Depleted Uranium

Information compiled by Hei Hu Quan

1) What is D.U. or Depleted Uranium?
Depleted uranium is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process.

Depleted Uranium, or DU, is a waste material left over from the nuclear industry. A vast amount of this waste DU is produced when natural uranium is enriched for use in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Only the uranium isotope U-235 can be used in nuclear processes, such as reactors and weapons. As most of this isotope is removed from naturally occurring uranium, the remaining uranium product comprises U-238 and smaller amounts of the more highly radioactive U-235 and U-234. DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. It is this latter product, the left over uranium, comprising mainly U-238, which has been used to make ‘depleted’ uranium weapons. It is used for weapons because this heavy, dense metal is judged by the army to be an excellent penetrator of enemy armour, tanks, and even buildings.

The term “depleted uranium” is a misnomer. DU is “depleted” only in the isotopes U234 and U235 which constitute less that 1% of the total uranium. The fact is that both “depleted” uranium and “natural” Uranium are over 99% composed of uranium-238. Depleted uranium is almost as highly concentrated as pure uranium and may contain plutonium in trace amounts.

A large amount of DU in the stockpiles held in the United States has been contaminated with recycled spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. For example trace amounts of U-236 and highly radioactive substances such as plutonium, neptunium and technetium were found in a DU anti-tank shell used in Kosovo. Hundreds of thousands of tons of this contaminated stock was exported to the UK, France and other countries in the 1990s. The extent to which this DU has been contaminated with recycled spent fuel is still unknown and undisclosed.

Depleted uranium is a risk to health both as a toxic heavy metal and as a radioactive substance. The UK and US Governments have long sought to play down these risks.

2) What is it used for and why?
DU is used in a variety of military applications. It is attractive to the military, governments and the nuclear industry for three main reasons. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, it is in cheap and plentiful supply and solves the problem of storage and monitoring. Secondly, it is a very effective battlefield weapon because its high density and self-sharpening qualities enable it to penetrate hard targets with ease. Thirdly, DU is pyrophoric, which means it burns on impact, enhancing its ability to destroy enemy targets.

The US military uses DU mainly for its Abrahams tanks and A10 warplanes, although it is also used in its Bradley fighting vehicles, AV-8B Harrier aircraft, Super Cobra helicopter and its Navy Phalanx system. It is also used by the US military for a variety of other applications including bombshells, tank armour plating, aircraft ballast and anti-personnel mines. Although the US and UK militaries are the only countries who have been properly documented as using DU weapons, they are known to be held by at least seventeen other countries including: Australia, Bahrain, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

Modern warfare since the Gulf War in 1991 has employed weapons which make use of DU for its properties:

1. It is cheap and available to arms manufacturers free of charge.
2. It has a very high-density which makes it a superior armour piercing material.
3. It burns upon impact producing intense heat and easily cuts through steel.
4. It acts as a self-sharpening penetrator.

The 1991 Gulf War saw the first verified use of DU weapons. Around 320 tonnes of DU in weapons were used in the war, of which about 1 tonne was used by the UK military. According to data from the US Department of Defense, tens or hundreds of thousands of US military personnel could have been exposed to DU. Both the US and UK Governments refused any responsibility for decontamination and both refused to study the exposure rates or after-effects of this DU use. After a few years, evidence began to emerge from Iraq about the increasing incidence of cancer and birth deformities in the south of the country. After heavy US lobbying in November 2001 the UN General Assembly voted down an Iraqi proposal that the UN study the effects of the DU used there.

In the 2003 attack on Iraq, the US and UK militaries used DU again despite the lack of reliable data on the effects of using it in Iraq 12 years previously. The British Government has admitted using 1.9 tonnes of DU. Even though this is only a tiny proportion of all DU used in Iraq, it is double the amount used in 1991. The US authorities have still not said how much has been used, although an initial Pentagon source revealed 75 tons of DU may remain in Iraq from A-10 planes alone.

The implications for Iraqi civilians are very alarming. Unlike the first Gulf War, which was largely confined to desert areas, much of the DU use has been in built-up, heavily populated areas. The US Government has refused any cleanup of DU in Iraq, clinging to the statement that it has no link with ill health, while the British Government has for the first time admitted it does have a responsibility but says it is low on their list of priorities.

3) Are there international laws against its use?
No, there are none.

