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On Target Britain

Food for Thought: In war more than anywhere else in the world things happen differently from what we had expected, and look differently when near from what they did at a distance.
General Carl von Clausewitz

When you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be good and wise.
Sir Winston Churchill

Get in a tight spot in combat, and some guy will risk his ass to help you. Get in a tight spot in peacetime, and you go it all alone.
Brendan Francis

When nuclear dust has extinguished their betters, will the turtles surviving wear people-necked sweaters?
E.Y. Harling


FOUNDATIONS OF GLOBAL SUICIDE June 2004

The Planet And Its People - Expendable For Profit And Power

Consider carefully the quotations in Food For Thought, above; each one has a particular relevance to what you are about to read. All forms of pollution directly or indirectly involve certain factors; the consequences of the commercial and industrial drive for profit at all costs; pollutants and waste, especially toxic waste, deriving from modern industrial processes and domestic usage; the growing scale of usage and production; progressive decimation of the world's natural resources; inadequate disposal, reprocessing and recycling systems; available funds and technology to meet growing demands; political expediency, corruption, impotence and incompetence. If we disregard warfare, other than commercial "warfare" - the competitive vortex of debt-driven production now of global dimensions - it boils down to what we breathe and what we eat. In the latter case it is much a function of commercial expediency that extends even to the composition and sources of our food. We also face the ultimate bottom line of who is expendable. We may play with this equation how we like. Wide-spread destruction of the planet that is taking place involves pollution spiralling virtually out of control; even the control of its perpetrators. Symbolic of this is the unprecedented rise in cancer rates, as one may see by studying the obituaries of the even famous, so-called celebrities, the bankers and industrialists and so on. No one can escape this man-made, self-perpetuating escalating and suicidal scenario.

We have made no secret of our view that governments, for the most part, treat their own people and those of other nations as expendable according to circumstances, priorities and the overriding interests of the Global Power Brokers whom they primarily and ultimately serve. After the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003, we had the individual case of the unfortunate Sergeant Roberts, who was killed in action, arguably because no body armour had been available for him. A brief spell of marketable media publicity for his photogenic wife, an intransigent, unrepentant government, and his case duly passed into history. We have had a long record since the first Gulf War, in 1991, of serious and progressive physical disability, and eventual death from Gulf War Syndrome, of large numbers of servicemen on both sides of the Atlantic. This, along with radiation poisoning from the use of Depleted Uranium (D.U.), ammunition, has afflicted servicemen from other countries that participated in the Balkan Campaign of 1999, and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, to say nothing of the effects on innocent populations. As in the case of farmers physically afflicted by the compulsory use of organophosphates, governments, so-called "scientists", the legal system and medical authorities have variously lied, obfuscated and obstructed across the board at the very highest levels. The network of connections between such agencies and the multinational corporations is extremely revealing(1).


The Nuclear Factor In Global Conflict



We were alerted to the situation in the Middle East, with the special relevance of Iraq, by two chance conversations. The first exchange involved the large scale but little publicised operation at Baghdad Airport and other sites in Iraq to remove contaminated material. The second was with a retired oilman who has extensive experience of the Middle East. He related a chance meeting with a member of the United States Engineering Corps, who told him of the closely guarded, secret construction of a vast underground complex in Saudi Arabia complete with all services and a transport system to enable 5,000 people to survive for up to six months. This glimpse showed how the Ruling Elite regard the risk, and the importance of their own survival. However, we must go back to the early days of nuclear power. Air Commodore L.G.S. Payne, Air Correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, wrote on 19th January, 1946 of the new defence policy that would be required with the advent of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been atom-bombed in 1945, causing widespread devastation and the loss of 154,000 lives. Coupled with the potential as launchers of the wartime German V-2 rockets, with a 200-mile range, a speed of some 3,200 mph, and an operating ceiling of 65 miles, the implications, not merely for civilian populations, but for the battlefield, were enormous. Eleven years later, the meltdown of the No.1 reactor at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (U.K.A.E.A.), installation at Windscale, resulted in unstoppable publicity and a ban on the sale of milk over an area of 200 square miles due to nuclear contamination. (Manchester Guardian, 14th & 15th October, 1957). On the 30th May, 2004, Dipesh Shah, the new head of the U.K.A.E.A., spoke of the fall-out from Windscale in 1957 being carried as far as "such cities as Manchester", and that "Even today, the centre of the crippled reactor contains molten uranium and gives off a gentle heat". (The Independent on Sunday).


