4th February 2001

Depleted Uranium Watch

To Government Standards 

Piotr Bein, piotr.bein@imag.net

Vancouver, Canada

A “leftist – Milosevic hysteria” or a deliberate cover-up by Pentagon and NATO? Developments so far cast a shadow of suspicion on the motive and conduct of NATO investigations regarding depleted uranium (DU) effects on soldiers who served in the Balkans. I remarked in an earlier article that criminals neither investigate, nor try, nor convict themselves. Finding evidence for the DU-illness connection became subject of a “process”. NATO “manages” it like it did the justification of “humanitarian interventions,” the bombing of civilians in the Balkans and Iraq, or ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. Bureaucracies know how to cover-up their own and corporate interests. There is a long track record of cover-ups by the military and the nuclear industry. Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 was one case.

From the Annals of Nuke Cover-ups

Dr. Rosalie Bertell, a renowned epidemiologist and an expert on the health effects of low level radiation, delivered a statement on July 10th, 1998 concerning the ongoing cover-up of the 1979 Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear reactor accident. As the President of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, she publicly addressed President Carter. The tools used then are worth bringing to the public attention in the present DU case.

Thirteen years earlier, the daughter-in-law of Admiral Hyman Rickover, “father” of the nuclear navy, testified about the cover-up of the TMI accident. In May 1983, Admiral Rickover told her he advised President Jimmy Carter that if the report about the accident was published in its entirety, it would have destroyed the civilian nuclear power industry.

“The accident at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous than was ever made public,” testified Jane Rickover. The admiral told his daughter-in-law that he used his “enormous personal influence” with President carter to persuade him to publish the report only in a highly “diluted” form. “In November 1985, my father-in-law told me that he had come to deeply regret his action in persuading President Carter to suppress the most alarming aspects of that report,” stated Jane Rickover.

Bertell found that the nuclear dose officially assigned to the public included only the dose after the meters were in place the third day after the accident. “Accident" meant that the government subtracted radiation dose received during the same time period in 1978 when the TMI reactors were all operating and there was Chinese nuclear test fallout. NATO “experts” doctored both the concentration of DU over Kosovo and the internal dose to an organ from an ingested particle of DU dust.

It might have been legally but not morally permissible to withhold the information about TMI accidental dose under national security law at the time, but after the Cold War, argued Bertell, it was no longer credible that the US government protected the nuclear industry at the cost of the lives and health of its citizens. Dr. Bertell demanded a full disclosure from Jimmy Carter.

President Carter set up the Blue Ribbon Panel to investigate the TMI accident. The members of this advisory public panel did not have FBI clearance, that is, they did not have full access to the truth about the accident, with the possible exception of Dr. Kemmeny who had worked on the Manhattan Project. Government staff did have the security clearance and were able to withhold any information their superiors wanted to declare "classified”.

Health effects of radiation could be concealed under the guise of national security at the time, since nuclear weapons program demanded that workers and soldiers handle radioactive material. One wonders if “security” reasons make the NATO brass and their subservient agents lie through the teeth, I mean “to project the truth” about DU.

The authorities never answered who was in charge of reactor operations during the accident. Lack of answers on the security clearance issue and who was the operator precipitated the dissolution of the entire advisory panel. The panel had never been invited to hearings in Washington. The Industry Advisory Council continued to function during the investigation. The present DU case eliminated public participation from the outset. All investigations are vested in either NATO or bodies such as UN that are controlled by NATO governments.

The nuclear industry has frustrated the litigation of all of the serious health claims of the TMI exposed people, in spite of the Supreme Court's ruling in 1997 that these claims must be heard. Lawyers for the nuclear industry were boasting that they were "invincible" before the Courts. They have managed to eliminate all of the expert witnesses which the victims had engaged to bring their cause before the Court, causing the cases to be dismissed for lack of witnesses. It has not come to this yet, but is likely, if the DU whistle-blowers were already intimidated and shot at.

Thousands of TMI accident victims have “not had their day in court!” stated outraged Bertell almost 20 years after the accident. This dismissal was accomplished through a judge's ruling, not through the court hearing which the people had been promised after the Supreme Court Ruling. “This is blatant violation of justice and of the human rights of the victims. It is especially abhorrent in the questions of health effects of radiation, a field of public health which was usurped by the nuclear physicists under the exigencies of potential nuclear war after World War II,” ended Dr. Bertell so fittingly to the present DU case.

Did Not See Any Reason

Former Pentagon expert on DU, Dr. Doug Rokke, who testified before the British House of Commons, has a litany of critique against the US authorities in a consistent cover-up of DU dangers. According to Rokke, the evidence about gruesome health and life effects of DU on civilians in the Persian Gulf was never allowed into the Western world. Attempts of Iraqi scientists to bring the problem forward met with a cold shoulder. At the same time, claims of the Gulf War veterans were “managed” as were complaints of civilians near DU shooting ranges and processing and manufacturing plants around the world.