4) What countries are using D.U. currently?
The United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Bahrain, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

5) What are the specific health threats?
Uranium is most dangerous when it burns and is aerosolized as happens when it is used in weapons. Inhaled uranium can remain in the lungs and bones for years where it continues to emit alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Each alpha particle can traverse up to several hundred cells causing somatic and genetic alterations. Soldiers inside a tank or armoured vehicle can inhale tens of milligrams of DU after the shell goes through the tank. Compare this to the maximum allowable yearly dose in the U.S. for inhaled uranium is 1.2 milligrams per year.

Serious long-term effects include: Compromised immune system, metabolic, respiratory and renal diseases, tumours, leukemia, and cancer.

A 1998 study conducted by Dr. Livengood showed that DU contamination transforms normal bone cells into tumorous ones.

It is estimated that 300 – 800 metric tons of DU were deposited in the battlefield in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. Dr. Doug Rokke (DU expert and former US army physicist) estimated that 120 to 480 million grams of DU would be aerosolized if 40% of the DU were burnt up.

The smaller the particles of DU, the greater the danger. Particles less than 5 microns can be inhaled and deposited in the lungs where they can remain for years. A study found DU particles 42 km away from the source.

Compare these numbers to the allowable limits for radiation releases in the US. The National Lead Industry Plant in Colonie, NY was closed down for violating a New York state court order which limited the amount of radiation released to 387 gram of DU metal per month. The plant closed down in February of 1980 for exceeding this limit and closed permanently in 1983. The area has been decontaminated. The engineering report states that the soil from 53 of the 56 nearby properties was beyond the radiation limits and had to be removed to a low-level radiation storage site. The cost was over 100 million USD. The cleanup cost was 1000 USD per cubic meter.

It’s not just in terms of increased risk of cancer that DU DNA damage can affect health. It is also implicated in causing a depressed immune system, reproductive problems, and birth defects. For example, a study of US Gulf War veterans has found that they are up to three times as likely to have children with birth deformities than fathers who had not served; and that pregnancies result in significantly higher rates of miscarriage. A major 2004 Ministry of Defence-funded survey study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that babies whose fathers served in the first Gulf War are 50 per cent more likely to have physical abnormalities. They also found a 40 per cent increased risk of miscarriage among women whose partners served in the Gulf.

There are three main routes through which DU exposure on the battlefield takes place: inhalation, ingestion and wounding. As a DU penetrator hits its target some of the DU from the weapon reacts with the air in the ensuing fire and becomes a fine dust (often called an ‘aerosol’) that makes inhalation and ingestion a possibility for those in the area. Even after the dust has settled, the danger remains that it may be resuspended in the future by further activity or the wind, and again pose a threat to civilians and others for many years into the future. DU particles have been reported as travelling twenty-five miles on air currents. Open wounds also allow a gateway for DU into the body and some veterans have also been left with DU fragments in their bodies, remaining after combat.

Inhaled DU dust will settle in the nose, mouth, lung, airways and guts. As a DU penetrator hits its target, the high temperatures caused by the impact ensure the DU dust particles become ceramic and therefore water insoluble. This means that, unlike other more soluble forms of uranium, DU will stay in the body for much longer periods of time. This aspect of uranium toxicology has often been ignored in studies of the health effects of DU, which base their excretion rates on soluble uranium. DU dust can remain in the sticky tissues of the lung and other organs such as the kidneys for many years. It is also deposited in the bones where it can remain for up to 25 years. This helps explain why studies of Gulf War veterans have found that soldiers are still excreting DU in their urine over 12 years after the 1991 conflict. Ingested DU can be incorporated into bone and from there will irradiate the bone marrow, increasing the risk of leukaemia and an impaired immune system.

In Basra, in southern Iraq, there have been striking reports for a number of years about the rise in local childhood cancers and birth deformities seen there. The findings of a leading Iraqi epidemiologist, Dr Alim Yacoub, were presented in New York in June 2003 and suggest there has been a more than five fold increase in congenital malformations and a quadrupling of the incidence rates of malignant diseases in Basra.

The Dutch Journal of Medical Science reported the findings of the Flemish eye doctor, Edward De Sutter. He found 20 cases out of 4000 births in Iraq of babies with the phenomenon anophthalmos: babies who have been born with only one eye or who are missing both eyes. The very rare condition usually only affects 1 out of 50 million births.

6) Other Countries Contaminated by DU Include:

BOSNIA 1994-1995 – Around 10,800 DU rounds, or 3 tonnes, were used in Bosnia.

KOSOVO, YUGOSLAVIA 1999 – US A-10 aircraft fired around 31,300 rounds of DU, or 9 tons of DU in areas of Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro during NATO action there in 1999.

AFGHANISTAN 2001- 2004 – There is some evidence that DU has been used in Afghanistan, although this has never been confirmed officially. For example, US A-10s and Harrier aircraft, which both use DU ammunition, are known to have been active in the region.