Far less public, we have also been reliably informed that contaminated topsoil has been discreetly removed from areas around the atomic energy research centres at Harwell and Aldermaston. A good deal more official alarm and capacity for manipulation involves ordinary people - the "little" people. When equally serious but isolated cases of these dangers occur, these can be more easily suppressed, when the oppressive, faceless totalitarian bureaucracy of Westminster and subordinate regional authorities can be brought to bear. One example concerns contamination generally, but serves to illustrate the bullying role of the "Department for the Destruction of Agriculture and the Environment", as it is widely known by farmers - D.E.F.R.A.; officially the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; in targeting those who cannot easily hit back. In an increasing state of carcinogenic, toxic pollution from traffic, modern industrial processes and agricultural chemicals, government and local authorities all-too-often work actively to suppress, for example, evidence of cancer clusters, abortions and birth defects; exactly as in the case of Gulf War Syndrome. This has been relentlessly exposed by the singular efforts of Dr Dick van Steenis, M.B.,B.S., and was reflected in an article by George Monbiot in The Guardian of 20th May, 1999, headed "Poisoning those who are poor - Filthy factories and toxic dumps are sited well away from rich areas". Historically, our homes and gardens have been relatively safe areas in such circumstances. However, Christopher Booker reported that D.E.F.R.A. have found a soft target in ordinary householders, who could be faced with massive bills and unsaleable properties if they are forced to remove topsoil for the sake of minuscule levels of contamination (The Sunday Telegraph, 20th June 2004). Conversely, the capacity for high-level cover-up when major vested interests, widespread public alarm and anger, and potentially massive costs are involved came to our notice in papers passed to us by Dr van Steenis. This involved a site at Little Hungerford, in the Earley suburb of Wokingham, in Berkshire, which had been established by Standard Oil in the 1890s and which later passed into the hands of Shell Oil as a petroleum products storage depot before the 1939-45 War. By 1965 visiting scientists revealed that the site had been converted into a vast secret underground base, complete with living accommodation and services, housing a graphite modular reactor and neutron generator. The implications for a nuclear accident in suburbia can only be imagined. When the complex was later closed down it was filled and covered with earth and a 37-unit housing estate was erected on it. We need only quote from the report, dated 6th April, 2001, by Mr Derek Willmott, M.M.B.A., Dip.Ed.., a Barrister at law, whose firm believed that "approximately 400 people have died wholly or partly as a result of the radiation and toxic chemical situation in this overall area":

It would also be beneficial to approach many of the patients in at least five well known London hospitals, who have been diagnosed with radiation sickness and other serious toxicological conditions, and have been living in the vicinity of the Shell site, with a view to carrying out further extensive sample testing. It is useful to note that many of these persons have requested that scientists should visit their homes and stay there whilst carrying out all necessary testing procedures. We have been presented with evidence which suggests that, possibly at varying times, material from the Shell site may have been deposited at any or all of the nearby development sites, such as Marsh Farm, Lambourn Gardens, Compton Close, South Lake, Winnersh Triangle, Woodley Aerodrome, Sandford Farm, and maybe others.


The Cold War, The Nuclear Factor And Leads To Oil

Paradoxically, for British servicemen and their commanders, big business collaborated with the Soviet Union throughout the so-called "Cold War", much the same as has been taking place with China today(2)(3). Harry Oppenheimer's Anglo American Gold worked covertly with the Soviet Union to control the diamond market. A profile of the Iranian-Jewish Reuben brothers linked them to Trans-Continental, a subsidiary of Metal Traders Inc., and connections with the Soviet metal market (The Observer, 26th June, 2004). The Reubens also had links to the Anglo-Jewish property developer Elliott Bernerd and financier "Black Jack" Delal, thus extending the connection to the Rothschild family. It is not inappropriate to mention here that the late Lord Victor Rothschild, revealed after the 1939-45 War as a Communist traitor whose primary loyalty was to Israel, where he is buried, was Vice-Chairman and then Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Research and subsidiary Shell research companies between 1961 and 1970. This covered the period of the Shell Site episode, of which he could hardly have been unaware. He was then appointed First Permanent under-Secretary of the Central Policy Review Staff ("Think-tank"), in the Cabinet Office under Prime Minister Edward Heath. Through the Oppenheimer Anglo American-de Beers link, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild connects to the uranium market. Lord Nathan Rothschild is invested in Yukos Oil, whose principal, the Russian-Jewish Mikhail Khordorkovsky, is under arrest in Russia. And we are back to oil and the collective resources of the Caspian region and Middle East again!