No information regarding clean up of extensive DU contamination was ever given to Iraq, but Kuwait received the full package from the US. “Iraqi, Kosovo, and Serbian representatives have asked numerous times for DU contamination management and medical care procedures but they have been continuously rebuffed by US officials. Although residents of Vieques, who are US citizens, have also asked for medical care and completion of environmental remediation DoD officials have not responded and medical treatment of DU casualties,” testified Rokke.

Assistant Secretary of the Army Dr. Bernard Rostker said in 1999 that he did not see any reason why the US should tell anyone where DU was used in Kosovo. “Consequently military personnel and civilians have been exposed,” wrote Dr. Rokke in the testimony.

Despite Rokke’s January 1996 delivery of manuals on DU that he was commissioned by Pentagon to produce, “US Army, US Department of Defence, British, German, Canadian, and Australian officials disregarded repeated directives and did not implement or only have implemented portions of the training or management procedures,” according to Dr. Rokke.

Contrary to Rokke’s report, medical care was not provided to all DU casualties, environmental remediation was not completed, DU contaminated and damaged equipment and materials were recycled to manufacture new products, DU training and education was only partially implemented, and DU contamination management procedures were not distributed. These failures have been verified by US General Accounting Office investigative report of March 2000.

Science on the Go

“But the above is old stuff from Rokke, the government has surely changed since,” I hear the sceptic say. Nope!

Dr. Doug Rokke, one of a multitude of American military who were seriously exposed to DU in the Persian Gulf in 1991 wrote to the Internet on January 25th, 2001, “The DU medical program administrator for the US Department of Veterans Affairs […[ under Dr. Melissa McDiarmid […] is responsible for our medical care [but] only has 63 of us in the program. [McDiarmid] has not had me back for care since March 1999. She knows that I am sick and what has occurred. Melissa does not return my telephone calls even though I am her patient,” wrote Rokke.

Pentagon refuses to give the names of all exposed persons and systematically doctors “scientific” reports through manipulation from a high level. One forgery involved former Senator Warren Rudman and retired Rear Admiral Paul Steinman, who biased and censored a serious inquiry into the Pentagon’s handling of Gulf War illness, run by Dr. Bernard Rostker.

About the authors of DU reports from RAND, Rokke wrote recently that they participated in neither post-Gulf War recovery of damaged armour, nor in any tests of DU weapons. RAND report co-author Naomi Harley “never read any of the test reports until I sent [them] to her months after she wrote the report during January 2000. She never has talked to any of our physicians or see any of our medical records […] never treated any DU casualties […] refuses to help anyone obtain medical care.”

Dr. Rostker who is “managing” the DU science for Pentagon is a former RAND accountant, so it should not be surprising that RAND is his favourite “science” contractor for Pentagon. “As for most recent reports from OSAGWI and PSOB [Pentagon] changed my own reports and findings in their recent versions. They still wilfully ignore medical evidence,” revealed Rokke.

What did you expect? 

Not Stored Away

How are the governments so sure of “no link”? The contribution of other factors to the collection of “unexplained” illnesses of which Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo veterans have complained, is difficult to dissociate from DU poisoning. Governments spend our taxes to do useless uranium tests for sick Gulf War veterans. Uranium Medical Project (UMP) whose research lab is located at the University of Newfoundland in Canada, cuts through this nonsense.

Labs chosen by the government do not have the right equipment or methods and would not be able to detect the levels of uranium isotopes in the veterans. Many veterans from the UK, Canada and the US are waiting and many cannot afford to be tested unless the government will pay for proper tests. Veterans need  to know that the research will be done properly and subsequently published, not just stored away.

UMP scientists, Len Dietz and Dr. Asaf Durakovic do not wish to be part of a government contract that might compromise their science. They stated, however, that they might be willing to lend the lab facilities and expertise, but the government never asked for it. Durakovic fled his native USA from intimidation in order to continue independent research abroad and to help veterans contaminated with DU. UMP recently found a lab in Europe that has the required equipment and expertise to help with the research.

Dietz and Durakovic test for minute quantities left over in the body from inhaling DU ten years ago. “Veterans who breathed high levels of aerosolized DU could have incorporated it into their bones from where it is a released into the urine. The positive results we obtained from bones of a Canadian veteran Terry Riordon who died last year are evidence of this process […] supported by the medical literature,” state the scientists at the UMP website.

The Canadian military deemed UMP lab not "accredited". Commercial labs preferred by the government are “accredited” through an annual fee of $100,000. UMP research facility does not have money for “accreditation” dues in a club disguised by bureaucrats as ISO 9000 standard. None of the few comparable labs in Canada are ISO accredited and they don’t want to be involved in scientifically difficult and politically charged work. 

Findings

UMP analyzed uranium isotopes in urine and internal organs of ten randomly selected British and Canadian Gulf War veterans. Five of the ten samples demonstrated the concentrations of uranium 238 and 235 in the range of natural uranium and five were in the range of DU. Three of the positive DU samples were highly significant, which means chance did not play a role in the results.

