By Stephen Lendman
09 July, 2011
As part of a Libya international observer team, Middle East analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya headlined his July 5 Global Research.ca article, “NATO War Crimes: Depleted Uranium Found in Libya by Scientists,” saying:
Sites targeted include “civilians and civilian infrastructure.” Scientists from the Surveying and Collecting Specimens and Laboratory Measuring Group confirmed “radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes) at bombed sites” from field surveys conducted. Scientific analysis was conducted at the Nuclear Energy Institution of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
It showed that “several sites contain even higher than expected doses of uranium,” including holes from NATO missiles and ordnance fragments. In interviews, Nazemroaya also said cluster bombs and other weapons are used freely in civilian neighborhoods targeting non-military sites.
Washington and NATO allies are using illegal “dirty bombs.”
In late March, the Stop the War Coalition said dozens of US, UK, and French launched bombs and missiles against Libya in the first 24 hours all had DU warheads. They continue to be used daily despite Pentagon and other governments’ denials.
On April 14, Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Conn Hallinan told Press TV that:
“The fact that the US is denying the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions is just nonsense.” When used against tanks, “enormous fireballs” are visible, a unique DU signature. As a result, “long-term consequences (for Libyans) are going to be severe.” More on that and DU munitions below.
On April 19, investigative journalist/author Dave Lindorff also told Press TV that strong evidence points to DU use, saying:
“The way some of these (armored) vehicles and tanks have been hit look like it’s pretty strong evidence that it is depleted uranium. It’s the kind of explosive burn that you get from that particular ammunition. And certainly the US has been flying A-10s, which generally use (DU) shells in their armaments.”
On June 6, historian/researcher Dr. Randy Short repeated the same charge, telling Press TV viewers that NATO targeted Tripoli residential areas with DU weapons, cluster bombs, and other illegal substances. Back from Tripoli, he said:
“I’ve been to one particular area….in which Seif al-Islam Gaddafi’s house is located, and in that community which was residential, I saw the damage to civilian homes.”
He added that high numbers of civilian deaths and injuries emboldened Libyans to resist Western imperialism.
On April 18, former Pentagon Depleted Uranium Project director Dr. Doug Rokke told Russia Today that DU struck areas can’t be decontaminated, saying it has a half-lfe of 4.5 billion years. As a result, it’s called “the silent killer that will never stop killing.”
He also said he “was watching ABC News (on April 15) and, lo and behold, there was a DU impact. It burned and burned and burned.”
During the 1991 Gulf War, Rokke was ordered to lie about its use and effects. It damaged his health, and most of his crew died from exposure. Nonetheless, “DU is so good against all types of targets that (the Pentagon) will never give it up.”
America is one of the few non-signatories to the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission’s DU ban. For over two decades, it’s contaminated vast areas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Serbia/Kosovo, Libya and other nations struck. Moreover, the Pentagon regularly uses other illegal terror weapons, including experimental ones tested in real time.
Former Lawrence Livermore Lab chemical physicist Marion Falk calls DU “the perfect weapon for killing lots of people,” adding that “depleted uranium missiles (and other weapons) fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way.”
On March 31, the UK Uranium Weapons Network and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament issued a joint news release headlined, “Fears grow over possible depleted uranium use in Libya,” saying:
Inhaling highly toxic/radioactive DU “is thought to be linked to the sharp increases in cancer rates and birth defects reported in affected areas,” as well as numerous other diseases.
Nonetheless, on March 28, Admiral William Gortney said, “We have employed A-10s and AC-130s over the weekend.” A-10 gunships use DU munitions against tanks, armored vehicles, and other targets, including residential neighborhood ones.
They fire 3,900 armor-piercing high explosive rounds per minute, spreading vast DU contamination. According to Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s general secretary Kate Hudson:
“Depleted uranium weapons are weapons of indiscriminate effect,” causing cancer, birth defects and other diseases. “Using them in built up areas in effect targets civilians. This runs counter to everything the coalition has claimed about protecting (them. It represents) an appalling step backwards. It is completely unacceptable – indeed illegal,” because of their long-term harm to human health.
Why America’s Military Uses DU Munitions
DU’s density enables it easily to penetrate targets and destroy them. They’re solid missiles, bombs, shells and bullets, weighing up to 5,000 pounds in a single “bunker buster” bomb.
Using solid DU projectiles or warheads, they’re used in all US war theaters, including indiscriminately against civilian targets. They’re de facto nuclear bombs, what major media reports won’t explain and Pentagon officials deny.
First developed by the Navy in 1968, Israel tested them under US supervision during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Later they were sold to 29 or more countries but never used until the 1991 Gulf War when America broke an international prohibition. Thereafter, thousands of tons contaminated air, water and soil in target zones and well beyond.
Although no international convention or treaty bans them, they’re de facto and de jure illegal under the 1907 Hague Convention, prohibiting “poison or poisoned weapons” use. Also, under the 1925 Geneva Protocol, as well as later Geneva and other conventions, specifically banning chemical, biological, and other poisoned weapons.
In all forms, DU is radioactive and chemically toxic, thus conforming to Hague’s poisonous weapons definition. Using them is thus a war crime.
Moreover, their use also meets the U.S. federal code definition of “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) in 2 of 3 categories:
[The US CODE, TITLE 50, CHAPTER 40, SECTION 2302 defines a Weapon of Mass Destruction as follows:
“The term ‘weapon of mass destruction’ means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”
Because America is a Hague and Geneva signatory, its own code is thus violated. Moreover, under other binding international laws, using weapons that cause post-battle environmental and human harm are illegal and prohibited.
Their greatest damage happens after use because they penetrate targets deeply, aerosolize into a fine spray, then spread permanent contamination over wide areas. Their microscopic and submicroscopic particles remain suspended or get swept into the air from tainted soil. Winds then carry them worldwide as radioactive components of atmospheric dust, settling indiscriminately far from strike zones.
As a result, countless millions have been irreparably harmed or killed, combatants and civilians. In fact, radiation poisoning causes virtually every imaginable illness from severe headaches, muscle pain, general fatigue, depression, and permanent disability to major birth defects, infections, cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer, and later deaths.
Libyans now face the same fate as Iraqis, Afghans, Serbians, Kosovars, and other victims of US aggression. It’s of no consequence for US political and Pentagon planners, spreading death, destruction, and human misery globally, not liberation and better lives because of American good will it never had and doesn’t now.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.by