The Military Use Of Nuclear Weapons



The Cold War confrontation between the Western Powers and those of the Warsaw Pact brought the precarious stalemate scenario of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (I.C.B.Ms.). Behind this lay the serious cut and thrust of Intelligence and Subversion to infiltrate and destabilise the military viability of the adversaries. In the case of the Soviet Union, this also included the continuous Marxist-Leninist Ideological Struggle to penetrate and destabilise Western society generally. Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems were obvious targets. Hostility to nuclear energy and its questionable safety overlapped in the United Kingdom with fundamental opposition to any concept of nuclear weapons, principally through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (C.N.D.). One leading figure, in seeming contradiction to his brief military background, was Bruce Kent, a former National Service Officer with the Royal Tank Regiment (R.T.R.). Idealists, clueless politicians and other followers joined informed campaigners in the cause, which was inevitably infiltrated by agents of the K.G.B. and the G.R.U. (Soviet Military Intelligence). This was deadly serious stuff as we easily forget today. In war the sole, specific target of the Soviet Spetznaz was enemy nuclear installations. Thus the organisation and role of Spetznaz was quite different to that of the British Special Air Service Regiment (S.A.S.), with which it has been incorrectly compared. Sir Clive Rose published a complete glossary of subversive and front organisations of this period(4). This included Generals for Peace, which included senior retired officers from leading European countries, and Admiral John Marshal Lee from the United States. The late Brigadier Michael Harbottle, a former Deputy Commander of the United Nations Force in Cyprus (U.F.I.CYP), was the British representative. Regarded as subversive in their time, we may now perceive clearly in hindsight the justification for the serious reservations of the most senior armed forces officers about the conduct and course of war in the nuclear era.

Early tactical principles involved greatly increased dispersion against the effects of nuclear attack. But there was one fundamental principle of war that has direct relevance to the tragedy being played out since the first Gulf War of 1991, wherever the United States-driven United Nations, Nato or Coalition forces have operated. Factors that have historically influenced and altered the fundamentals of war are few. Arguably, these include the bow and arrow and the horse. The bow and arrow removed the inevitability of hand-to-hand combat. The horse brought mobility and flexibility. Gunpowder merely enhanced the range of the arrow and the ballista (catapult), albeit dramatically, although it also considerably expanded the scope for demolition. Mechanisation likewise dramatically enhanced the performance of the horse which it replaced. One other element of war, nuclear power, has now fundamentally altered the conduct and course of any future war. Historically, the objective had been to displace an enemy from his position and hold that ground as a stage in the battle. Once nuclear weapons came into existence such ground, once contaminated, will be denied permanently to both sides. The pattern of war had changed for ever, but no training, no simulation can replace experience of conflict itself. Since no major war has broken out we simply do not have that experience, or discipline. Recklessly and unprofessionally, principally the United States has flouted the nuclear principle. It has wrought a tragedy that is now unfolding for friend and foe alike, as well as innocent civilians, the magnitude of which we have yet to see.

IRAQ AFTER THE NUCLEAR STRIKES


In the current context we were first brought face-to-face with the problems of nuclear contamination in conversation with a regular contributor, journalist Felicity Arbuthnot, who has extensive experience of Iraq, it people, its culture and traditions and its geography. She mentioned the plight of Iraqi prisoners held for many months at Baghdad Airport, and risks of cancers and other problems from the contaminated environment that arose from the widespread use of nuclear weapons during the invasion of 2003. But this automatically called into question the need to staff not only the prison facilities, but to guard and operate a very busy - thus turbulent dust-laden - airport, which could only be carried out with the use of United States servicemen and civilian contractors who would suffer the same exposure. Felicity passed us the relevant section of a report first obtained by Jo Wilding, a courageous and determined 22-year-old law graduate who had spent many months in Iraq, where she personally witnessed many atrocities against innocent Iraqi people. The provenance of this extract, which is dated November, 2003, and billed "Part 3 of Installment 1", is that of the Uranium Medical Research Centre (U.M.R.C.), founded by Dr Asav Durakovic, formerly an adviser to the Pentagon, the World Health Organisation and Nato on radiological issues. What follows is the text of this Report:

