Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

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CADU NEWS 18
September 2004

Contents
Coming Soon - The Third International Day of Action
Launch of International Petition Campaign
UK DU Test for Veterans "Too Little, Too Late"
Leading Radiation Scientist Speaks Out On Government Scientists Downplaying DU Risks
Exemption to Labeling of DU Munitions Not Renewed
Civilian DU Worker Wins Legal Aid to Sue Honeywell
Independent Gulf War Syndrome Inquiry in London
Italy: Justice for a veteran's family in DU related case
New Paper from Dr. Rosalie Bertell
Free Huda Ammash
Vieques Bomb Targets Proposed for Superfund Listing
UNEP to Study Environmental Hotspots in Iraq
DU Round Found on Military Base Where it Was 'Never Used'
Draft Convention to Ban Uranium Weapons Now Ready
CERRIE Fails to Find Agreement
CADU at the Boston Social Forum
Support CADU Through Using Your Telephone!
A Message to All CADU Supporters

Coming Soon - The Third International Day of Action

November 6th will see the International Day of Action to Ban Uranium Weapons.
Long term CADU supporters will remember the success of the last two years' International Days of Action Against Depleted Uranium Weapons, in which actions took place all over the world. This year the day will have an even more international flavour as it is being supported through the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW), of which CADU is a founding member.

November 6 has been set by UN as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. ICBUW is therefore asking all groups and individuals to organise actions to ban uranium weapons. Just having a small-scale study meeting or doing a one-person petition on the street will contribute a lot to gathering momentum for the international campaign. So please join us!

So far actions are being planned by groups in Belgium, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, The Netherlands and the United States. To give you some ideas here are a selection of what is being planned:

In Belgium the Belgian Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons will visit the Prime Minister, and the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs, to hand over a copy of collected petition signatures.

In Italy PeaceLink are organising a march and event in Florence for soldiers and their families, scientists and people from Iraq and Bosnia to tell their stories.

In Japan the NO DU Hiroshima Project are organising a gathering at a park by the A-bomb Dome in Hiroshima, with music performance and speeches as well as a mini photo-exhibition on the Iraq war and the DU damage.

In Manchester we at CADU are organising a public meeting in Manchester on November 3rd and on November 6th we will be having a stall and some street theatre in Manchester City Centre. We would love people to come and be involved with us or to organise their own actions. We can supply leaflets and publicity materials for groups and individuals who are interested. If you are interested please contact us at 0161 273 8292 or email us at info@cadu.org.uk

Launch of International Petition Campaign

ICBUW has launched an international petition to ban uranium weapons. It can be signed online at www.bandepleteduranium.org or paper copies are available from CADU (maybe having a stall and collecting signatures would be a good event for the Day of Action?). Please sign it yourself right away and urge your friends to do so, too.

This petition campaign will continue until the realisation of a treaty to ban uranium weapons, but we have set our first deadline on February 15, 2005, so that we can appeal to the EU Parliament or to the UN Disarmament Committee to be held in Geneva next spring.

The petition states:

We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!

We call for your support to demand:

1. An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.
2. Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.
3. Health surveys of the 'depleted' uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.
4. Medical treatment and compensation for the 'depleted' uranium victims.
5. An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.
6. A Convention for a Total Ban on Uranium Weapons.

UK DU Test for Veterans "Too Little, Too Late"

The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association has accused the Ministry of Defence of deliberately dragging its feet in waiting 14 years to implement a screening test to detect uranium in the bodies of Gulf war soldiers.

After the announcement by the MoD that a new test would be offered to 500 military and civilian personnel who served in the Gulf war, veterans are saying that the procedure is too little, too late for the thousands who have suffered unexplained ill-health for years.

Many veterans who had been exposed to radiation from battlefield shells believe they may have levels of depleted uranium in their bodies that can no longer be detected, and that may have caused kidney failure or leukaemia.

The MoD set up an independent committee of scientists' and veterans' representatives in 2001 - the Depleted Uranium Oversight Board - to develop a screening process.

Three years later, they are ready to take applications from those who served in the Gulf area between August 1990 and July 31 1991. The test will also be made available to those who served in Kosovo from August 5 1994. The results will take three months to come back.

The four clinics at which testing will be done are St Thomas' hospital in London, the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Southmead Hospital in Bristol and the University of North Tees in Stockton-on-Tees.