Geneva Convention Rules (to which US and UK are signees)

– The limitation of unnecessary human suffering [Art.35.2]
– The limitation of damage to the environment [Art. 35.3 and 55.1]
– It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering [Art. 35.3]
– It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment. [Art. 35.2]
– In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives. [Art. 48]
– Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
(c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. [Art.51.4]
– Care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term and severe damage. This protection includes a prohibition of the use of methods or means of warfare which are intended or may be expected to cause such damage to the natural environment and thereby to prejudice the health or survival of the population. [Art. 55.1]

Sources:
The Uranium Medical Research Centre – DU Facts and Fictions – http://www.umrc.net/facts_and_fictions.aspx

Viewzone – Depleted Uranium – The Truth – http://www.viewzone.com/du/du.html

Dinosaurs and Hamburgers

ConCen Blog
Friday, September 28th, 2007
By mothandrust

This piece was the appendix to my dissertation on International Relations Theory. It earned me a big fat zero! As far as I am aware, it’s the only dissertation ever to have been marked at 0% (without being disqualified for cheating).

 

Dinosaurs and Hamburgers

 

Do you know where the word Education comes from?

It comes from the Latin Verb, Educe – meaning, to bring out.

No, I would never have guessed either.

*

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote two treatises, Du Contract Social, on Man in society, and Émile, on how society’s future members should be encouraged to learn.

He breaks this into four stages and recommends that, children should learn firstly from nature and given freedom to explore and discover things for themselves – followed by the age of reason, then strength and finally wisdom – leading to the “age of happiness – all the rest of life.”[102] Further, he argues, learning should be interaction and understanding driven by imagination, within the primary political unit, the family. Education should be a guide not a master.

The state, Rousseau argues, can never be trusted to deliver an unbiased education. Indeed, he suggests, “any education aimed at producing the sort of citizen states wanted would be as bad as the states themselves.”[103]

*

What is the purpose of education? There are two distinct purposes, which ideally should be one. Namely, to educate, and to turn out productive members of society – those who will enhance and validate the structure, those who in time will become authority.

Learning cannot of course be removed from this picture, States cannot stand still, particularly as the pace of change accelerates. Ideally the education structure produces the tools to satisfactorily fuel national ambitions – so at this level, learning is of vital importance. However, this learning is potentially superficial in the extreme. The reason being, such learning will be built on the existing structures, which necessarily validate the system – that is, find sympathy within hegemonic thinking. This creates a situation where foundations and structures are barely ever questioned, except in the most superficial manner.

To Use International Relations (IR) as an example, let us examine how the suppositions of some of their favoured thinkers (remembering, all of whom are reliant upon the structure) are used to validate the structure, whilst scientific discoveries are overlooked for the sake of expediency.

*

Structuring the Debate

We need not I think rehash Hobbes’ view of the state of Nature, nor its inaccuracy in consideration of anthropological findings. It must be accepted (at least if one is not a creationist – and even then the Biblical account destroys Hobbes’ argument) the idea of humanity’s origins as war of each against all, belongs in the dustbin of history, along with his attempts to square the circle and the Flat Earth Society.

Hobbes is of course an easy target – the frightened ‘intellectual’, the ‘bourgeois’,[104] happy to renounce his freedom for state security and foundationally subservient to the structure – and eager to justify and enhance his position within it. One can hardly blame him for that, there’s (almost) no-one on academia’s reading lists and in their study packs that isn’t.

But, Hobbes is an excuse, convenient justification for the international order. The argument most likely posed in defence, is that Hobbes is instrumental in shaping behaviour. But, does he shape it? Or does he validate it? If Hobbes had never existed authority would have found another ‘philosopher’ to justify its behaviour – just as they support him with Thucydides, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas… through to modern day equivalents.

Such ‘thinking’ is endemic within academia, it structures all debate, framing the discourse in terms of such ‘extremes’ as Hobbes and Kant or Huntington and Fukuyama or Neo and Neo but always within the structure – and always validating violence and authority.

Occasionally, very occasionally, individuals appear who potentially challenge the structure – Christ being the archetypical example but also including the likes of Nietzsche, Einstein, Orwell and of course Rousseau. Such texts will generally be obscured, omitted, doctored, or misrepresented. Examples being Rousseau’s ‘the State of War’ – doctored to remove it’s most challenging accusations[105], the forty or so pages cut from Émile and ‘the Stag Hunt’, from his ‘Discourse on the Origin of Inequality’ – showing how Civilised Man behaves when confronted with short term self-interest, whereas the point should never be lost – natural man, hunting with tribe or family would never adopt such behaviour – yet IR appears oblivious.