Coalition Clean-up And Soil Replacement Activities

The field team observed a concentrated effort by United States military engineering units and Iraqi contractors escorted by United States Army security forces in the process of clean-up operations of bomb and battle sites. The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the United States occupied base in South-Western Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the International Airport and hosts one of the largest Coalition ground forces bases around Baghdad, occupying the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard. The area was subject to considerable aerial bombing and rocket fire prior to the Coalition ground forces' arrival followed by several ground skirmishes along the main routes to the International Airport and Western entrances to the City. This area is adjacent to the Mansour District and the main route to many bridges crossing the Tigris into the downtown core. Auweirj contains a wealthy residential neighbourhood including the homes of many (former) Iraqi military officers and the main barracks and staging area for the republican Guard. Some of the highest overall ambient air and ground surface radioactivity readings were measured in Auweirj.


Throughout most of the year, Baghdad's atmosphere is saturated by dust blowing out of the Western desert a meteorological pattern called the Sharqi. Its dust laden winds give an appearance of a fog blanketing the horizon, reaching to a ceiling of approximately 2,000 metres. The dust and winds were not present during the teams first few days in Baghdad. The city was experiencing one of its brief periods of clear skies, windless and cooling days typical of the late Autumn. Leaving the downtown core for Auweirj requires crossing one of the elevated bridges over the Tigris River. The raised bridge provides a long view towards the South-South West. On the 1st October, 2003, the teams third day in Baghdad, this view was interrupted by an enormous dust cloud hovering over a several hectare area, rising upwards of 300 metres (1,000 ft). The cloud slowly traversed Auweirj, moving north easterly towards the main residential neighbourhoods on the west side of the river.

As the teams vehicle approached Auweirj, the cloud was blanketing the Coalition occupied base, depositing a layer of fresh dust on people, houses, automobiles, and the highway. We had to turn on the windshield wipers. Departing the Coalition occupied base was a long, steady stream of tandem axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading South away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully laden dump trucks waiting to enter the base. As we passed the base's main entrance, the gates were opened to reveal bulldozers spreading soil while front end loaders were filling the trucks that had just emptied their loads of soil (silt and sand). The trucks arriving were delivering loads of sand into the base while the departing trucks were hauling away the topsoil.

Interviews of roadside vendors revealed the United States had been, for months, removing surface soil, trucking this material into the desert South West of the City and returning with fresh sand to build up a new surface. Being a dirty battlefield, it was understandable that American forces were removing potentially contaminating soils from their living and working areas. But this earth moving exercise appeared counter-productive if contamination was the concern. The soil removal was lofting tonnes of fine, light dust into the local environment, which was then falling back to inundate square kilometres of residential neighbourhoods and Coalition-occupied facilities. In several locations, the potentially contaminated soil was dumped so as to establish defensive berms and fill perimeter security caissons surrounding occupied facilities. This practice was observed inside several cities.


The method of topsoil removal and replacement at United States occupied bases, living facilities and administrative buildings is mechanically resuspending tonnes of potentially contaminated particulate. The dust clouds are lofting above and spreading over the entire area; of 5,000,000 residents in Baghdad alone. It is also exposing thousands of United States military personnel and the many frequent foreign visitors including N.G.O. (Non Government Organisation) staff, reconstruction crews, business and trade delegates, and diplomatic and foreign service employees.