Leading Radiation Scientist Speaks Out On Government Scientists Downplaying DU Risks

Dr Keith Baverstock the World Health Organisation's senior radiation adviser in Europe spoke out at a conference on low level radiation in Edinburgh, about the pressures to ignore the dangers posed by radioactivity. Using examples of compensation to veterans of nuclear tests and DU weapons he argued that by downplaying the risks from radiation, government agencies had undermined public trust in science and technology.

As reported in CADU News 17 Dr Baverstock wrote a paper while at the WHO on the cancer risk posed by DU weapons which was suppressed. In Edinburgh he explained that he outlined in the paper possible mechanisms by which DU posed a cancer risk that were ignored by the International Committee on Radiation Protection (ICRP), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Authority.

He argued that insoluble DU retained in the lung over a long period can cause 'genotoxicity', through a combination of its radioactive and chemical properties. The uranium binds to DNA and proteins and is slowly transferred from the lung tissue to the blood, from where it can move around the body, particularly to the bones, before finally being excreted to the kidney. Another potential cancer risk is from the 'bystander' effect, which shows that irradiated cells pass on damage to surrounding healthy cells.

"When the WHO were advised of these potential mechanisms they ignored the information in the preparation of a Monograph on the health effects of DU published in 2001 and subsequently suppressed the publication of a paper postulating these three mechanisms." Baverstock argued. "In an ideal world the WHO would have alerted the IAEA and ICRP to the potential hazard of DU oxide dusts in Iraq."

His paper is now available online at http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/DU-Radiological-Toxicity-WHO5nov01.htm or is available in paper format from the CADU office.

Exemption to Labeling of DU Munitions Not Renewed

In CADU News 16 we reported on a campaign by US groups to force labelling of DU munitions in transportation. Previously DU munitions were subject to a special U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) exemption, DOT-E 9649, which allows the shipment of depleted uranium munitions without a DOT "Radioactive" placard displayed on the shipment. This potentially put emergency services and the public at risk as responding services would not have known to implement special protective measures in case of an accident. The exemption ran out on the 30th June and so far has not been renewed, although the U.S. Army Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC, formerly MTMC), which manages the shipment of depleted uranium munitions, has been granted a time extension in order to provide information requested by the DOT. Campaigners are still being urged to send letters to the Department of Transportation to ensure a future exemption is ruled out.
For more information see: http://www.traprockpeace.org/

Civilian DU Worker Wins Legal Aid to Sue Honeywell

A civil engineer in the aerospace industry in Yeovil, UK, Mr Richard 'Nibby David', has won legal aid to take his case to the High Court. The case will be heard from the 6th to the 17th December 2004. The awarding of legal aid in a personal injury case is extremely unusual, but Mr David's case was judged to be "in the wider public interest".

From 1985 to 1995, Richard 'Nibby' David worked as a civil engineer in the aerospace industry in Yeovil, UK, for the company Normalair Garrett, now owned by the US company Honeywell. Mr David suffers from severe illnesses, which he claims he contracted on the work floor, handling aircraft components containg DU .

One of the proofs of the effects of possible poisoning with DU was delivered by Dr. W. Hoffman of the Bremen Institute for Prevention, Research and Social Medicine, who carried out tests which proved Nibby to have an increased rate of dicentric and ring chromosome mutations in his lymphocytes. These mutations are known to be caused by exposure to ionising radiation.

Subsequent genetic examination and analysis was done by Dr. Beaman at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. It showed Mr. David had developed the exceedingly rare Gitelmans syndrome. This is a genetic condition which affects the kidneys from birth and depends on the genes involved being inherited from both the mother and the father (in itself a rare occurrence). Usually the syndrome is active from birth, but Mr. David developed it in his 40's. Dr. Beaman says the actual cause of the genetic mutation and mature onset is out of his range of expertise.

The hearing was originally scheduled for October but has been postponed in order to allow more time to compile the evidence. The NDDU DU Support Group has been set up to help Mr David. To make a donation or to find out more about Mr David's case please visit www.bandepleteduranium.org where details of how to donate online are given.

Independent Gulf War Syndrome Inquiry in London

An independent inquiry into Gulf War Syndrome has been set up in London to establish the facts about Gulf war illnesses and resolve the long-standing dispute over their causes. The independent inquiry is funded by an anonymous donor and headed by former law lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick.

