Saturday, July 01, 2006







original posting: 25 feb. 2002


Ecosystems: Overfishing, Bycatch, and Destructive Fishing

(02/16/2002) Record 1,337 endangered sea turtles died on Florida beaches in 2001, most after drowning in shrimp nets or hit by boat propellers and hulls. See Endangered Species: Sea Turtles.

(02/16/2002) Scientists warn current rate of overfishing in the North Atlantic will result in an ocean-wide collapse within 10 years, leaving nothing but jellyfish and plankton. The entire North Atlantic is being so severely overfished that it may completely collapse by 2010, according to scientists who have just completed the first comprehensive assessment of fish stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean. If current overfishing continues in the North Atlantic, trawlers could soon be left chasing jellyfish and even plankton to make "fake" fish products. "We'll all be eating jellyfish sandwiches," says Reg Watson, a fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia who participated in the study.

While the disastrous collapses in areas like New England and Newfoundland have appeared to be local in scale, the new ocean wide synthesis reveals that the collapse applies to the entire North Atlantic Ocean. The study shows that across the region as a whole, the North Atlantic now has only about one-sixth the number of high-quality "table fish" like cod and tuna that it had in 1900 and is being fished eight times as intensively, scientists say. Fishermen are also chasing species ever lower on the food chain as bigger fish are depleted.

"We have looked at the entire North Atlantic - Canada, USA, Europe - and what we have found is that the situation in the region is far worse than people had anticipated," project leader Dr. Daniel Pauly, from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, said.

"With few exceptions, we are going to lose most fisheries in the next decade if we don't quickly mend our ways," said Pauly. "It may sound like a doomsday scenario, but the decline is actually accelerating. Even where stocks are doing better, they are still hovering at the bottom of a pit."

"The jellyfish sandwich is not a metaphor - jellyfish is being exported from the US," says Pauly. "In the Gulf of Maine people were catching cod a few decades ago. Now they're catching sea cucumber. By earlier standards, these things are repulsive."

The group of 10 scientists and about 50 consultants undertook the 2-1/2 year analysis after becoming frustrated by the lack of any oceanwide fisheries information. The group is composed of fishery scientists, biologists, and economists from research institutions in Europe and North America.

Most researchers and regulators tend to focus on only one species or geographical area and little of the information has been pieced together. The scientists, however, did just that, synthesizing millions of numbers regarding fish species, catches, and populations over generations to come up with a model of the North Atlantic.

The researchers divided the North Atlantic into 22,000 grid cells, each measuring �� of latitude by �� of longitude. Data from the past century were then painstakingly "retrofitted" on to this grid in order to calculate each cell's biomass of high-value "table fish" (ie, species preferred by humans, such as cod, haddock and halibut). The biomass in each cell was reconstructed using a mathematical model that distributes individual species according to known environmental and physical variables, and also historical records of what fish were caught where and when. Then the researchers were able to calculate the fishing intensity as the ratio of the catch data to this biomass.

The result is a clear picture of how fishing expanded from the coasts of North America and Western Europe, pushing out farther and farther into the ocean - something known as serial depletion. This continued until catches peaked in 1975, after which the catch began to decline. Dr. Villy Christensen estimates that over the past century the intensity of fishing in the North Atlantic has increased eightfold, while the biomass of table fish has fallen by 85%.

Watson, who helped produce the study, said the crisis is evident in the collapse in catches. "If you look at those prime table-fish - the ones we value the most, the fin fish - in the 1960s, we had about 21 lbs (9 kg) per person, now we're down to a third of that; we're down to about 7 lbs (3 kg) per person. If you extrapolate that very straight linear trend, within 10 years we'll be talking about fish as if they were a myth; as if they were fond memories," said Watson.

In the last 50 years, the catch of popular fish species such as cod, tuna, and haddock has decreased by more than half despite a tripling in fishing across the North Atlantic, the study found. It is not just that there are more boats; sophisticated technology also makes the fish easier to catch. Countries spend $2.5 billion in taxpayer's money each year to "search out the last fish left" in the North Atlantic, said Rashid Sumaila of the Michelsen Institute in Norway, who conducted an economic analysis as part of the study.

At the same time, fish gets more expensive every year, Sumaila noted. U.S. seafood prices, especially for lobsters and shrimp, have increased 20-fold since 1950. New Englanders can continue to eat their favorite fish because much of the seafood is imported from developing countries, a practice that the scientists said should not be allowed to continue.

