Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Depleted uranium used in Lebanon

In a INN World Report video [It's the 'Watch it' link that's on the right] Dr. Doug Rokke, PhD. and former Director of the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project confirms that Israel used depleted uranium - in the form of GBU-28 bombs - in Lebanon.

These USA provided Guided Bomb Units (GBU-28) are developed for penetrating targets located deep underground. These ‘Bunker Buster’ bombs are equipped with a laser guidance system and a 4,400 pound warhead. They are capable of penetrating 20 feet of concrete.

This claim is easily verified by this NY times article:

"An arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28’s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions."

A good animation explaining how the GBU-28 works is available at, although I dont think they captured the last frame correctly. It should look like this.

In the third frame, the one detailing the main section of the missile, notice how “the composition of the rest of the warhead is classified”. Dr. Rokke claims that these GBU-28 bunker busters exploded with “the perfect signature of uranium weapons”. With his qualifications, I am inclined to believe him.

In 'Le Monde Diplomatique', an must-read article aptly titled "America’s big dirty secret" mentions extensive depleted uranium contamination in both Kosovo and Afghanistan. It also confirms Dr. Rokke's claims:

"Since 1997 the United States has been modifying and upgrading its missiles and guided (smart) bombs. Prototypes of these bombs were tested in the Kosovo mountains in 1999, but a far greater range has been tested in Afghanistan. The upgrade involves replacing a conventional warhead by a heavy, dense metal one. Calculating the volume and the weight of this mystery metal leads to two possible conclusions: it is either tungsten or depleted uranium.

Tungsten poses problems. Its melting point (3,422°C) makes it very hard to work; it is expensive; it is produced mostly by China; and it does not burn. DU is pyrophoric, burning on impact or if it is ignited, with a melting point of 1,132°C; it is much easier to process; and as nuclear waste, it is available free to arms manufacturers. Further, using it in a range of weapons significantly reduces the US nuclear waste storage problem."

Dr. Rokke was instructed to lie in his reports on the health and environmental effects of uranium munitions in order to ensure that they can always be used.

The Monde Diplomatique artice sums the problem of depleted uranium useage in two points:

"1) Radiation emitted by DU threatens the human body because, once DU dust has been inhaled, it becomes an internal radiation source; international radiation protection standards, the basis of expert claims that DU is harmless, deal only with external radiation sources;

2) Uranium from reactors, recycled for use in munitions, contains additional highly toxic elements, such as plutonium, 1.6 kilogrammes of which could kill 8bn people. Rather than depleted uranium, it should be called uranium plus."

Dr. Rokke refers to a US army training video detailing Depleted Uranium Hazard Awareness. You can view this video here.

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