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CADU NEWS 26
Case of the DU and the Joint Strike Fighter
The Human Cost of Uranium Weapons
Pushing at an Open Door?
Iraqs Environment Minister Blames DU for Cancer
Activist Murdered at Uranium Enrichment Plant Demo
Livermore Bomb Lab Seeks Bigger Blasts
Irish Church Condemns Airports Military Use
A Word From our Coordinator
Strange Case of the DU and the Joint Strike Fighter
A few weeks ago, CADU learned that the latest US-UK Big Defence
Project - the F35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), will be designed to
fire depleted uranium ammunition.
The three variants of the JSF - Joint Strike Fighter
This is not without precedent,
as the US Armys A10 Tankbuster aircraft and the US Navys
Harriers also fire DU rounds; the former being responsible for most of
the DU contamination in the Balkans. However, as yet the UK has managed
to avoid aircraft that fire DU. So it was a concerned CADU that drafted
a letter to the Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayson. His answer
was surprising and we shall come back to it later.
The JSF is apparently the largest military aircraft procurement scheme
in history, with the project extending well beyond the US and UK, although
they are the main players. In all, nine countries including the two mentioned
have ordered the aircraft.
The manufacturers claim that the three variants on the design will replace
many of the supersonic strike and ground attack fighters currently in
use. This includes the A10, which some now consider old for an aircraft.
Observant readers may be wondering how a supersonic jet will replace a
low level, low speed lumbering gunship like the A10 - rest assured, youre
The three main arms companies involved in the scheme are Lockheed Martin,
Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, although plenty of others will be picking
up minor contracts for technological components along the way. There has
already been some disquiet from the main partner country, the UK, over
the USs reluctance in handing over the software codes that will
allow engineers to make vital updates to the aircrafts computers;
but then we do have a special relationship.
In addition to being a platform for a selection of bombs and missiles,
the JSF will come with a cannon fitted as standard. Said cannon is a four-barreled
version of the DU armed GAU-12 Gatling Gun, which is fitted to US A10s,
and C130 Spooky Gunships.
Because of the DU ammunition,
the GAU-22A cannon has been worrying some of the JSFs prospective
customers.These include: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands
and Norway. None of these states currently uses DU ammunition and should
they decide to go ahead with it, it would push the number of DU user states
above 20 for the first time. However, in November 2006 it was reported
that Australia, Norway and Denmark were investigating alternative ammunition
options. These are likely to be tungsten-based composites.
As yet there is no non-DU round
available but it is thought that several customers have joined together
to develop an alternative; Austalias ADI, Rheinmetall subsidiary
Oerlikon and Norways Raufoss were due to present this alternative
to the US for testing at the end of 2006. Unfortunately, US legislation
demands that any round would need to undergo testing by the US Foreign
Comparative Test [FCT] programme. To add insult to injury, this will cost
states more than $30m.
Now then, back to what Lord
Drayson said: ...the UK currently has no requirement for a gun as
part of the weapons inventory for its JSF and therefore has no ammunition
requirement of either a DU or Tungsten nature.
As with the Eurofighter, it sounds as if the UKs cannon will be
replaced by a lump of concrete. JSF? Worth every penny.
The Human Cost of Uranium Weapons
CADU worker Doug Weir, also co-ordinator of the International Campaign
to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) helped put on a powerful exhibition of
photos in the European Parliament in early May. The black and white photos
were taken by Japanese photographer Naomi Toyoda. He has been covering
the story of Iraq since 1999 as a photojournalist and has become strongly
convinced of the link between the use of DU in the first Gulf War and
childrens cancers and leukaemia seen today. He says that for the
Japanese, the victims of DU are the new Hibakusha, (the name given to
the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs).
Photographer Naomi Toyoda. (Apolonia Lobo)
His photos were starkly beautiful
but deeply disturbing. They showed children, women and men of Iraq - and
one from the US - affected by DU poisoning. Victims of cancer or children
with birth malformations, all were portrayed with dignity and with great
Visitors shocked by the images. (Apolonia Lobo)
Many people came to see the
exhibition: MEPs, their research assistants, civil servants or diplomats.
No one could remain unmoved and more than one wept openly. They were tears
not just of pity, but of rage at those who had strewn this poison, DU,
so carelessly, so callously, across the land of Iraq.
MEPs Dr Caroline Lucas and Els de Groen who supported
the event. (Apolonia Lobo)
Dr Ali, the Senior Oncologist
at the Basra Teaching Hospital, filled out the story behind the photos
as we walked round. This woman was one of my patients. Her young
husband left her as the tumour on her neck grew, saying he hadnt
been told she had cancer. This little girl developed a cancer
not seen in one so young in your country. This little boy
loved football. We amputated one leg to try to save him, but he never
made it. This, pointing to a photo of an expanse of
tiny gravestones, with two despairing figures hunched over one of them,
is the childrens graveyard.