The spiraling costs also include the price of fuel. Fishers burn more and more fuel as they increase their efforts competing to capture the last of the dwindling resources. "The fuel energy needed to capture a ton of fish has doubled over the last twenty years," says Peter Tyedmers of Dalhousie University.

Faced with dwindling stocks and rising demand for seafood, fishers are employing new technologies that leave no safe haven for fish, including the application of military technologies, spotter planes and round the clock exploitation. For most of human history, fish and other marine species had naturally protected areas: places inaccessible to fishing because they were too remote, too deep or too dangerous to fish. But civilian applications of military technologies, such as those developed for submarine warfare and espionage, have grown by leaps and bounds since the end of the cold war. These transferred technologies include sonar mapping systems that reveal every crack and contour of the seabed in exquisite detail.

The U.S. Geological Survey is now publishing maps that are enabling fishers to penetrate deep into regions once considered too difficult to fish. Private companies are also weighing in, selling the secrets of the seabed for short term profit. Guided by precision satellite navigation systems, fishers can now drop nets into previously unseen canyons, or land hooks on formerly uncharted seamounts.

"Such places may be the last refuges of vulnerable species like skates or rockfish," warned Dr. Callum Roberts, a Harvard University ocean ecologist...

continued at


original posting: 23 feb. 2002


By Ian Gurney

It is a story worthy of a major conspiracy theory, the script for a Mel Gibson "Who dunnit?" action movie, or a blueprint for a contrived and unbeleivable episode of "The X Files". Except the facts surrounding this story are just that. Facts. The Truth. Five emminent microbiologists, leaders in their particular field of scientific research, either dead or missing in the last eight weeks, and a bizzare connection between one of the dead scientists and the mystery surrounding the death by Anthrax inhalation of a sixty one year old female hospital worker in New York. Sounds far fetched? Read on.

Over the past few weeks several world-acclaimed scientific researchers specializing in infectious diseases and biological agents such as Anthrax, as well as DNA sequencing, have been found dead or have gone missing.

First, on Novemeber 12th, was Dr. Benito Que, a cell biologist working on infectious diseases like HIV, who was found dead outside his laboratory at the Miami Medical School. Police say his death was possibly the result of a mugging. The Miami Herald reported that:

"The incident, whatever it may have been, occurred on Monday afternoon as the scientist left his job at University of Miami's School of Medicine. He headed for his car, a white Ford Explorer parked on Northwest 10th Avenue. The word among his friends is that four men armed with a baseball bat attacked him at his car."

On November 16th, within of week of Dr. Que's assault, Dr. Don C Wiley, one of the United States foremost infectious disease researchers was declared missing. Bill Poovey, a journalist with Associated Press wrote:

"His rental car was found with a full tank of petrol and the keys in the ignition. His disappearance looked like a suicide, but according to colleagues and Dr. Wiley's family, the Harvard Scientist associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute would NEVER commit suicide. Associates who attended the St. Jude's Children Research Advisory Dinner with Dr. Wiley, just hours before he disappeared, said that he was in good spirits and NOT depressed. He was last seen at the banquet at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis the night he vanished. Those who saw him last say he showed no signs of a man contemplating his own death."

Wiley left the hotel around midnight. The bridge where his car was found is only a five-minute drive away and in the wrong direction from where he was staying, leaving authorities with a four-hour, unexplained gap until his vehicle was found.

Now Memphis police are exploring several theories involving suicide, robbery and murder.

"We began this investigation as a missing person investigation," said Walter Crews of the Memphis Police Department. "From there it went to a more criminal bent."

Dr. Wiley was an expert on how the human immune system fights off infections and had recently investigated such dangerous viruses as AIDS, Ebola, herpes and influenza.

From the United States, the story moves to England. On November 23rd, Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, a former microbiologist for Biopreparat, the Soviet biological-weapons production facility was found dead. The Times was the only newspaper to provide an obituary for Dr. Pasechnik, and said:

"The defection to Britain in 1989 of Vladimir Pasechnik revealed to the West for the first time the colossal scale of the Soviet Union's clandestine biological warfare programme. His revelations about the scale of the Soviet Union's production of such biological agents as anthrax, plague, tularaemia and smallpox provided an inside account of one of the best kept secrets of the Cold War. After his defection he worked for ten years at the U.K. Department of Health's Centre for Applied Microbiology Research before forming his own company, Regma Biotechnics, to work on therapies for cancer, neurological diseases, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. In the last few weeks of his life he had put his research on anthrax at the disposal of the Government, in the light of the threat from bioterrorism."