The inquiry will consider all aspects of potential harm to soldiers, including vaccines, chemical weapons and depleted uranium. The announcement of the inquiry has been very embarrassing for the government which has always refused to hold a public inquiry. The Government responded by saying it would be inappropriate for ministers to give evidence and by writing to scientists paid to research illnesses in veterans warning them not to reveal ongoing findings.

The kind of obstructive behaviour shows the arrogance of the government, more interested in saving face than finding the truth about what happened to soldiers who served in the war.

Lord Lloyd will announce shortly when he will reveal his findings.

Italy: Justice for a veteran's family in DU
related case

A court in Rome ordered the Italian Ministry of Defence to compensate the family of Stefano Melone, a soldier who died of a malignant vascular tumour. According to the court, Mr Melone's death was "due to exposure to radioactive and carcinogen substances" on missions in the Balkans.

Stefano Melone was suddenly, in February 2000, diagnosed with cancer (Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma of the bone, lung and pleura). In August 2000 a military commission acknowledged the link between his illness and the military service abroad, so he applied for a pension. However, after many surgical operations, he died on 8th November 2001 in Milan, at the age of 40.

Since then, his wife has been engaged in a battle to obtain compensation from the Ministry of Defence, together with many other soldiers and families in similar situations. Before dying, Stefano had asked his wife to do this, so that their children and all the other families could safeguard a future in spite of the terrible pain and loss. To date, 27 Italian soldiers have died of lymphoma, cancer or leukaemia, and 260 are currently ill, after their missions abroad. Many of these missions took place in countries where DU has been used, including Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

After three reports and many mistakes, a commission nominated by the Ministry of Defence, has eventually acknowledged an increase in lymphoma among soldiers assigned to missions in the Balkans. In spite of that, the Italian Ministry of Defence refuses to give compensation to their families, let alone to admit that DU has a role in these cases. Hardly any information is given to soldiers currently on missions abroad about the risks the are facing, and whoever complains about this lack of information is treated as a traitor and marginalised. It is too expensive and difficult to obtain medical tests and therapies for these kinds of health problems. Only a few soldiers or families have the courage to stand up and ask for compensation after illness or death.

On the 26th of June, in Rome, the magistrates of a local court have ruled that the Ministry of Defence must pay 500.000 Euros in compensation to Stefano Melone's family.

By Francesco Iannuzzelli of Peacelink, Italy (http://www.peacelink.it/).

New Paper from Dr. Rosalie Bertell

As her testimony to the Hiroshima World Tribunal on Iraq the wonderful Dr Rosalie Bertell has written a new paper "The Use of DU Weapons in War". It is available from the CADU website and in paper form from the office

Free Huda Ammash

Female Iraqi scientist Huda Ammash has been held by US forces after claims that she was involved in Iraq's WMD programme. Now that the Iraq Survey Group has found that there were no missiles, or indeed WMD programmes, CADU believes Dr Ammash, who in the past has spoken out about DU, must be released. CADU opposes all imprisonment without trial or evidence.

Vieques Bomb Targets Proposed for Superfund Listing

The Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Area (AFWTA) on and around the islands of Vieques and Culebra, Puerto Rico used for live fire training for 100 years may soon be declared a Superfund site. Responding to the request of Puerto Rico Governor Sila Calderon, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday proposed to add the area to the list of the country's most contaminated hazardous waste sites.

The listing would make the site eligible for federal cleanup funding. Contaminants of the land and water may include depleted uranium, mercury, lead, copper, magnesium, lithium, perchlorate, TNT, napalm, PCBs, solvents and pesticides, the EPA said. Protesters camped, demonstrated and were arrested repeatedly until the Navy agreed to cease the live fire practice in 2003.

UNEP to Study Environmental Hotspots in Iraq

Since the attack on Iraq in 2003 the United Nations Environmental Programme has been wanting to go into Iraq to study the environmental effects of the conflict. The United States and UK governments have not allowed this to happen, citing the security situation as the reason. UNEP has now announced a revised programme by which it will work with Iraqi scientists, from the Iraqi Ministry of the Environment, to carry out a study of a variety of environmental hotspots in Iraq and samples will be sent back to Europe for analysis.