No-one whose memory has been
seared by the sight of these photos will ever forget them. No politicians
who have sanctioned the use of DU should be allowed to forget the harm
they have done.
The exhibition will be touring
European capitals over the next year, starting with Helsinki, Finland.
Geneva Lobbying: Pushing at an Open
The reception given to the four ICBUW delegates who visited Geneva following
the exhibition in Brussels was very encouraging. They were there to lobby
as many delegates to the Conference on Disarmament as possible about the
next step in the campaign to seek the abolition of depleted uranium weapons.
The ambassadors had been well prepared by CADUs worker, Doug Weir,
who had sent them lots of well-researched information about the nature
and dangers of DU weapons and a copy of the resolution ICBUW wants them
to support at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly
in the autumn.
Delegates, frustrated by the
stalling manoeuvres of the nuclear weapons states at the Conference on
Disarmament were frankly enthusiastic at the prospect of being able to
make some progress on any sort of disarmament measure.
Time - and the limitations
of funds (all were self financed) - only allowed the ICBUW representatives
to visit the embassies of Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Italy, Sweden, South
Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. Only the latter was non-committal
about supporting the resolution. (This may have had something to do with
the closeness of their relations with the United States, users, of course,
of DU weapons.)
The others varied from cautious
support to a warm welcome. This resolution is absolutely in line
with our governments thinking enthused one diplomat. Another
revealed that the military in his country doesnt buy DU, doesnt
use it and doesnt want it! Another compared the use of DU
to the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and more than one was reminded by
the evidence of DUs harmful health effects of the plight of the
Hibakusha, the Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings. Those who lived
in Nuclear Free Zones were very proud of this status, and as a step to
a DU free world, some delegates were keen on the idea of creating DU Free
However, as was to be expected,
all the diplomats had to refer the matter to their political masters at
home for a final decision. One country offered to lead on
the presentation of this issue, subject to his capital city agreeing,
but much more work is needed to guarantee the support of many other nations
for the resolution if it is to be successful.
(Please see the ICBUW website
for the text of the resolution that we aim to put to the UN General Assembly.)
Environment Minister Blames DU for Cancer Epidemic
Iraq: Speaking in Cairo on July 23rd, Iraq's environment minister
blamed the use of depleted uranium weapons by U.S. forces during the 2003
Operation Shock and Awe for the current surge in cancer cases across the
As a result of "at least
350 sites in Iraq being contaminated during bombing" with depleted
uranium (DU) weapons, Nermin Othman said, the nation is facing about 140,000
cases of cancer, with 7,000 to 8,000 new ones registered each year.
Iraqi Environment Minister Dr Mishkat Moumin
Speaking at a ministerial meeting of the Arab League, she also complained
that many chemical plants and oil facilities had been destroyed during
the two military campaigns since the 1990s, but the ecological consequences
"Our ministry is fledgling,
and we need international support; notably, we need laboratories to better
monitor air and water contamination," she said.
No major clean-up or public
awareness campaigns have been reported in Iraq.
This is thought to be the first
time that a member of the Iraqi Government has spoken out against DU.
In our experience, Iraqi diplomats have been unwilling to discuss the
issue with ICBUW representatives. CADU had suspected this was due to pressure
from the US.
Activist Murdered at Uranium Enrichment Plant Demo
Russia: In the early morning of 21st July, neo-nazi skinheads launched
a vicious and unprovoked attack on an anti-nuclear protest camp in Angarsk,
The nazis violently attacked
activists in their sleeping bags and tents with iron rods, knives and
air pressure guns. 21-year-old Ilya Borodaenko from Nachodka suffered
a head-fracture during the attack and later died in hospital from his
injuries. At least nine others have been reported to be seriously injured,
one of whom has had both legs broken. Tents were set on fire and several
belongings were stolen.
The camp had started the week
before and was aimed at protesting against a planned centre of uranium
enrichment in Angarsk. Ever since the arrival of the activists, the police
tried to intimidate them and had entered the camp in an attempt to gather
information about planned actions. The organisation who planned the camp,
the 'Ecological Wave of Baikal', had planned various rallies in the surrounding
area to inform locals about the plans and drum up support for the campaign.
Although the protesters knew
about the planned attack and had organised night guards, they were much
too few to stop the attack. Police said at least 15 assailants raided
the camp at the Yelovskoye Reservoir near the city of Angarsk. Police
claim that two attackers have been arrested, and at least 13 others have
Ros-Atom (the state agency for Russias nuclear industry) has plans
to establish an International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) at the
Angarsk uranium enrichment plant (AUEP) to supply fuel to Russian and
other nuclear power stations. The site is within the boundaries of the
town of Angarsk, 30 km from Irkutsk and 100 km from Lake Baikal, which
is the worlds deepest lake and classed by the UNESCO World Heritage
Committee as a World Natural Heritage Site. With neither a buffer safety
area nor radiation-control zone, campaigners say the new proposals pave
the way for another nuclear disaster.