Back to the United States, and on December 10th, Dr. Robert M. Schwartz was found murdered in Leesberg, Virginia. Dr. Schwartz was a well-known DNA sequencing researcher. He founded the Virginia Biotechnology Association where he worked on DNA sequencing for 15 years.

On Wednesday, December 12th the Washington Post reported:

"A well-known biophysicist, who was one of the leading researchers on DNA sequencing analysis, was found slain in his rural Loudoun County home after co-workers became concerned when he didn't arrive at work as expected. Robert M. Schwartz, 57, a founding member of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, was found dead in the secluded fieldstone farmhouse southwest of Leesburg where he lived alone. Loudoun sheriff's officials said it appeared that Schwartz had been stabbed."

And so to Victoria State, Australia, where, on December 14th, a skilled microbiologist was killed at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's animal diseases facility in Geelong, Australia. This is the same facility that, as the journal Nature announced in January this year:

"Australian scientists, Dr Ron Jackson and Dr Ian Ramshaw, accidentally created an astonishingly virulent strain of mousepox, a cousin of smallpox, among laboratory mice. They realised that if similar genetic manipulation was carried out on smallpox, an unstoppable killer could be unleashed."

The microbiologist who died had worked for 15 years at the facility. His name was Set Van Nguyen. Victoria Police said:

"Set Van Nguyen, 44, appeared to have died after entering an airlock into a storage laboratory filled with nitrogen. His body was found when his wife became worried after he failed to return from work. He was killed after entering a low temperature storage area where biological samples were kept. He did not know the room was full of deadly gas which had leaked from a liquid nitrogen cooling system. Unable to breathe, Mr. Nguyen collapsed and died."

Now for the intriguing part of this story. On Friday, November 2nd, the Washington Post reported:

"Officials are now scrambling to determine how a quiet, 61-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, riding the subway each day to and from her job in a hospital stockroom, was exposed to the deadly anthrax spores that killed her this week. They worry because there is no obvious connection to the factors common to earlier anthrax exposures and deaths: no clear link to the mail or to the media."

The name of this quiet 61 year old hospital worker was Kathy Nguyen.

Copyright Ian Gurney, December 2001. Ian Gurney is the author of "The Cassandra Prophecy"



When The Army Owns The Weather -
Chemtrails & HAARP

The emergence of Edward Teller promoting this startling technology
is more than
scary. (Teller [NOTE FROM JEFF: Teller was also
Kubrick's inspiration for Dr. Strangelove] was the father
of the H-Bomb and grand promoter of
Readi Kilowatt, our perky little
radiation friend from the
'50s; one of his bright ideas from the '50s was
to create
harbors by nuking our own coastline.) The April 24 New York Timesreported that Teller "has promoted the idea of manipulating the
Earth's atmosphere to counteract global warming." The computer
simulations on the use of aluminum oxide to counter global warming
come from the Lawrence Livermore Weapons
where Teller serves as director emeritus.

By Bob Fitrakis

Humans have long sought to control the weather. Early
people learned how to make fire and modify their
micro-environments; rain dances and other rituals to
alleviate droughts are part of our folklore. So news
that the government is engaged in secret experiments to control
the weather should come as no
surprise - especially after a long
history of "cloud seeding,"
"atom splitting" and cloning revelations.

In fact, a vast majority of people would be shocked to
learn that this orphan of the cold war is still in practice. As
the U.S. and former Soviet Union spent trillions of dollars on
their militaries, their commitment to mutually assured
destruction led to extensive experimentation with the use of weather
as a weapon. In 1977, the Saturday Review cited a CIA report
hinting that the U.S. government already had the power to massively
manipulate the weather for war purposes.

As the Soviet Union disintegrated, a 1993 Isvestia article
suggested the U.S. might want to partner with the Russians in
peddling their top-secret technology to the world. Oleg Klugin,
a high-ranking KGB officer, bragged of his involvement in
geophysical weapons research to a London newspaper. The grid
patterns of jet chemtrails now spotted throughout the Western
world are likely the application of these technologies to new
military and civilian uses.