Landscaping The Battlefields


Throughout the teams' tours to locate Baghdad area battlefields and bombsites, mostly at the City's Southern and Western approach points, earth moving crews were observed landscaping the battlefields. This work began shortly after the cessation of the major combat engagements in Baghdad. The United States is conducting a systematic but incomplete effort to isolate and rectify contaminated sites. The programme began with removing damaged and disabled military assets. Emphasis has been placed on the visible sites easily accessed along the roads and highways. Most Iraqi tanks, A.P.C.s (Armoured Personnel Carriers) and artillery pieces have been winched out of their defensive positions, loaded onto flatbeds and transported to the tank graveyards in Auweirj and the occupied airports. In Baghdad, there remains a small number of damaged tanks and other disabled armoured assets along secondary roads, back yards, and in farm fields. Because of security risks to American forces, they are either not permitted or are understandably disinclined to venture away from the major highways to finish the clean up. With the growing security problems and attacks, resources are being returned to combat duty.

Following the removal of Iraqi military assets, American engineering divisions supervise the landscaping programme. Press report the battlefield landscaping programme as a clean-up (largely represented by covering over with soil) of U.X.O. (unexploded ordnance) and other dangerous debris left in the many combat areas. The programme has not been declared as a clean-up of radioactive contamination. Heavy trucks bring in topsoil and debris recycled from the combat and bomb damaged, now Coalition occupied facilities, and spread it in a course and uneven layer it is not graded or levelled, leaving the surface impossible to drive on and very difficult to walk on. The back-fill is used to cover ad hoc battlefield graveyards, diesel, kerosene and oil spills, an extensive array and high quantity of unexploded tank munitions, pools of loose high explosive polymer fills, unexploded mines and cluster munitions, and uranium oxide deposits surrounding burned out and penetrator defeated Iraqi tank defensive positions. While U.M.R.C. was investigating the Auweirj tank grave-yard, U.X.Os. were exploding in the hot sun. In the Al Basra area the team was shaken by the spontaneous detonation of a U.X.O. At that same Basra location, days before, a child was killed by a spontaneous explosion as he walked through the battlefield in the date palm orchard next to his house.



Clean up Operations Missing Or Avoiding Radioactive Tanks And
Uranium Oxide Deposits



Battlefield landscaping operations are most extensive in Baghdad although they have been carried out to lesser degrees elsewhere. Locals report that the Coalition troops are careful to avoid the radioactive sites and radioactive, disabled Iraqi assets. U.M.R.C. interviewed residents, a municipal engineer and industrial workers in Nasiriyah and Basra who witnessed post conflict battlefield inspections, describing these in detail. The team's radiation surveys of these sites demonstrate that Coalition forces are missing or avoiding several high risk areas. Three examples are outlined below:

United States clean up in Baghdad


Baghdad Gate, Route 6, is the main entry point to the city from the south. The Gate is a massive concrete monument with a double archway spreading over the six lane, divided highway. One kilometre North of the gate is a main interchange where traffic entering the City can follow a cloverleaf ramp onto an overhead highway, proceeding northbound on the West side of the Tigris to access any of several bridges entering the city. Vehicles can go North Westerly towards the airport or enter the many suburban neighbourhoods. Baghdad Gate was strategically important to the Iraqi defence of Baghdad due to the intersection of the main northbound highways, flanked by the river and forcing all traffic into a slow moving bottleneck.

Iraqi tanks and anti aircraft guns established a major defensive position beside and under the Gate, dug into tank pits and foxholes in the trees and hiding in the orchard perimeter east of the highway. The position stretched a kilometre under mature tree cover. Iraqi command and control was nested underneath the criss cross of overhead highway exit ramps of the six lane elevated highway. A small date palm orchard behind the tanks and artillery positions provided cover for infantry snipers and chain guns. An anti tank, anti aircraft unit was stationed under the Northbound archway of the monument. Two hundred yards to the East is a village type suburb housing farmers, small merchants and commuters. There is a road-side picnic area under the trees with automobile pull off lanes on either side where merchants sell refreshments and gasoline to highway travellers. On the West side of the highway are the remnants of a small medical clinic destroyed by an American rocket during the engagement at Baghdad Gate.


According to a roadside merchant selling gasoline next to the monument, a stiff battle ensued here. He watched as helicopter gun ships and armoured vehicles engaged the Iraqi's position. He described Iraqi tank crews bailing out of rocketed and burning tanks to be killed by a hail of both United States suppression fire and their own friendly fire as they ran towards the orchard for cover. This man personally collected and buried 23 bodies in the field next to Baghdad Gate, a graveyard now covered over by Coalition battlefield landscaping operations. The merchant explained that he was a soldier in the 1991 Gulf War and knew the danger of uranium toxicity from American and British ordnance. He said he was careful only to bury Iraqi soldiers and tank crewmen killed by friendly fire, small arms and aircraft. He was afraid to handle the bodies of Iraqi troops and civilians killed by Coalition tank rounds and A 10 suppression fire.