*

As previously noted, the state, in its very broadest sense, has existed for no more than 10,000 years (http://corianderjax.tk/dissertation.htm) – the blink of an eye in terms of human evolution. Yet, nevertheless, in IR, it appears cast in stone. However, as we have also seen, whilst it maybe all powerful in the international arena, it is also an amorphous structure, ebbing and flowing, from the joining of Europe to the fragmentation of the Soviet Union. Further, as governments worldwide sell off infrastructure, whether willingly or forced, the state’s very nature appears in metamorphosis. Yet, this is another road virtually un-travelled in IR – as are, sociology, psychology, anthropology, ecology, genetics… and largely economics.

In effect, it is a discipline built around war, upon the notion that man is violent and cannot escape his nature – meaning, upon disagreement without authority, i.e. the state, violence is the only method of resolving the dispute.[106]

*

My International Relations (ir)

The trouble is, these opinions, used to justify world order, do not describe me in any form I can recognise (nor I would suggest, most people I know at a personal level). That is, in any dispute with another my first tactic is understanding, not violence. Therefore, the arguments of Hobbes & Co. must be flawed.

Having spent approaching three years developing My ir and watching how numerous others do likewise, I must report, although occasional dispute, I have seen no sign of violence whatsoever. In truth, the reality appears to be the opposite of what we are led to believe (supporting Rousseau’s argument, that it is the state itself that is the cause of war). From experience, I would say people by nature when unthreatened get on perfectly well. Indeed, as evidenced through our time at university, international relationships potentially blossom and flourish across borders and cultures, without the prejudice of authority to define the structured agenda.

*

Another thing I have noticed, is that at the start of year one, people arrived with anticipation and excitement, feeling that they could potentially change the world. Since then, they have been moulded and taught into ‘thinking’ and writing in the ‘correct’ manner and marked into conforming. Until, by the end of year three, when instead of feeling empowered and equipped to challenge and question, most have settled for something – a rung on the structure.

This is a consequence of the biasing inherent in all structures, none of which can be immune, which favours arguments and techniques sympathetic to the modus operandi and validation of said structure. This is further compromised by the ever increasing demands of expansion,[107] McDonaldization[108] and reliance on external finance.[109] Leading to what is in effect a sort of ‘flat-packed’ indoctrination, governed by vast reading lists which no one ever need go beyond and the potted texts of study packs to cement structural values in place. Effectively creating a body of workers all singing from (roughly) the same hymn sheet – which of course becomes a boon for throughput, when having to mark six months work in five minutes and in establishing values for said students – in relation to the structure.

*

Just a thought

I began this paper by discussing how life had developed: from the simplest organisms (http://corianderjax.tk/dissertation.htm), concerned only with feeding and breeding, through to the incomprehensible variety and sophistication of our World today. If you don’t believe me, watch a few nature programmes – nature, as well as being a cornucopia, is also a wonder.

Humanity’s part and path is perhaps one of the most astounding – we are after all continually telling ourselves how clever we are. And indeed, since man became ‘Enlightened’, it seems there is no end to his talents. But, at what cost?

Humanity’s social structures evolved over evolutionary time scales. It is perhaps the case that family unit has been under threat since the conceptualisation of good and evil and the birth of structured authority; but, in reality, it is in just two or three generations that we have seen its fragmentation – particularly since the arrival of the ‘science of the mind’ and ‘freedom’ in the form of ‘democracy’.

The science of the mind is the most powerful tool operating in our world today. It works, as discussed above (http://corianderjax.tk/dissertation.htm), by stimulating our genetic urges, fear and hunger, our primary drivers. What are of lesser use are the more sophisticated ‘higher’ animal instincts – perception and reasoning. What is of least use is human nature – evolving with the family, being content, when all one’s needs are filled – which is positively counter-productive in the incessant drive for expansion and power.

Indeed, by twisting and appealing to genetic drives and constantly bombarding humanity with ‘good and evil’ and violence as the solution, structured authority, obsessed with its inexorable expansion, is potentially returning us to, or projecting us towards, some sort of Hobbesian state of nature: a state without society, trust or common goals (excepting short term personal gain).

For Hobbes was not of course showing us humanity’s origin, he drew his conclusions from observing those around him, his world’s controllers and profiteers, “the bourgeois of London and Paris,”[110] those at the top of the food chain, the ‘Hawks’ and ‘Cheats’ (as Dawkins might call them) – those, that society, what’s left of it, is encouraged to envy and emulate. That has nothing to do with the past, except at a primordial level – but, in mistaking gratification for goodness, could Hobbes, rather than seeing our past, be depicting our future?

