British MoD Admits To Dangers Of DU – OpEd


By Peter Eyre

For more than two years, I have been knocking my head against a brick wall, trying to highlight the severe health hazards associated with the array of weapons being used by the US, UK, France and NATO partners.

We now see a change in the wind with the article published by the Guardian:

In one of my previous articles, I revealed a letter from the then Minister of Defence D. Liam Fox which clearly showed that although depleted uranium was acknowledged as a health hazard, he stated that our government would continue to use them.

This letter basically said that although the weapons and their fallout is a danger to our troops and the rest of humankind they will continue, even though the UN itself is now seriously considering removing them from our respective arsenals.

There is doubt, however, from my perspective because the government is not being totally open as to what weapons do contain DU and because of this factor alone I would be deeply suspicious of those in charge to carry out this promise.

I also think that such people as the current Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, and all those before him are now starting to realize that because they now know of the dangers of these weapons they themselves could be hauled through the International Court of Justice on war crimes as these weapons violate many aspects of the Geneva Convention.

Let’s just look again at those violations that DU imposes and how it moves around:

Cruise Missiles, Bunker Busters, JDAM and Hellfire Missiles (as used by the Predators and Apache Helicopters) are all in violation of the Geneva Convention based on the following criteria:

Depleted uranium weapons are recognized as radioactive poison gas weapons developed illegally under the Manhattan Project in World War II by the United States Government. Already illegal and in violation of the 1925 Geneva Poison Gas Protocol, in 1943 depleted uranium weapons were described as a “highly mobile indiscriminate killer and permanent terrain contaminant,” recommended for development in the declassified Manhattan Project memo dated October 30, 1943.

Leuren Moret (a US nuclear lab whistleblower) describes how DU violates the Geneva Convention:

depleted uranium poison gas weapons fail the “Territorial Test” because radioactive toxic aerosols they produce on the battlefield escape from and continue to act off of the battlefield.

The “Territorial Test” is one of four tests used to determine the legality of weapons under international humanitarian law, and requires that weapons must not leave the territory of the battlefield (territorial test), continue to act after the battle is over (temporal test), be unduly damaging to the environment (environmental test), and be unduly inhumane in causing death and suffering (humaneness test).

depleted uranium radioactive poison gas and particulates produced on the battlefield, including sub-micron sizes that are carried by air masses and rapidly become components of global atmospheric dust, leaving the area of the battlefield: indiscriminately, permanently, and cumulatively contaminating air, water, soil, food, and civilian populations at local, regional, and global distances from the battlefield.

Depleted uranium weapons fail the “Temporal Test” since they continue to act after the battle is over. depleted uranium radioactive poison gas and particulates including sub-micron sizes, have a half-life of 4.46 billion years. It takes ten half-lives (4.46 billion years ½ life for uranium 238) for small amounts of radioactivity to diminish to an insignificant amount. In the case of the high tonnage amounts of depleted uranium weapons used in Iraq since August 2, 1990, to the present, it will take longer than ten half-lives or more than 44.6 billion years for the global radioactive pollution from this pernicious poison to diminish.

I would add to Lauren’s comments that in the case of Libya they have fired well over 300 missiles that each contain around 350kg of DU in some shape or form which amounts to at least 105,000 kg…….if one can then imagine the millions of nanoparticles that are now in transit around the Mediterranean Region, UK, Europe and beyond. This is not counting all the other DU weapons such as bunker busters and bombs etc or the fact that secondary contamination is on going as the earths carpet of DU succumbs to secondary contamination by the movement of vehicles and strong winds such as sand storms etc.

Leuren’s account continues:

depleted uranium weapons fail the “Environmental Test” being unduly harmful to the local, regional, and global environment. The depleted uranium radioactive poison gas and particulates, including sub-micron sizes, unduly harm the environment by becoming globally mixed in one year, poisoning regional water sources where they are rained and snowed out into glaciers, lakes, and rivers such as in the Himalayas where the headwaters of nine major rivers of SE Asia originate. There are 1.3 billion people downstream from the Indus (Tibet, Pakistan, India), Ganga-Brahmaputra (India, Bangladesh), Yangtze (China), Yamuna (India), Ganges (India), Sutlej (Tibet, Punjab of India, Pakistan), Meghna (India, Bangladesh), Mekong (China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam), and the Ayeyarwady (Myanmar).

I could continue on forever giving an account as to how depleted uranium continues to violate the Geneva Convention but I think all of the above is ok as a starter.

Let’s just look at some of the snippets from the breaking Guardian story:

Armed forces minister sorry for misleading MPs over depleted uranium

The armed forces minister has been forced to apologize over misleading statements he made regarding the legality and dangers of depleted uranium weapons .

Nick Harvey admitted that he had inadvertently misled MPs about a ministry review that he said had concluded the weapons were permissible on humanitarian and environmental grounds under the Geneva conventions .

DU is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as waste by the nuclear power industry that is included in weapons because it is an extremely hard material capable of piercing armor. Once the frontline has moved on, however, it can contaminate the environment, and has been linked to health problems in civilian populations.

I would like to add to this article by saying it stays in the environment for a half life of 4.5 billion years and it contaminates our own troops which was not stated in the article.

The article went on to say:

In 1998, the UK government ratified additional protocol 1 of the Geneva conventions. Article 36 of that requires that all weapons are subject to a legal review to assess whether they are “capable of being used discriminately”, or cause “widespread and severe damage to the natural environment”.

It is clear that the above was purely lip service and nothing was done about it!!!

It further stated at the end:

The MoD made clear it would continue to retain its DU capability and was “considering options” for renewing the Charm3 propelling charges in 2013. But because of “public concerns” it had begun a legal review. “The use of depleted uranium within weapons is not prohibited under international agreements,” said a spokeswoman. “Until the review concludes, our position remains unchanged.”

At this stage I would clearly challenge the quote made above, “The use of depleted uranium within weapons is not prohibited under international agreements,” …….my question would be isn’t the Geneva Convention an International Agreement????

The only good news so far is that at last we are starting to see the truth come out….but do not expect too much to come out of this as almost all the main line weapons contain DU the list is endless…….believe me in the short to medium length future the contamination will continue……by this time the job will be done anyway and that is to depopulate in mass!

Press TV

Press TV is a state funded news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran and seeks to counter a western view on news.

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