Baghdad Gate exemplifies Coalition landscaping operations in the United States controlled areas in the capital. The battlefield was large and complex, requiring three field visits to survey. By the third visit the battle-ground was almost completely covered with piles of sand and bombed out building debris trucked into the site and pushed over most of the combat area. During the second visit to this site, while completing the radiation survey of burned out tank defensive positions on one end of the battlefield, a United States security patrol in Humvees with top mounted 50 calibre machine guns was guarding Iraqi contractors as they spread the fill towards us.

The covering over of this radioactive battlefield was careless and incomplete. Left open and exposed were the scorched and twisted remains of tanks decimated by continuous heavy fire of high explosive rockets and radioactive kinetic penetrators. The remaining metal parts, tank treads, clothing and piles of spent and unspent ammunition littered foxholes and defensive pits where tanks and other assets had been hidden to lower their profiles. Several emplacements, visible as circular burn (D.U. oxide pools) patches 8 to 10 metres in diameter remained uncovered and undisturbed by the landscaping operation. The field team was invited to join a travelling Iraqi family that had stopped here to have lunch. They were seated on a concrete bench less than 6 metres from a radioactive source measuring approximately 200 times the already elevated, Baghdad reference level.

Abandoning radioactive tanks in Nasiriyah


During the opening days of Rapid Dominance, the North West corridor through Nasiriyah was defended by an Iraqi mechanised, heavy armour group. The battle for control of the entry to Nasiriyah centred on the bridge across the Euphrates River and was reported by United States embedded reporters to be one of the toughest engagements fought by the 1st United States Marine Expeditionary Force. To defend this approach point and slow the Coalitions advance, five T 72 Russian built M.B.Ts. (Main Battle Tanks) were dug into a low ground position between the road and the adjacent Aluminium Fabrication and Engineering Company's employees residential quarters. This was a typical Iraqi defensive position, close to urban cover, occupying the low ground, not the high ground, extending the survival time by avoiding close in air cavalry attacks, and limiting visibility by oncoming forces with an escape route at the back.

In August, an American forces post conflict investigation and recovery team, accompanied by heavily armed security arrived to conduct a radiation survey of the battlefield. They were observed by residents of the adjacent houses who, in their curiosity, approached the survey team. The residents watched as each tank was inspected with G M counters. The survey team called in two flat bed trucks and a heavy winching unit. Two of the five tanks were pulled up and out of the battlefield, over a steep and difficult pitch and on to the flatbeds. From here they were transported to a secure location at the Coalition occupied airport. Seven months after the battle, and three months after the United States survey team had removed the two tanks, the U.M.R.C. (Uranium Medical Research Centre), investigated this battlefield to find the three remaining tanks were radioactive. The tanks had been disabled by a combination of low trajectory delivered non explosive, kinetic penetrators and direct armour, explosively formed or shaped charge penetrators (e.g., probably by mechanised infantry vehicles or manually fired rockets). Neither top munitions nor air delivered penetrator entry channels were found on these tanks.

The radioactive ballistic penetrations were clearly visible on the turrets and chassis of the three M.B.Ts., generating G M count levels several hundred times background. The residents of the houses located within 30 metres of the tanks reported being warned by the United States survey team. Teenagers in a group watching the survey work and tank removal were advised by an interpreter not to play in the tanks because they could get sick.

British Investigations At Abu Khasib Fail To Post Warnings Or Remove Hazards


The advance on Al Basra was commanded by the British under the code name, Operation James (a sub division of Operation Telic). The 7 Armoured Division's joint operations included the famous Desert Rats of the 3rd Commando Brigade and attachments from the Australian armed forces (Operation Falconer). They engaged the toughest of the Iraqi armoured divisions during what is reported to have been the heaviest combat witnessed during the 26 days of combat. The approach to Al Basra was defended by three Iraqi mechanised tank divisions, marine units using the canals and rivers, and a host of paramilitary and local resistance groups. U.M.R.C. found the largest concentration of disabled Iraqi M.B.Ts. and the largest battlefield in Iraq at Abu Khasib, south of Al Basra. Al Basra, the second largest city in Iraq, with 1,500,000 residents, was under the control of the British forces at the time of U.M.R.C.'s investigation.

