipment or materials should not be recycled to manufacture new materials or equipment.
6. The use of uranium munitions must cease immediately.
7. All individuals who may come in contact with uranium munitions or uranium munitions contamination must complete specific education and training on management of contamination and response to incidents involving uranium munitions.

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"More important than mechanical wounding (WIA) is inhalation of DU/Ti aerosols during the combat event.
This would effect anyone surviving the battle scene."

By Tedd Weyman, Uranium Medical Research Center

March 30, 2004

From a standpoint of mechanical wounding effects (WIA) and of course, killing (KIA), it makes little difference if the friendly fire rounds are depleted uranium/titanium (DU/Ti) alloy or tungsten heavy alloy (WHA) ... unless the WIA are retaining radioactive shrapnel. Can we assume the rounds in question are "inert" (non-explosive) heavy metal kinetic energy penetrators? Not necessarily. There may be tracer and or incendiary chemicals in the rounds as well.

More important than mechanical wounding (WIA) is inhalation of DU/Ti aerosols during the combat event. This would effect anyone surviving the battle scene.

A-10 30-mm rounds are devastating anti-personnel ordnance. It is rare to survive a direct hit on the body. The rounds are fired in bursts and travel over a kilometer per second so there is a high likelihood of receiving more than one hit. The metallurgical components of the rounds are not relevant to the kinetic or terminal ballistic effect on the human body. The metallurgy is important to the effects on hard targets.

Fragmentation, shearing, errosion, target cratering and shrapnel behavior are different between DU/Ti and WHA rounds. WHA rounds may not penetrate armor that DU will penetrate with ease. Light armored vehicles hit by DU rounds will almost always show an exit hole. At the distance fired by a close-in A-10, and the US AAV's targeted, both types of rounds would penetrate. Post impact behavior of the rounds inside the AAV's (fragmentation, ignition of internal components such as fuel, clothing and magazine rounds, etc) depend on a number of factors which are not predictable. WHA is not auto igniting nor pyrophoric without chemical or metal powder additives.

Any of the surviving personnel (wounded or not) may be experiencing acute and developmental uranium internal contamination effects as a result of inhaling aerosolized DU/Ti alloyed penetrators ballistic by-products. I have personally collected radioactive penetrator residues from diabled Iraqi tanks and soil in the Nasiriyah friendly-fire battlefield. Samples collected from civilians living adjacent to the firefight show they are excreting DU in their urine. US A-10 friendly fire survivors therefore need to undergo urine uranium isotope analysis to know if they have been contaminated. Creatinine and total uranium bioassays cannot answer the question of contamination. The analysis must be done by mass spectrometry in a laboratory capable of measuring low levels of uranium and transuranium isotopes, including 236U and 239/240Pu. The laboratory results must be reviewed by an independent scientist knowledgeable in the analyses of such data.

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Ross Wilcock, MD - arwilcock@sympatico.ca

"Friendly fire" is like "ethnic cleansing" and"depleted uranium" come to
that. It is dressing up murder so that it might appear respectable - the
art of lying; bastardization of language.

These are terms of befuddlement, "cons" by other names.

Murder is wrong whether by individual, home, street, country or race.

Use of uranium weapons has been defined by a war crimes tribunal as
omnicidal (ICTA (Afghanistan), Tokyo, March 2004).

Omnicide may not happen in a flash, but over a generation. Generations of
bees, birds, trees, flowering fruit and helper creatures may be shorter
than human.

It is long overdue for heads to come out of the sand.

Omnicidal warfare could not be more serious.

Ross Wilcock

"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

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Posted on Sat, Mar. 29, 2003

Friendly fire may have killed Lejeune Marines
Military won't comment officially on new report