The military is not attempting to hide its long-term
goals. "Weather is a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in
2025" is a white paper that can be found on a Pentagon-sponsored website.
The paper's abstract reads: "In 2025, U.S. aerospace forces can
'own the weather' by capitalizing on emerging technologies and
focusing development of those technologies towards fighting
applications. Such a capability offers the war fighters tools
to shape the battle space in ways never before possible In the
U.S., weather modification will likely become a part of national
security policy with both domestic and international applications."

Wired magazine wrote about the paper and extensively
quoted physicist Bernard Eastlund in its January 2000 article
"Activate Cloud Shield! Zap a Twister!" The article detailed the
military's plan for "made-to-order thunderstorms" and "lightning
strikes on demand."

Eastlund managed programs for Controlled Thermal Nuclear
for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1966 to
1974; he was a key researcher in the 1980s' Strategic Space
Initiative (aka Star Wars). Since 1996, Eastlund served as CEO and
president of Eastlund Scientific Enterprises Corporation. The
company boasts on its website that it specializes in "weather
modification" and "tornado modification" among other high-tech services.

Eastlund considers the High Frequency Active Auroral
Research Program (HAARP) in Alaska a smaller version of what he
envisions for weather modification. In response to Michael
Theroux of Borderland Sciences -- who asked Eastlund whether the
HAARP station could affect the weather -- Eastlund replied:
"Significant experiments could be performed The HAARP antenna as
is it now configured modulates the auroral electrojet to induce
ELF waves and thus could have an effect on the zonal winds."

At the Space 2000 Conference and Exposition on Engineering,
Construction, Operations and Business in Space, sponsored by the
American Society of Civil Engineers, Eastlund outlined his plan for
zapping tornados with an electromagnetic radiation
beam from
the proposed Thunderstorm Solar Powered Satellite he's developing
with the help of the European Space Agency and Jenkins Enterprises.

U.S. patent number 6315213, filed on November 13, is described
as a method of modifying weather and should concern the public.
A scientist from Wright Patterson Air Force Base acknowledges
that planes are spraying barium salt, polymer fibers, aluminum
oxide and other chemicals in the atmosphere to both modify the
weather and for military communications purposes. The patent
abstract specifically states: "The polymer is dispersed into the
cloud and the wind of the storm agitates the mixture causing the
polymer to absorb the rain. This reaction forms a gelatinous
substance which precipitate to the surface below. Thus, diminishing
the cloud's ability to rain."

Answering the age-old question, Who'll stop the rain?:

Apparently our government and a few of their closest friends in
the military industrial-complex. The emergence of Edward Teller
promoting this startling technology is more than scary. (Teller
was the father of the H-Bomb and grand promoter of Readi
Kilowatt, our perky little radiation friend from the '50s; one
of his bright ideas from the '50s was to create harbors by
nuking our own coastline.) The April 24 New York Times
reported that Teller "has promoted the idea of manipulating the
Earth's atmosphere to counteract global warming." The computer
simulations on the use of aluminum oxide to counter global
warming come from the Lawrence Livermore Weapons Laboratory,
where Teller serves as director emeritus.

There should be little doubt that this would be a priority for
the government -- or for for-profit military contractors. While
2001 was the second-hottest year on record (1998 holds
the record as the hottest year), the nine hottest years on
record have occurred since 1990. But why would the government
conduct anti-global warming experiments in secret?

Investigative reporter William Thomas holds that there's a link
between the recent increase in asthma, allergies and upper
respiratory ailments and the chemtrail spraying. Sound crazy?
Remember, it sounded absurd when reports first came out that
the government had conducted radioactivity experiments on U.S.
citizens and released radiation from nuclear plants to test the
effect on civilian populations. It sounded bizarre when news
first filtered out that the government was engaged in the MK-
Ultra mind-control experiments using LSD. The CIA and Defense
Intelligence Agency admit they were responsible for many of the
UFO sightings in the 1950s in order the explain away experimental
military technology.

From public documents to mainstream news accounts, the record
is filled with reports of weather-modifying technology left over
from the Cold War. Now we have a right to know what,
if anything,
the government plans to do with it.

From !


original posting: 20 feb. 2002


Pentagon Propaganda Plan Is Undemocratic, Possibly Illegal

February 19, 2002

The New York Times reported today that the Pentagon�s Office of
is �developing plans to provide news items, possibly even
ones, to foreign media organizations� in an effort �to influence public
sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries.�

The OSI was created shortly after September 11 to publicize the U.S.
government�s perspective in Islamic countries and to generate support
the U.S.�s �war on terror.� This latest announcement raises grave
that far from being an honest effort to explain U.S. policy, the OSI
be a profoundly undemocratic program devoted to spreading
and misleading the public, both at home and abroad. At the same time,
involving reporters in disinformation campaigns puts the lives of
journalists at risk.