Unlike Baghdad, where United States forces have carried out soil removal and replacement, battlefield landscaping and military hardware retrieval operations, the Al Basras combat areas remain largely unchanged over the seven months since the end of the battle. Witnesses interviewed in this area report that a British army radiation survey team inspected the large Abu Khasib battlefield. The United Kingdom team arrived to the area dressed in bright white, full body radiation suites with protective face masks and gloves. They were accompanied by translators who were ordered to warn residents and local salvage and recycling crews (typically described as looters in the western press) that the tanks in this battlefield are radioactive and must be avoided.

The British team surveyed tanks and A.P.Cs. (Armoured Personnel Carriers) in which U.M.R.C. later found the highest number, highest levels and highest concentrations of radioactive source points and hot spots throughout its 13 day field trip. According to several persons interviewed, the British Ministry of Defence survey team strongly encouraged a group of bystanders to post signs on the tanks warning of the dangers of radioactivity to children, salvagers and curiosity seekers. The British forces have taken no steps to post warnings, seal tanks and A.P.Cs. or remove the highly radioactive assets. The team found radioactivity in and around most tanks in this battlefield as well as elevated readings on the soil surface, in the air and inside occupied buildings situated in the battlefield.

The British Army 2nd Close Support Regiment (Royal Logistics Corp) has posted on the Internet, photographs showing the burned out remains of an Iraqi M.B.T. in Abu Khasib. This particular tank was, coincidentally, inspected by U.M.R.C.'s field team. It remains as a curiosity seekers attraction on the roadside between Abu Khasib and Al Basra. The tanks diesel engine and several forged metal parts have been removed and recycled into the community. The direct armour, uranium kinetic penetrators entry channels can be seen in the Ministry of Defence photograph at the base of the main gun. The tank was also hit by a rocket or H.E.A.T. (High Explosive Anti Tank) round that kicked the turret off its rotary mount. This tank's radioactivity readings are 200 times background. Tens of thousands of unexploded rounds of ammunition (UXO) and ballistic debris still litter the Abu Khasib and Basra battlefields. British security and stabilisation forces are regularly seen touring this neighbourhood but are careful not to approach the battlefields and disabled Iraqi tanks.


SLOW DEATH BY RADIATION

We have referred on several occasions previously to the serious physical side effects from the use of Depleted Uranium bombs and ammunition. The following two articles, in both of which we see again the name of Asaf Durakovic, each confirm and amplify a situation and a familiar pattern in which governments on both sides of the Atlantic persistently maintain a cynically low profile. The British Government has now quietly abandoned the use of D.U. but, no doubt in accordance with the inevitable Treasury diktat, existing stocks will have first to be expended. Like the ill-fated Sergeant Roberts and body armour, financial considerations are more important in the world of whip-driven party-politics than human life. The low official profile, continuing obfuscation and denial, together with corrupt medical diagnosis are an attempt to stall the day of reckoning should a comatose public awake from its "bread and circuses" slumber - the "Coronation Street - Dave Beckham syndrome", come to its senses and precipitate a major scandal with its implications for massive compensation and official retribution - literally on grounds of murder by default.

Depleted Uranium: Pentagon Poison
By Minnie Bruce Pratt, Workers World, New York, 3rd June, 2004

Deadly radioactivity is drifting in the sands and fertile fields of Iraq, in rain failing in Europe, in breezes that toss palm trees in Vieques, Puerto Rico, in the water of South Korea the toxic debris of exploded United States Depleted Uranium shells. The International Action Centre (I.A.C.), continued its historic exposé of this terrible danger with a forum in New York City on May 25th: "Poison Dust Another United States War Crime: the Use of Radioactive Weapons in the Gulf." D.U. is a by-product of the process used to make nuclear bombs and reactor fuel. Because this metal is 1.8 times denser than lead and burns on impact with steel, bullets and shells made of D.U. can cut through tank armour like a knife through butter. United States tanks, Bradley fighting machines, A10 attack jets and Apache helicopters routinely fire D.U. rounds. When a D.U. shell hits a target, as much as 70 per cent burns on impact, releasing invisible and insoluble uranium oxide, a radioactive dust that people inhale and ingest.