This prospect must have alarmed Kant, who thought humanity either to be progressing or regressing[111] – it is why he must reject Rousseau, his “Newton of moral order”,[112] in seeing ‘natural man’ as at one with itself – the prospect of such a future was just too terrifying to contemplate.

*

Rousseau, in qualifying his attestation, that “the good man orders everything with regard to the whole; the wicked orders everything with regard to himself”, and appreciating the irreversible rise of ‘Enlightened’ man, Rousseau recognises “ if there is no God, then the wicked man is right and the good man nothing but a fool.”[113]

However, he was not looking into the twenty-first century, with money as a belief structure, rampant consumerism, dwindling power resources, global pollution and ‘free’ market capitalism thrashing the donkey. He might however have pointed out, the binary opposition to enlightenment is delusion.

*

Ah well, who’s to say? We can only work within our own reason, judgement and understanding, and with the information accessible to us: which is what I have attempted to do.

I hope at least some of this makes sense.

Note

One final observation, contrary to popular opinion, the dinosaurs did not become extinct – they evolved – another testament to nature, it’s adaptability, ingenuity and mind boggling brilliance.

The dinosaurs became birds and as far as palaeontologists can ascertain they did not go via a state structure.

Whereas humanity’s, or, more specifically, its structures’, imagination can see no further than ‘universalisation’ and modularisation and the unending drive for expansion. Expansion – growth – not in terms of what we could be, but in terms of what we must do.

Instead of reaching for the skies, filled with potential, our structured authority, our state, our sovereign, our money, our interests, our fear, our hunger project us towards a primordial slime of feeding and breeding, satisfying nothing but our stomachs and our genitals, and creating an environment safe enough in which to do it.

An environment, governed by status and security and uniformity – where right thinking comes pre-packaged and modularised, and our eager progeny gobble it down, like caged pigs being pumped full of genetically enhanced growth hormone, before their eager leap into the maw of the structure.

Shiny brand new members of the human race, packed, processed and ready for shipment, with their cascaded 2:1s marketing them to the structure – processed meat patties ready to be consumed by the corporate world.

Would you like fries with that degree sir? Regular or Super-size Debt to kick-start adulthood and chain you to the structure?

 

 

But Eeyore wasn’t listening. He was taking the balloon out, and putting it back again, as happy as could be…

– A. A. Milne[114]

Radio ConCen Has a New Homepage!

http://radioconcen.wordpress.com/

Many thanks go out to Chris Carota for taking the time to put up a complete listing by month and by author of all the Radio ConCen shows, complete with direct download links.

Cheers!

Two Shows Recorded on Radio Concen

On Sunday, September 16th, Ognir interviewed Chronic, who has some interesting new information about Lee Harvey Oswald.

Download the MP3 audio file (35M 52S; 8.21MB)

Afterwards, Ognir hosted the weekly roundtable discussion, with guests Hei Hu Quan and Mifune.

Download the MP3 audio file (71M 36S; 16.38MB)

Johnny Gosch Is Alive – Part 1: Conspiracy of Silence

I first wrote this article for CR back in 2006 … It’s about what happened when I entered the words “conspiracy” into Google and started following the links. I was never the same again. I found a banned documentary called Conspiracy of Silence“. The website said it was seized before it aired in 1994, and all copies were destroyed. All except one… a rough, unfinished cut dubbed onto VHS had somehow made it on to the net… the documentary was not 100% finished, but the story was there. The same could be said of my article; for the last year it was 90% finished, but the story was all there. Now I’ve put the panties on, and backup up my claims with verified links and media references. If you follow them, you will never be the same… I say that both as a warning, and as an invitation.

What it takes to go, it takes to know.

Continue reading

Ognir Rants on Radio ConCen

Ognir talks about State of Israel, Forums, WW2, Goodbye to Blove8 Welcome SE, the money system, bankers and lots more.

Download the MP3 audio file (69M 30S; 15.90MB)

Ognir interviews Eric Huffschmidt on Radio ConCen

On Sunday, September 9th, Ognir was joined by a very special guest, Eric Huffschmidt, on Radio ConCen

Download the MP3 audio file (75M 44S; 14.51MB)

Later on in the evening, Ognir hosted the weekly roundtable discussion, with guests Hei Hu Quan, Mifune, and RCS.

Download the MP3 audio file (63M 23S; 17.33MB)