The study of depleted uranium is conspicuously missing from the press release announcing the project, which cites other areas of concern such as sulphur mines and chemical refinery sites. However in an interview with Pekka Haavisto, 46, a former Finnish environment minister who now chairs the U.N. Environment Program's post-conflict environmental-assessments task force on Iraq, said "And of course, DU also is a concern, because some of these vehicles, especially tanks, may have been targeted with DU weapons. Our experience from the Balkans is you have to clean the DU from the tanks before you recycle the metal. This is a high priority....Then if you speak of the Gulf War of 1991, there are figures indicating that up to 280 tons of DU munitions were used. If you compare that with Kosovo, where 9 tons of DU was used, and with Bosnia where 3 tons was fired, the amount used in Iraq is quite big.

DU Round Found on Military Base Where it Was 'Never Used'

Army contractors uncovered a DU round at the Cape Edwards military, New England, USA, base. Army officials have long said DU was never fired on Camp Edwards. But some Upper Cape base activists said the military didn't always monitor defense contractors who improved and developed weapons.

Investigators concluded it was a depleted uranium round after testing it with a machine that measures radioactivity, said groundwater program manager Kent "Hap" Gonser. James Kinney of Sandwich, a member of the citizen panel that monitors the Camp Edwards cleanup, "I don't think anyone just happened to have one depleted uranium round out there that fell out of their pocket," Kinney said. "If there was one, I'm sure there were more." It makes us wonder how many other military bases have used DU in secret?

Draft Convention to Ban Uranium Weapons Now Ready

A draft convention to ban uranium weapons has now been prepared by Manfred Mohr and A. Samsel of IALANA. The convention has been adopted by ICBUW and can now be used in campaigning work to advance its progress into the United Nations as a treaty. Entitled a "Draft Convention on the prohibition of development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of uranium weapons and on their destruction".

The Draft Convention contains a general and comprehensive prohibition of the development, production, transport, storage, possession, transfer and use of uranium ammunition, uranium armour-plate and of any other military use of uranium. The Convention also outlines obligations concerning the abolition of uranium weapons and the destruction of uranium weapons construction facilities.

The Convention obliges signatories to decontaminate or to ensure a rapid decontamination of contaminated areas at most five years after its entry into force, emphasising the protection of and assistance to civilians living in these areas. Each State Party that uses uranium weapons in a conflict is responsible for the consequences, including compensation of the victims.

Please contact CADU for more details.

CERRIE Fails to Find Agreement

The Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters (CERRIE), which was set up by former environment minister Michael Meacher to review models used to estimate health risks from radioactive materials, has failed to include the minority report of dissenting scientists from 'The Low Level Radiation Campaign' (LLRC). Scientists representing Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth were among those who agreed not to include the opinion of LLRC and the exact reasons their opinion was not included are not clear at this point.

Michael Meacher has reacted angrily to the news, accusing the final report of giving a one-sided establishment opinion. What is clear is that the failure of CERRIE to reach a position on the dangers of low level radiation is a grave disappointment for all those who campaign on the issue and were hoping it represented a unique opportunity for an authoritative new understanding of the issue. The minority report is being released by LLRC and copies can be obtained by emailing bramhall@llrc.org

CADU at the Boston Social Forum

This July I was invited to speak at the International Peace Conference which was organised by the American Friends' Service Committee and our friend Joseph Gerson. At the same event, US groups had organised a workshop on DU and kindly invited me to speak and share in the workshop.

I explained the history of our own organisation and the progress we were making in the UK, not to mention our dismay when we knew that the UK and the US had again dared to use DU in the recent Gulf War. I was also keen to emphasise the international character of the campaign now and the strength of the newly formed ICBUW. It was so useful to be meeting up in the US with our campaigning friends there; after all it is only the US and the UK governments who have used these radiological weapons. It was so cold in Boston that all the meeting rooms were chilly, but I was told even the air conditioning couldn't be adjusted!

This is even more chilling when you consider the advanced technological weapons the US military has under its command...But the workshop got a good audience with some new folks to the campaign. Our thanks to the Military Toxics Project for setting up the meeting.
Rae Street- CADU

Support CADU Through Using Your Telephone!

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A Message to All CADU Supporters

CADU is very pleased to announce that we have received funding for a part time worker from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Limited. This gives us the security to carry on planning our work for the year ahead. As our supporters know the last year has been a difficult time for CADU financially and without donations from individuals and groups we would not have been able to carry on. Thank you for all your support over the years which has allowed us to reach the position we have.

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