Despite the OSI�s multi-million-dollar budget and its mandate to
propagandize throughout the Middle East, Asia and Western Europe, �even
many senior Pentagon officials and Congressional military aides say
know almost nothing about its purpose and plans,� according to the
The Times reported that the OSI�s latest announcement has generated
opposition within the Pentagon among those who fear that it will
the Defense Department�s credibility.

Tarnished credibility may be the least of the problems created by the
OSI�s new plan to manipulate media-- the plan may compromise the free
of information that democracy relies on. The government is barred by
from propagandizing within the U.S., but the OSI�s new plan will likely
lead to disinformation planted in a foreign news report being picked up
U.S. news outlets. The war in Afghanistan has shown that the 24-hour
cycle, combined with cuts in the foreign news budgets across the U.S.,
make overseas outlets like Al-Jazeera and Reuters key resources for

Any �accidental� propaganda fallout from the OSI�s efforts is troubling
enough, but given the U.S. government�s track record on domestic
propaganda, U.S. media should be pushing especially hard for more
information about the operation�s other, intentional policies.

According to the New York Times, �one of the military units assigned to
carry out the policies of the Office of Strategic Influence� is the
Army�s Psychological Operations Command (PSYOPS). The Times doesn�t
mention, however, that PSYOPS has been accused of operating
as recently as the Kosovo war.

In February 2000, reports in Dutch and French newspapers revealed that
several officers from the 4th PSYOPS Group had worked in the news
at CNN's Atlanta headquarters as part of an �internship� program
in the final days of the Kosovo War. Coverage of this disturbing story
scarce (see, but after
issued an Action Alert on the story, CNN stated that it had already
terminated the program and acknowledged that it was �inappropriate.�

Even if the PSYOPS officers working in the newsroom did not directly
influence news reporting, the question remains of whether CNN may have
allowed the military to conduct an intelligence-gathering mission
the network itself. The idea isn�t far-fetched-- according to
Newsletter (2/17/00), a rear admiral from the Special Operations
told a PSYOPS conference that the military needed to find ways to "gain
control" over commercial news satellites to help bring down an
"informational cone of silence" over regions where special operations
taking place. One of CNN�s PSYOPS �interns� worked in the network�s
satellite division
. (During the Afghanistan war the Pentagon found a
direct way to �gain control��it simply bought up all commercial
images of Afghanistan, in order to prevent media from accessing them.)

It�s worth noting that the 4th PSYOPS group is the same group that
the National Security Council's now notorious Office of Public
(OPD), which planted stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan
Administration's Central America policies during the 1980s. Described
by a
senior U.S. official as a "vast psychological warfare operation of the
kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy
(Miami Herald, 7/19/87), the OPD was shut down after the Iran-Contra
investigations, but not before influencing coverage in major outlets
including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post
(Extra!, 9-10/01).

The OPD may be gone, but the Bush administration�s recent recess
appointment of former OPD head Otto Reich as assistant secretary of
for Western Hemisphere affairs is not reassuring. It suggests, at best,
troubling indifference to Reich�s role in orchestrating the OPD�s
deception of the American people.

Indeed, as the Federation of American Scientists points out, �the Bush
Administration�s insistent efforts to expand the scope of official
have now been widely noted as a defining characteristic of the Bush
presidency� (Secrecy News, 2/18/02). The administration�s refusal to
disclose Enron-related information to the General Accounting Office is
perhaps the most publicized of these efforts; another is Attorney
John Ashcroft�s October 12 memo urging federal agencies to resist
Of Information Act requests.

In addition, the Pentagon�s restrictive press policies throughout the
in Afghanistan have been an ongoing problem. Most recently, Washington
Post reporter Doug Struck claims that U.S. soldiers threatened to shoot
him if he proceeded with an attempt to investigate a site where
had been killed; Struck has stated that for him, the central question
raised by the incident is whether the Pentagon is trying to �cover up�
actions and why it won�t �allow access by reporters to determine what
they're doing here in Afghanistan� (CBS, �The Early Show,� 2/13/02).