One of the main points of debate
is that of the storage of nuclear waste. As Russia will produce uranium
fuel for many nations, it will be obligated to reclaim the spent nuclear
fuel once it is burned in foreign reactors. This is because many countries
have no or little nuclear storage space of their own. According to the
'Ecological Wave of Baikal', at present, waste in the form of depleted
uranium hexafluoride (DUH), produced as a result of uranium enrichment,
is kept at the Angarsk plant in storage casks in the open.
The 'Ecological Wave of Baikal' is one of a few groups who continue to
ask questions and in doing so have gathered an ever increasing number
of supporters within the local community. We declare a decisive
no to Rosatoms plans to build the International Uranium Enrichment
Centre in Angarsk, no to illegal imports from abroad of radioactive waste
in the form of uranium tailings to the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Combine,
reads a resolution issued by the No to Chernobyl at Baikal assembly which
took place in Irkutsk last December, drawing some 150 people. Eight thousand
signatures have already been collected in support of the movement.
Livermore Bomb Lab Seeks Bigger
US: The future of the infamous Lawrence Livermore Laboratorys
Site 300 hangs in the balance. On the one side, the Dept. of Energy (DOE)
is studying whether to terminate bomb testing activities at the contaminated
On the other side, the same DOE and its Livermore Lab are applying for
a new permit to increase bomb blasts at Site 300 indefinitely and to further
pollute the air, soil and water with up to 60 chemical and nuclear materials.
Then, too, any day now, the Dept. of Homeland Security will announce whether
Site 300 is on its "finalist" list to house one of the largest
bio-warfare agent research facilities in the world.
Concerned residents of Tracy, Livermore and surrounding areas are coming
forward to voice their concerns about increased bomb testing, the health
of their families and the viability of the environment in which we all
live. They are speaking as well of their hopes for a thorough cleanup
at Site 300 that will restore it and make it available for civilian uses.
Last year, the DOE budget request to Congress included language that hinted
toward an end to testing activities at Site 300. High level meetings conducted
at DOE Headquarters confirmed this positive direction. Officials stated
that testing at Site 300 was "duplicative and unnecessary" and
that residential encroachment made the site less viable as a high-explosives
testing range. This was said in light of the increase in population density
in Livermore, Tracy, and Mountain House and because of the 5,500
homes planned near the Site 300 fence line.
This is why the shock was so acute when the Livermore Lab announced plans
to increase annual explosive tests at the site 8-fold, from 1,000 to 8,000
pounds, and its daily limit more than 3-fold, from 100 to 350 pounds.
If the permit application is approved, the Lab could detonate up to 4,500
pounds of depleted uranium each year in open-air bomb tests with no control
technology to reduce airborne emissions. The permit would also allow open-air
testing with tritium, which is the radioactive hydrogen of the hydrogen
bomb, and scores of other toxic chemicals and gases.
The bomb blasts would be detonated on flat, above ground "firing
tables." Livermore Lab acknowledges that some of radioactive and
toxic materials would be released into the air, soil and water in surrounding
Over the years, Site 300 has become extremely contaminated, mostly due
to the past bomb blasts that have been conducted there. In 1990, Site
300 was placed on the EPA's Superfund list of most contaminated sites
in the country. Site 300 has a 2-mile long underground water plume polluted
by depleted uranium and tritium. Other contaminant plumes include perchlorate,
RDX and a toxic stew of other pollutants. The TCE plume in one area has
extended past the Site 300 boundary and under Corral Hollow Road and the
The laboratory had originally been granted these permits. Then, the permits
were revoked when a challenge revealed that the Lab's application lacked
vital data about the content of the blasts. The Lab has re-applied, bringing
us to "round two."
Irish Church Condemns Airports
Dublin: The Archbishop of Dublin, John Neill, has accused the Irish
government of "moral compromise" in allowing hundreds of thousands
of US troops to use Shannon airport while on transit flights to Iraq.
CADU reported that Shannon was being used to ship DU munitions in 2006
after allegations that the US flights breached Irelands neutral
The comments by the archbishop, the most senior Church of Ireland cleric
in the republic, follow debates during the election over the use of the
The issue was a key negotiating demand of the Green party in coalition
negotiations with Fianna Fáil over forming a new government last
month. But the party failed to get the US troop flights banned.