Terry Riordon was diagnosed with Gulf War illness before he died. A post-mortem analysis of lung, kidney, liver, and bone from his body confirmed the presence of DU in bone tissue. The liver and kidney samples did not contain a significant amount of DU. This was in agreement with uranium distribution and retention in the body. Uranium tends to deposit in the skeletal tissue.

UMP findings agree with the clinical description of multiple complaints of Gulf War syndrome. Evidence of the presence of DU in the urine samples and internal organs of the contaminated Gulf War veterans points to DU as one of the possible causes of the Gulf War syndrome. The results were peer reviewed and presented at the European Association of Nuclear Medicine Conference in Paris on September 3rd, 2000, and were published in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Gulf War veteran Angus Parker from the British National Gulf Veterans and Families Association believes that testing of human tissue of civilians and soldiers who died or are sick of DU will provide the link to various forms of ill health, “I believe this is the one piece of the puzzle still not accounted for in peer review […] when this piece is provided it will end our battle.”

NATO country governments will do everything to prevent such testing and results going public. This is why they intimidated Dr. Durakovic and now are playing the ISO 9000 accreditation game.

Would a lab in a country independent of NATO offer to carry out the tests? Would NATO ad hoc committee on DU recommend to Lord Robertson that the country be bombed, or the lab up blown-up by NATO Special Operations? Or will this silly information war continue to the public’s disgust and detriment of the contaminated persons?

UN Covers Up

Superpowers exploit the UN in cover-up schemes. World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Environment Program (UNEP) that should protect the environment and health became accomplices to environmental extermination and genocide. On May 1st, 2000, three months after NATO had officially confirmed using DU munitions in Kosovo, Robert Parsons criticized UN and Pentagon for saying that there was too little information for firm conclusions but no cause for serious concern. “[A]nother episode in a game of hide-and-don't-tell that the U.S. government has been playing for years,” wrote Parsons.

NATO's admission alarmed aid agencies in Kosovo. WHO was asked to investigate, but it is obliged to give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the last word over subjects of radiation. A fact sheet being prepared on DU by WHO was cancelled. IAEA was set up in 1950s by the US and other nuclear powers to clear the nuclear industry of liabilities arising from radiation effects on the public.

A UN Balkans Task Force produced a report of serious DU contamination after 1991 NATO attack. UNEP director Klaus Toepfer suppressed it under pressure from Washington, but it eventually leaked out. UNEP brought out a major study again in October 1999, but on orders from Toepfer a long chapter on DU was chopped down to two pages. Alpha radiation from DU was not found because measuring was done using Geiger counters incapable of detecting it.

The task force had tried to involve WHO, but IAEA excluded them from the radiation appraisal. Faced with IAEA’s opposition, WHO embarked on a "generic" study of DU only as a heavy metal. It became known later that the study was under Dr. Michael Repacholi, an electro-magnetic field expert, who delegated it to Barry Smith, a geologist in England.

After six months’ delay by NATO, the Balkans Task Force report conclusions were played down. At a press conference, the task force chairman, former Finnish environmental minister Pekka Haavisto, disclosed a map of DU sites that was released by NATO at the time. But Toepfer's spokesperson, the man who had cut out 70 pages from the October report, not Haavisto's, orchestrated the event. The announced conclusion was, “no cause for serious concern.”

In response, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees quietly decided to refrain from sending pregnant staff to Kosovo. Those assigned there were given the option of going elsewhere. Those sent to Kosovo had a note put into the personnel files to facilitate compensation claims for possible illnesses from DU contamination.

Unlikely

NATO announced in January 2001 that WHO and UNEP confirmed no proof of connection between leukemia and DU, meaning that NATO DU weapons used on a mass scale since 1991 were not a health hazard. Strangely, the statement about UN findings came from Lord Robertson, as if UN was under the military pact.

The media quoted "experts affiliated with the WHO in Geneva" as being sceptical whether or not DU shells used in the Balkans had actually caused cases of leukemia. Those same experts had warned in a less publicized report that children playing in DU war zones could be in danger. The remains of tanks and military vehicles destroyed by DU shells and demolished factories were the most hazardous sites, according to UNEP.

Another ambiguous announcement from WHO in Geneva said that it was "unlikely that depleted-uranium ammunition used by NATO troops could have caused cancer," and that it was "unlikely" that exposure to DU "could have led to a higher risk of cancer among military personnel who served in the Balkan conflict." Having absolved NATO of responsibility for health hazards from DU, WHO intended to study cancer rate in “military personnel who served in the Gulf War or Balkans."

I guess thousands of children, and others in Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia, who died or are ill with a variety of diseases and birth defects, don’t fall under WHO jurisdiction.  

(copyleft: reproduce and acknowledge the source)

This page: http://www.stopnato.org.uk/du-watch/bein/standards.htm

 
 

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