Taken together, these incidents and policies should raise alarm bells
media throughout the country.
Democracy doesn�t work if the public does
not have access to full and accurate information about its government.


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“Depleted uranium — DU — is the Defense Establishment euphemism for U-238, a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process and the ultimate dirty weapon material…’Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning,’ he went on. ‘They have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues…’”

"A war crime of unprecedented dimension is unfolding as we avert our eyes. Perhaps it’s simply too big to see, or to grasp, so we lull ourselves into the half-belief that the powers that be know what they’re doing and it will all turn out for the best. Meanwhile, the contagion spreads, the children die, the planet becomes uninhabitable."

Spreading Cancer: Depleted uranium turns Bush's lies into high-tech horror

by Robert C. Koehler

The unending game of “pretend” that the U.S. media allow George Bush to play on the global stage, so often letting his lying utterances hang suspended, unchallenged, in the middle of the story, as though they were plausible — as though a class of third-graders couldn’t demolish them with a few innocent questions — feels like the journalistic equivalent of waterboarding. Gasp! Some truth, please!

I suggest the prez has forfeited the right to command a headline, or half a story, or an uninterrupted quote: “. . . we’ll defend ourselves, but at the same time we’re actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy,” he said last week in Austria.

Surely “spreading democracy” should no longer be allowed to appear in print, between now and 2008, unless accompanied by a parenthetical clarification (“not true,” stated as profanely as local standards allow). And that, of course, would only be the media’s first step back into integrity with the public.

The occupation of Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, the entire war (to promote) terror . . . please, please, can these no longer be trotted out in consequence-free abstraction, but as the high-tech malevolence they are, actively continuing the incalculable devastation of countries and their populations?

The bodies keep piling up, the toxic horrors spread. Hasn’t anyone in this place ever heard of depleted uranium? Is the health crisis in Iraq and, indeed, throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, not to mention Kosovo and among returning vets for the last four American wars, somehow irrelevant to “the course” we’re asked to stay?

“Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with two cancers one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney — he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. . . . My wife has nine members of her family with cancer.”

This is Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, director of the oncology center at the
Largest hospital in Basra, speaking in 2003 at a peace conference in Japan. Why is it that only peace activists are able to hear people like this? Why hasn’t he been asked to testify before Congress as its members debate the future of this war and the next?

“Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning,” he went on. “They have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most. However, cancer of the lymph system, which can develop anywhere on the body and has rarely
been seen before the age of 12, is now also common.”

Depleted uranium — DU — is the Defense Establishment euphemism for U-238, a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process and the ultimate dirty weapon material. It’s almost twice as dense as lead, catches fire when launched and explodes on impact into microscopically fine particles, or “nano-particles,” which are easily inhaled or absorbed through the skin;
it’s also radioactive, with a half-life of 4.468 billion years.

And we make bombs and bullets out of it — it’s the ultimate penetrating weapon. We dropped at least 300 tons of it on Iraq during Gulf War I (the first time it was used in combat) and created Gulf War Syndrome. This time around, the estimated DU use on defenseless Iraq is 1,700 tons, far more of it in major population centers. Remember shock and awe? We were
Pounding Baghdad, in those triumphant early days, with low-grade nuclear weapons, raining down cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects and much, much more on the people we claimed to be liberating. We weren’t spreading democracy, we were altering the human genome.

As we “protected ourselves,” in the words of the president, from Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, we opened our own arsenal of WMD on them, contaminating the country’s soil and polluting its air — indeed, unleashing a nuclear dust into the troposphere and contaminating the whole world.

“We used to think (DU) traveled up to a hundred miles,” Chris Busby told me. Busby, a chemical physicist and member of the British government’s radiation risk committee, as well as the founder of the European Committee of Radiation Risk, has monitored air quality in Great Britain. Based on these findings, “It looks like it goes quite around the planet,” he said.

While Bush mouths ironic whoppers — “We will be standing with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq until their hopes for freedom and liberty are fulfilled,” he told the U.N. General Assembly a while back — his actions pass, in the words of former Livermore Labs scientist Leuren Moret, “a death sentence on the Middle East and Central Asia.”

A war crime of unprecedented dimension is unfolding as we avert our eyes. Perhaps it’s simply too big to see, or to grasp, so we lull ourselves into the half-belief that the powers that be know what they’re doing and it will all turn out for the best. Meanwhile, the contagion spreads, the children die, the planet becomes uninhabitable.

© 2006 Robert C. Koehler