Archbishop Neill told Dublin's Hot Press magazine: "I feel very strongly
that economic links to America have made us very blind to the moral issues
... I think as a nation there has not been sufficient questioning of these
[alleged CIA] rendition flights and the link of Ireland with the war in
The Fianna Fáil-led government in Dublin has shown nervousness
about Shannon, summoning the US ambassador when airport cleaners found
a manacled US prisoner - a soldier on disciplinary charges - aboard a
hired troop transporter. US authorities had failed to notify the Irish
government of his presence.
It has been another busy few months for CADU, with our responsibilities
with the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) taking
centre stage. As you will have seen on page two, the Human Cost of Uranium
Weapons exhibition was a great success, largely as a result of the incredibly
powerful images captured by Japanese photographer Naomi Toyoda. However,
none of it would have been possible without the incredible support of
the Green MEPs of the European Free Alliance and the Belgian Coalition
Ban Uranium Weapons to whom we are extremely grateful.
The exhibition was coupled
with a day of talks with speakers from around the world, including our
good friends Drs Al-Ali from Basra and Fasy from New York. EUROMIL - the
European military super union - were also present and most
welcome. They have recently issued a new position statement on DU that
backs ICBUWs call for a ban which is available from: http://tinyurl.com/322wjx
Their support sends a powerful
message to politicians that we are working with the military on this issue,
something that the landmine and cluster munition campaigns found invaluable.
Following the exhibition, CADU
members Rae Street and Pat Sanchez went straight from Brussels to Geneva
for two days of intense lobbying with national delegations at the Committee
on Disarmament. As ever, there seems to be some disparity between the
interests of state representatives and those of their states. While we
have managed to amass the support of several nations, we are still searching
for the all important sponsor state that is willing to invest time in
inter-governmental lobbying on ICBUWs behalf. Until we reach that
point lobbying will continue to be an uphill battle.
One of the key lessons the
last few months has shown us is the need for greater financial resources.
The ICBUW Steering Group members who visited Brussels and Geneva did so
at their own expense. But lobbying at this level cannot be done on the
cheap, and a permenant office in a disarmament power centre such as Geneva
would make life a great deal easier.
Unfortunately there is no easy solution and it will no doubt remain an
issue for some time.
In an effort to boost CADUs
coffers, I am working with Greater Manchester CND on their property lock-up
scheme at three festivals this summer. The money will be a welcome addition
but it is still a relatively modest contribution to our running costs.
This October, ICBUW will be heading to New York where we will hold a two-day
event at the UN Church Centre, just opposite the United Nations. The meeting
will coincide with the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, and
should we have a state sponsor by then, we will seek to introduce our
Draft Resolution asking for a re-assessment of DU and its hazards, as
a first step towards a DU Treaty.
We will soon confirm what we
hope to be a fantastic list of speakers and experts at the New York event.
We already have support from Dr Rosalie Bertell, Congressman Jim McDermott,
Diane Stearns and many others. Further details will be posted on the CADU
and ICBUW websites as soon as we have them.
Looking even further ahead,
we have a very special event planned for the ICBUW International Day of
Action that we will need your help for, so please put the 6th November
in your diaries and keep it free! More information will follow soon but
we are hoping for a truly global event.
A Word From our Coordinator
Firstly, I want to thank all
our supporters. It is mainly because of you we have been able to build
such a strong campaign against DU weapons in the few years CADU has existed.
However, we certainly cannot
relax, as it is still the case that DU weapons are being manufactured
and traded. Meanwhile the suffering continues, as can be seen clearly
in the brief accounts of the exhibition The Human Cost of Uranium
From 2003, when the International
Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) was established, the campaign
has gone from strength to strength. Notable milestones include the European
Parliament passing three resolutions for a moratorium on the use of DU
weapons, most recently calling for a ban. Early in 2007, the Belgian Parliament
voted unanimously for the passage of legislation banning DU weapons .We
plan to carry the work forward to achieve a UN treaty banning the weapons
From the above, it will be
seen that we do need a central office and a paid worker to coordinate
the work. ICBUW now shares a very small office space, in Manchester, with
CADU and CND.
At the moment we are fortunate to have in post Doug Weir, a scientist
by background who is also a trained journalist. His input into the work
in the last few years has been invaluable.
Unfortunately, at this moment
we only have enough money for a few more months to employ a worker for
one day a week. We would like to make this a guaranteed income and a safer
post for the worker. We can only contrast the minute sums of money involved
with the high salaries, for example, earned by managers in the arms industries
It would be of great help
if you could donate a regular sum each month, £4 would help: £8
would cheer us all as 10 donors would contribute to a days salary
a week and overheads.
To contribute please complete
the standing order form overleaf. If you have any queries, do get in touch.
Looking forward to hearing
/ours very sincerely,
Rae Street CADU and the ICBUW
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