This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.The Threat of Depleted Uranium Exposure - It's Real, Deadly and Covered up by the Pentagon and VA - by Stephen Lendman
The Pentagon must surely believe the old but very foolish saying that what you don't know won't hurt you. To prove it they nearly always go to great lengths to conceal what they do know so we won't find out. That's especially true when what they know is bad news or hazardous to our health or that of our troops. That's certainly the case regarding the real and deadly threat from exposure to the toxic effects of depleted uranium (DU) poisoning. The public has precious little information about this crucial issue because it's been willfully and deliberately suppressed to conceal just how potentially great and irreversible a threat it is.
Is it any wonder then that most of those people who've heard about DU have been seduced by the Pentagon cover-up and stream of lies and are taken in enough by them to believe what little information they hear and read in the mainstream. I know those individuals never heard of one of the two greatest and most highly esteemed US print journalists of the last century. His name was I.F. Stone, and I've read nearly all his important books. Stone once told a class of aspiring journalists always to remember "All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed." Another time he simply said "All governments lie." If I were asked to address a group of students, I'd be even more emphatic than Stone and say governments only lie and never tell the public the truth, especially about the most important issues affecting us all. I'd also quote Stone and recommend the students paste his maxim to their bathroom mirrors so they never forget it.
I know of nothing more dangerous to a free society than a deficit of real information on the most vital issues affecting everyone. It's impossible getting it from government sources or the dominant corporate media in league with them because supplying us with it would subvert their interests. It's true on all important issues without exception. So, if the public knew the full truth about the potentially nightmarish effects of exposure to DU munitions that will only likely get worse unless exposed and stopped, it would be impossible for the Pentagon to continue using them. Only their cover-up has allowed them to be able to recklessly and criminally use them in four wars since 1991 including the two of them ongoing now. And they couldn't possibly ever consider raising the stakes further, as they now have claimed the exclusive right to do, to fight future wars with industrial strength nuclear weapons that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.
What we already know about the deadly effects of DU munitions use alone is clear and growing, unreported in the dominant media, and thus largely concealed from the public. Those unaware of it, taken in by Pentagon propaganda, or choosing to ignore the few facts about it they do know should welcome and praise the impressive work done on this issue by Irving Wesley Hall. He's a man I personally know and have had contact with. I've also collaborated with him as he was preparing his extremely important series of articles on this growing menace that may eventually affect everyone. Irving has made an important contribution, and I respect and admire him greatly for it. His articles should be widely read and those doing it should encourage others to read them as well for their own safety and welfare. Having written on this subject myself, I know from my own research how valuable Irving's work is to expanding the knowledge base about DU and its harmful effects.
Depleted uranium is a derivative of the uranium enrichment process required to produce fuel for commercial reactors. This process is then followed by gaseous diffusion in two streams - one is enriched and the other depleted. Before a use was found for it, DU was just stored in vast amounts as a byproduct. All that changed when it was discovered that solid "dense metal" DU projectiles (in all forms) greatly increased their ability to penetrate and destroy a target. That was irresistible to the Pentagon that wanted to use them in bullets, bombs, shells and missiles and now has done so freely in four wars since they were first used in the Gulf war in 1991 (except for one test in the 1973 Yom Kippur war).
There's a problem with these weapons, however - a serious downside never discussed and which great pains are taken to conceal. These weapons in all their forms leave in their wake an irremediable irradiated and chemically toxic landscape far more deadly than the death and destruction to the targets struck. How deadly and toxic the fallout is varies only with the amount of these weapons used. Hundreds of tons of them were used beginning for the first time in the Gulf war in 1991. A likely similar amount was used again in Yugoslavia in 1999 and up to 1,000 or more tons so far in Afghanistan since 2001. Any use of these weapons is reckless and was effectively banned by common consent (and common sense) and never used until 1991 in Iraq (except for that one test). However, their usage ballooned in successive wars to over 3,000 tons so far since the US introduced them on a large and sustained scale again in Iraq in March, 2003.
