Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I sure ain't been doin' too much boogin' lately. I been doin' some twitterin', though. This mornin', I tweeted:
Soldier's cancer death linked to depleted uranium (DU): UK court - http://bit.ly/26hiuQ - Canadian DU connection - http://bit.ly/4EHlHoThem there links got clicked 20 times in the first few minutes so I reckon there's some point in the Twitter. I been skeptical about Twitter but I thought I'd give it a chance after havin' a live-in-person chat with Stageleft a coupla weeks ago when I was up in Ottywa.
I ain't so sure about carryin' on conversations 140 characters at a time, so I figgered I'd expand (expound?) here on my boog where I can blather on as long as I want.
Anyways, here's a little more about how depleted uranium killed a Brit soldier.
The death of Stuart Dyson, a 39-year-old former soldier, from a rare from of cancer was caused by his exposure to depleted uranium used in military munitions, an inquest jury ruled.
The jury heard that Mr Dyson, a lance corporal in the Royal Pioneer Corps, cleaned tanks after the first Gulf War during a five-month deployment to the war zone.
His widow Elaine told the hearing that her husband's health had deteriorated after he left the Army in 1992 and that he was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to his liver and spleen, in 2007.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Professor Christopher Busby, an expert on the effects of uranium on health, said Mr Dyson's cancer was "more likely than not" caused by ingestion and inhalation of the substance during his service in the Gulf.
Professor Busby said he had visited Iraq in 2000 and had personally found particles of depleted uranium with dangerously high radiation levels near the wrecks of tanks destroyed during the 1991 war.
Keep in mind that DU ammo is also being used in Afghanistan and now that the US is stepping up its involvement, even more DU is likely to be used.
There's a Canadian connection to DU.
There's plenty more in that interview.
While the U.S. appears to be on the verge of attacking Iran just for having a nuclear reactor, Washington and its allies continue to be the biggest nuclear proliferators in the world. Chief among these nuclear allies is Canada, which provides up to 40% of the world’s uranium, the largest amount. Eighty percent of Canadian uranium is exported, with 76% going to the U.S.Canada has long been the main source of uranium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, globally the largest and deadliest at 10,000 warheads and bombs. Washington has a first-strike nuclear policy and is actively preparing for nuclear war. It is also the only country that has actually used nuclear weapons--not once, but twice, on Japan in 1945.
Q: How is Canada violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Harding: Canada signed this treaty in 1970 and claimed that it would not be using uranium for weapons production. We now know that uranium out of Saskatchewan has been diverted through the depleted uranium (DU) system and has been fuelling the weapons stream. The public, I think, is largely unaware that we are still complicit directly in the weapons stream. It’s a tricky thing to track, but it goes something like this: After refining the uranium at Port Hope, we send it to the enriching system in the U.S. This system integrates both the military and the industrial uses of nuclear power. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Pentagon both take uranium from this system.
The uranium that is to be used in electrical generating nuclear reactors is concentrated to about 5%. This is uranium-235. About nine-tenths of the mass of what’s left after enrichment is called depleted uranium. This is then available to the Pentagon to use for weapons. And it’s not really depleted. That’s a misnomer. It’s still uranium. It’s primarily uranium-238, which can be put into Pentagon reactors to create plutonium. All the Pentagon needs to do is bombard the depleted uranium with neutrons and it can create a plutonium stream for weapons. Also, the depleted uranium is the packing on the H-Bomb. What makes the H-Bomb the mega-bomb is the amount of packing of the depleted uranium around the plutonium trigger.
Then the various weapons-producing companies such as Aerojet and ATK take this uranium and make the conventional depleted uranium weapons that are now contaminating probably the last four war zones in the Middle East and Southern Europe. Uranium out of Canada that’s got into the depleted uranium stream has already been dropped on Iraq during the U.S. invasion. So the weapons connection got obscured when the Non-Proliferation Treaty came, because technically the uranium is shipped to the U.S. for their reactors, but in fact the depleted uranium that’s left is then in the control of those countries. So it fundamentally abrogates the intentions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but not technically.
Q: What are the implications of Canada’s continuing support for U.S. nuclear militarism?
Harding: It’s frightening stuff to think about. We’re really talking madness here in terms of the capacity. How few of these mega-bombs it would take to create a catastrophe that makes climate change look insignificant! The U.S. had 37,000 nuclear weapons during the 1980s, armed and ready to go. And we’re talking about using a very small number of those and having disastrous global implications.
When you dig below the surface, the complicity issue is always there. It was there in Vietnam, in terms of companies in Canada exporting armaments and even chemicals that were used in the napalm bombing. And in Canada we’re still doing that around depleted uranium. It just tends to be hidden behind the public statements of us being a non-nuclear power and having made the decision to focus on exporting medical isotopes and not nuclear weapons. This is an effective PR and propaganda system, but it just doesn’t happen to be true.
Q: What are the effects of depleted uranium on humans when it is used in conventional weapons, aside from immediate death and injury?
Harding: The number of cancers and death by cancer are significantly greater (than if the depleted uranium were not present), as are permanent sterility, birth deformations, and death from birth deformation. Depleted uranium affects the whole embryonic development, as well as increasing the risks of thyroid leukemia and other childhood cancers. They are seeing increases in a number of cancers in Basra and in other areas where they know there were high levels of depleted uranium weaponry used.
I watched David Akin, Steve Paiken and a couple of nuclear proponents on TVO's The Agenda a couple nights ago. The topic was Canada's Nuclear Future. While they spent about two-thirds of the hour discussing Canada's role in the medical isotope business and the rest of the hour on nuclear energy issues, the topic of nuclear proliferation and Canada's role in supplying the raw material for nuclear weaponry was not mentioned, at all.
We cannot keep our heads buried in the sand. Canada is complicit in the proliferation of DU weaponry. Twenty or thirty years from now, some future Prime Minister will be issuing another meaningless apology and claiming we didn't know what was happening and sorry about all the cancer deaths. We do know.