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I am sending this post to inform you about a very important new international organization that has been formed to address the problems created by radioactive weapons that have been used and tested in many locations in this country and through out the world. Domacio Lopez is a long time friend and colleague who I hold in the highest regard. IDUST is the International Depleted Uranium Study Team. Please read on and distribute widely.
Would yo get this out to as many people as possible? Damacio
IDUST is a Non-governmental Organization (NGO) of international researchers, activists and scientists dedicated to stopping the use of Depleted Uranium U-238 (DU) in military weapons by the year 2010.
The establishment of IDUST represents a timely and urgently important targeted expansion of alliance-building, education, research and outreach efforts. IDUST builds on the foundation of knowledge skills gathered, and work accomplished over the past 15 years by it's team members.
DU is a highly toxic heavy metal with a radioactive half-life of four and one-half billion years. DU has accumulated in enormous quantities since the dawn of the nuclear age. Despite the name "Depleted" Uranium, DU has more than 1/2 the radioactivity of Natural Uranium, which is pure uranium.
Our focus is to increase public awareness of both the problems associated with DU in weapons and the need to enforce existing international humanitarian and human rights law that prohibit the use of DU in military weapons. We have a plan to aid in the elimination of this highly toxic and radioactive material that is used in military weapons across the globe.
Our immediate work is recruiting IDUST volunteers and Advisory Board members to form IDUST Teams particularly in countries where DU is suspected to be part of the military arsenal or has been contaminated by DU, some of these countries include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Bosnia, Canada, Czech Republic, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Iraq, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Panama, Pakistan, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and Yugoslavia.
To succeed will require a mass movement across the globe. We need IDUST volunteers and Advisory Board members that can help in the following areas: Local Organizing, Internet Management, International Law, Media Relations, Fundraising, Resources, Research, United Nations, Exchange Programs, Indigenous Lands Studies, Proliferation Studies, Medical Experts, Scientists to Test and Analyze Water, Air and Soil Samples.
Please call us, Damacio Lopez, Executive Director at (505) 867-0141 E-mail IDUST@swcp.com or Maria Santelli, Program Director at (505) 247-9694
DU has become internationally recognized as a health hazard. It is a suspected environmental contaminant in more than 50 sites across the U.S. and on battlefields and test sites throughout the world. Affected communities experience health problems similar to those of U.S. Gulf War veterans and Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
Since the 1960s weapons containing DU have been tested and developed near communities across the U.S. One such community is Socorro, New Mexico where DU open air testing began in 1972 and ended in 1993 after pressure from a local citizens group called "Save our Mountain."
DU is very appealing in military weapons because of its heavy weight and pyrophoric qualities which cause it to burn like a cutting torch through steel when a DU penetrator strikes a hard target. This material which would otherwise be nuclear waste and cost the Department of Energy billions of dollars to dispose of is now provided free of charge for military use and to private industry. It is the pyrophoric quality that makes this weapon so horrific, the burning of DU creates respirable size radioactive dust that can have short and long term health effects on the human body, such as kidney problems, followed by cancers and birth defects.
The U.S. military uses DU in various weapons such as armor-piercing bullets, shielding on tanks, counter weights and ground penatrators on missiles and fragments in cluster bombs and mines that penetrate armor. NATO forces have used such weaponry in combat since the Persian Gulf War, and most recently in Yugoslavia. Yet use of weapons containing DU are considered illegal under international laws governing weapons of war.
Weapons must meet these four criteria under existing international humanitarian and human rights law in armed conflict:
- weapons must be able to be limited in effect to the field of battle (the territorial limitation);
- weapons must be limited in effect to the time period of the armed conflict (the temporal limitation);
- weapons must not be unduly inhumane (the humanity limitation);
- weapons must not unduly damage the environment (the environmental limitation).
DU in military weapons are inherently illegal under this criteria.
The Pentagon has been selling excess and obsolete stocks of brass covered shells that include 50-caliber armor-piercing rounds for $1 a ton to Talon Manufacturing Company. Last year Talon sold more that 100,000 armor-piercing 50 caliber rounds on the civilian market. The buyers ranged from the militaries of Brazil and Colombia to civilian weapons dealers in the U.S. Gun dealers boast that the projectile will go through six inches of steel up to a 45-degree angle at 1,000 yards. The 50-caliber guns are considered accurate at 2,000 yards and can hit targets 4 miles away with some effectiveness. Talon even sold 35,000 rounds of the refurbished 50-caliber armor-piercing projectiles back to the U.S. military. The U.S. military arsenal includes a 50-caliber DU armor-piercing projectile. IDUST is investigating this report to find out if these armor-piercing rounds contain DU.
Human populations exposed to DU contamination:
- People who reside near facilities that process or are involved in the research, development and testing of DU.
- Combatants and civilians in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (1990/1991 Gulf War). Bombings continue today with missiles that contain DU.
- Combatants and civilians in Bosnia (1994/1995 war).
- Combatants and civilians in Yugoslavia and the surrounding Balkan region (1999 war).
Some U.S. military doctors claim that human health effects from DU are not well known, however on October 30, 1943 the U.S. War Department proposed the "Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon". Two objectives were recommended at that time, 1) as a terrain contaminating material, the radioactive product would be spread on the ground and would affect personnel, 2) as a gas warfare instrument, the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicle, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. This proposal gave way to decades of secret human radiation experiments.
After the Gulf War, Iraq did extensive health studies of civilians and soldiers who may have been exposed to DU and found that cancers and birth defects were ten times higher than the levels experienced before the Gulf War. Over 250,000 returning Americans Gulf War troops have reported to veterans hospitals asking for medical help for what has become known as the Gulf War Syndrome.
Through coalition and alliances with other organizations, IDUST works to inform, and coordinate community advocacy efforts around the globe to halt the proliferation and use of weapons containing DU. We demand health studies and medical care for people exposed to DU and the cleanup and remediation of contaminated sites and the total elimination of DU in military weapons by the year 2010.
IDUST is building a global network of new faces, new information, relationships with credentialed United Nations (UN) NGOs and groups to advocate for local, national and international laws, policies and resolutions that will lead to the total elimination of DU in military weapons. The past, current and future work of IDUST consists of alliance building through community organizing strategies, networking activities, research, education, media outreach and personal contacts.
In the coming years we plans to recruit additional IDUST volunteers and advisory board members to form IDUST Teams in communities worldwide to demand the enforcement of international human rights and humanitarian laws governing weapons of war.
IDUST researches the connection between money in politics and the DU weapons industry to better understand the political and economic motives of decision makers. A principle objective of our work is to aid international bodies that have jurisdiction over weapons of war. IDUST compliments the efforts of other groups that also seek the elimination of weapons containing DU.
Our work plan for 2000/2001 includes these four goals:
- Create local, national and international forums for community exchanges and education. Formation of IDUST Teams.
- Research: "Depleted Uranium Industry and Money in Politics," "Depleted Uranium on Indigenous Lands," "Global Proliferation of Depleted Uranium."
- Promote health and environmental studies in domestic and international communities affected by DU contamination.
- Impact international laws and policies to halt the use of DU in military weapons.
Tax deductable contributions are appreciated. Send toIDUST
P.O. Box 1688
Bernalillo, New Mexico 87004
IDUST is a project of New Mexico Research, Education, and Enrichment Foundation (NMREEF).