Toxic Intervention: Are NATO Forces Poisoning Libya, as They "Protect" Civilians?
resident Obama’s criminal launch of
an undeclared and
Congressionally unauthorized war against Libya may be compounded by the crime of spreading toxic uranium oxide in populated areas of that
Libyan rebels celebrating on burned-out Gaddafy military vehicle may be unknowingly inhaling toxic uranium oxide
This is latest concern of groups like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, which monitor the military use of so-called depleted-uranium (DU) anti-tank and bunker-penetrating shells.
Images of Libyan civilians and rebels celebrating around the burning
hulks of the Libyan army’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, which
had been hit by US, French and British aircraft ordnance in the early
hours of the US-led assault on the forces of Col. Muammar Gaddafy, could
well have been unknowingly inhaling the deadly dust of the uranium
weapons favored by Western military forces for anti-tank warfare.
Specifically, the British-built Harrier jets used by British naval
air forces and also by US Marine pilots, are often equipped with
pod-mounted cannons that fire 20 mm shells--shells that often have
uranium projectiles designed to penetrate heavy armor.
So far, the US has not introduced its A-10 Thunderbolts, known also
as Warthogs, into the Libyan campaign, probably because these sub-sonic,
straight-wing craft, while heavily armored, are vulnerable to
shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles which Libyan forces are known to
possess in large numbers. Once the air-control situation is improved by
continued bombardment, however, these specialized ground-attack
aircraft will probably be added to the attacking forces. The A-10 has a
particularly large automatic cannon which fires an unusually large 30
mm shell. These shells are often fitted with solid uranium projectiles
for attacking tanks, APCs or groups of fighters holed up in concrete
A-10s were heavily used in the Balkan conflict, and officials of
Kosovo were dismayed to learn that some 11 tons of uranium weapons were
fired there, leaving dangerous uranium dust fallout in their wake.
The US military is fond of DU weapons because the material, made
from uranium from which the fissionable U-235 has been removed, because
it is extremely heavy, and, in alloy form, also extremely hard. Because
of its mass, such projectiles can penetrate even the heaviest armor.
Then, in the heat caused by the collision with an object, the uranium
bursts into flame at extreme heat, causing an explosive (and toxic)
inferno inside a tank or other vehicle, which usually also ignites any
ammunition being carried.
Soldiers inside a target vehicle are
incinerated. The problem is that the resulting uranium oxide produced by
such explosions, besides being highly toxic chemically, is also a
microscopic alpha-emitter, which if inhaled or ingested by human beings
is extremely carcinogenic and mutagenic.
Cities in Iraq where DU weapons were heavily used, such as Basra,
Samara, Baghdad, Mosul and probably especially Fallujah, which was
virtually leveled in a November 2004 Marine assault, are showing high
rates of birth defects, many of which, along with unusually high rates
of leukemia, medical experts say are emblematic of fetal radiation
Depleted Uranium projectile from a 30 mm cannon shell, like those fired by US A-10 attack jets
A University of Michigan peer-reviewed study of births in Fallujah
published in December 2010 found that of 547 births in Fallujah General
Hospital in May of 2010, six years after the all-out US assault on that
city of 300,000, in which DU weapons were reportedly used widely, 15%
of babies had birth defects--a rate more than five times higher than the
global average of 2-3%.
It would be a tragic irony if rebels in Libya, after calling for
assistance from the US and other NATO countries, succeeded in
overthrowing the country’s long-time tyrant Gaddafy, only to have their
country contaminated by uranium dust--the fate already suffered by the
peoples of Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.