Scott Dodd
Staff Writer


Nine N.C.-based Marines killed Sunday in the battle for Nasiriyah may have been victims of friendly fire, not Iraqis pretending to surrender as originally believed.
If true, it would raise the number of U.S. and British troops killed by their own side to 15 -- nearly a third of the known coalition deaths since the fighting in Iraq began.
Officials at the U.S. Central Command in Qatar would say only that friendly fire is an unfortunate reality of war and that they're still looking into the deaths of the nine Marines based at Camp Lejeune in Eastern North Carolina.
"They're taking quite a bit of time bringing him back to us," said William Buesing III of Port Richey, Fla., whose son Lance Cpl. Brian Buesing was among the Marines killed. Buesing said the military told him his son's body won't be returned to the family until Thursday.
"I don't know exactly what they're doing," he said, "but they said they're looking into it."
On Sunday, Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid said the Marines were killed during heavy fighting inside the city after a small group of Iraqi solders indicated they wanted to give themselves up. They then fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the Marines' amphibious assault vehicle, according to what witnesses told journalists with the unit.
But a military source told The Washington Post that early indications suggest the nine may have been hit by an A-10 Thunderbolt II plane providing air support, whose pilot mistook them for Iraqi fighters.
Neither the Central Command nor the Pentagon would comment directly on that report, other than to say they were investigating the deaths. A Camp Lejeune spokesman said the base had no information other than what had been provided by the Pentagon.
Friendly fire and accidents have been a significant portion of the U.S. and British death toll so far. Thirty U.S. and 23 British troops are dead, with seven U.S. servicemen and women captured and 16 missing. Accidents, including helicopter crashes, vehicle wrecks and a drowning, caused 21 of the deaths.
The friendly fire incidents include a grenade attack by a U.S. Army soldier that killed two officers at his brigade headquarters in Kuwait; a British Tornado warplane that was mistakenly shot down by a U.S. Patriot missile Sunday, killing the two fliers; and a British Challenger tank that fired into another British tank during a battle Monday, killing two more servicemen.
And Thursday, 31 Marines were wounded when a convoy came under fire from members of their own task force on the road outside Nasiriyah, according to reporters traveling with them. No one was killed in that incident.
Friendly fire is an unavoidable side effect of fast-paced modern warfare, military experts say, especially when pilots are dropping bombs and shooting at enemy soldiers while they're in close combat with U.S. troops.
"The problem with air power is that those people on the ground are really small ants, and it's hard to see what uniforms they're wearing," said Patrick Garrett, an analyst with the Washington think tank GlobalSecurity.org.
Confusing ground conditions, with fighting in and around urban areas and smoke and dust from the desert, further complicate matters, as do the adrenaline and anxiety troops may feel during their first real battles.
"You can train all you want, but once you're in the real thing, there's a lot more intensity," said Jay Farrar, a former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who remembers U.S. troops being shot at by their Israeli allies in Lebanon during the 1980s.
"There's so much going on, and there are so many variables that you can't control," said Farrar, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "For all the advances the U.S. military has made, they are not foolproof."
Experts disagree on the number of friendly fire casualties from past wars, but say the percent of servicemen killed or wounded by "fratricide," as it's also called, has grown in recent conflicts.
Of the 148 U.S. troops killed in fighting during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, 36 died in friendly fire incidents. Garrett said they accounted for 77 percent of the casualties on the ground. The only British battlefield fatalities in 1991 were nine infantrymen attacked by a U.S. Air Force plane.
Dr. Richard Kohn, a UNC Chapel Hill professor and former chief Air Force historian for the Pentagon, said friendly fire deaths were more pronounced in the first Gulf War than in past wars and probably will be again because the Iraqi military lacks the ability to kill large numbers of U.S. troops.
"It stands out more when there are fewer casualties," he said. But Kohn doesn't think the incidents will erode public confidence.
"They know what's involved in warfare," he said, "and they know that accidents happen."
Buesing said the military hasn't told him if it suspects friendly fire killed his son or the other Marines who died Sunday.
The length of an investigation could vary greatly, taking from days to months before results are released publicly, experts said. The military would be looking for ways to avoid future incidents.
Buesing said he's been told that his son was fighting at Nasiriyah when an armored vehicle in front of him bogged down and took enemy rocket fire. His son and other Marines rushed to help and were attacked by Iraqi soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, he was told.
If his son was a victim of U.S. weapons during that conflict with the Iraqis, Buesing said, he'd want to know the truth. But it wouldn't make a difference to him.
"Whatever happened, I'm proud of my son," said Buesing, himself a former Marine. "I'm sure he was there helping somebody, and I really don't give a damn about anything else." -- THE OBSERVER'S PETER SMOLOWITZ IN QATAR CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE.
-- SCOTT DODD: (704) 358-5168; SDODD@CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM.

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*These comments were received just as the Central Command press release was coming out. Thus, the commentators did not have the opportunity to review the entire report. Any updates to comments would be posted on this site.

 

April 8, 2004 - page created by Charlie Jenks



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