Put in perspective, since first used in 1991, the US military has willfully and criminally spread deadly toxic radiation across a vast area of three countries as well as everywhere else affected by the fallout. It's caused permanent irremediable contamination with a half-life of 4.5 billion years or forever by my reckoning.
One more important fact is these numbers increase daily as since last December US forces have been conducting four to six daily bombings of target sites in Iraq alone that we know about using DU munitions and an unknown likely less frequent number in Afghanistan. We also have a new terror weapon we claim the right to use routinely called "bunker-buster mini nukes" that aren't mini but sure are nukes. These are industrial strength nuclear bombs that can be produced to any desired potency but are likely to be used in strengths of between one-third to two-thirds the destructive force of a Hiroshima bomb. Pentagon propaganda falsely says these are little more than king-sized hand grenades that are perfectly safe when used as designed. They're supposed to penetrate a target site deeply before exploding on the false theory that their radiation will be contained underground and thus are environmentally safe. Testing of these bombs are planned in the Nevada desert and may be now underway, but at least one already carried out and observed proves otherwise. What was seen on explosion is hardly reassuring that the toxic fallout will be contained when used in combat. Clearly visible was a huge black mushroom-shaped cloud (sound familiar) that rose thousands of feet in the air and was shown to be deadly and toxic when ground radiation measurements were taken following at least this one test. There may have been others as well we haven't heard about.
The Pentagon always deliberately spreads false and misleading information on its controversial activities, but especially something as outrageous as the lingering, spreading and deadly effects from DU contamination which never end. Those exposed to it and their loved ones with whom they have intimate contact and their offspring are henceforth vulnerable to a vast menu of virtually any illness, disease or disability imaginable often leading to early death or at the least a lifetime of pain, suffering and great expense. It's no exaggeration to say that DU is the deadly and unwelcome gift that keeps on giving, disabling and killing.
DU weapons aren't just toxic and deadly, they're illegal according to the standards and binding international law under the Hague Convention of 1907 and 1925 Geneva Protocol and other succeeding Geneva Weapons Conventions that specifically outlaw the use of any chemical and biological agents in any form for any reason in war as well as any poison or poisoned weapons. DU weapons in all their forms are radioactive and chemically toxic and clearly fit the definition of poisonous weapons banned under these binding international laws to which we are signatories. As such, the US, having used them in four wars, has violated our sacred treaty obligations which are the supreme law of the land and is guilty of repeated war crimes. That minor detail doesn't bother the Bush administration that considers the Geneva Conventions and all other international laws inconvenient to its plans just "quaint" and "obsolete."
The Public Is Largely Unaware of the DU Threat Or Prefers to Believe Pentagon Propaganda Instead of Known Scientific Fact
Most people get their so-called news and information from the dominant corporate media mostly on TV which, as everyone by now should know, never gives them what they tune in for. Instead they get state approved propaganda, lies and deception cleverly disguised as the real thing. It's almost always true that what they don't report is lots more important than what they do. Of course, the reason this goes on is that if the public knew and understood what our government was up to, they'd never stand for it. So it's all kept under wraps, and most people are never the wiser. It's very easy to be influenced by the slick state and corporate-friendly messages because they're transmitted effectively ad nauseam round the clock on air and in print. The repetition has a powerful effect. It clouds the mind, blocks out the truth and distracts enough to prevent those mesmerized by it from seeking it. Why would you not want to believe the friendly news anchors you've grown to know and love over the years. Would they ever lie to you? Darned right they would if they want to keep their high-paying jobs.
I comment on this often for one reason. It's the most important of all issues I know. Unless people know and understand the truth about what's happening around them on the vital issues affecting their lives, they're defenseless against the onslaught of fraud and deceit delivered through the dominant media. It allows government to get away with the most egregious acts as agents for giant corporations and the "money changers" who buy and pay for their services. This alliance is hostile to the public interest as it allows these corporations and financial institutions (including the US Federal Reserve which is a private for-profit entity and not a government run one as commonly believed) free reign to pursue their predatory quest for greater profits and world dominance and do it at our expense.
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