To the political hip hop of Movement in Motion arts collective chanting "Drop beats, not bombs", 200 people crowded the United Nations Church Centre for the meeting on "Poison Dust". The meeting was co chaired by Naomi Santos of Movement in Motion and I.A.C. co director Sara Flounders. Flounders alerted the gathering that over half of the 700,000 veterans of the first American invasion of Iraq in 1991 have the chronic illness dubbed "Gulf War Syndrome". Millions of Iraqis died of preventable diseases from the obliteration of water and health systems by bombing and 12 years of sanctions starting in 1990. More recently, Iraqi doctors began to note an ominous increase in cancer and diseases of the immune systems. Sharon Eolis, a health care worker who travelled to Iraq in 1998 and 2000, confirmed that both United States documents and independent scientists strongly link this pattern of sickness and death to D.U. IAC founder and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark(5) first raised the issue of D.U. shortly after the 1991 Gulf War. The I.A.C. has continued to inform the public through its D.U. Education Project with such publications as Metal of Dishonour: How the Pentagon Radiates Soldiers and Civilians with D.U. Weapons. The project also challenged the United States Government denials of D.U.'s impact in a video, also called Metal of Dishonour, produced by the People's Video Network (P.V.N.). At the meeting Sue Harris of P.V.N. announced development of a new video, Poison Dust, which will go on tour to military bases and communities. The film is necessary, she said, "because the situation is getting worse." The United States dropped 375 tons of D.U. on Iraq during the first Gulf War, and 2,200 tons during the current invasion. The United States has also used D.U. weapons during its assaults on Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia; in training exercises in Vieques, Okinawa and South Korea, and doubtless in numerous United States military testing grounds. Other countries also use D.U. weapons.


Ramsey Clark traced his journey toward understanding the murderous impact of D.U. on the people of Iraq. He noted that the first signs came two years after heavy United States bombing of the desert near Kuwait in 1991. Nomadic Bedouin people, seeking help, began to bring newly born deformed babies into urban hospitals. In March, 2001, Dr. Aws Albait, an Iraqi physician who worked in Baghdad from 1990 1999, said that leukemia and lymphomas in Iraqi children had increased 12 fold, and in adults, six fold. Illness and genetic damage is also occurring in the children of United States soldiers. Children of male Gulf War veterans are born with twice the usual rate of birth defects. In female veterans, the rate is three times normal, with double the rate of miscarriages. A study in the April, 2003, New Scientist magazine suggests D.U. toxicity combines synergistically with its radioactivity to produce much more serious effects than either poison alone. Clark stressed that the impact of D.U. unfolds over many years, and that the movement must be committed to an equally long struggle: "We have to reach out, be unified, with every ounce of energy. This is a war against the poor with the United States military there only to protect and increase the wealth of the few."

Juan Gonzaiez, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a co producer of the "Democracy Now!" radio show, is currently running a series of columns on D.U. in the New York Daily News. He acknowledged that he was standing an the shoulders of the I.A.C. and other activists, saying: "A huge, huge catastrophe has been visited upon the planet by use of these weapons and the spread of low level radiation." Gonzaiez broke the story on D.U. after the mother of an American soldier on leave from Iraq came to him for help. Her son, serving with a New York State National Guard unit, was suffering from serious respiratory problems - and being forced to return to combat. The mother added that many other members of his unit in Iraq were also so sick with high temperatures, kidney ailments and respiratory problems that they'd been sent home to Fort Dix.

Gonzaiez saw a connection to the effects of D.U., and arranged for independent testing of the soldiers. Of nine tested, four were absolutely positive for D.U. contamination, and three were probable. Denied testing at Waiter Reed Military Hospital, they were examined in a German clinic under the supervision of Dr Asaf Durakovic, Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a Colonel in the United States Army Reserves. Dr Durakovic, who is the Veterans Administration's nuclear medicine expert, has characterized D.U. as a "threat to humanity". D.U. is the latest manifestation of the dangerous low level radiation that is a by-product of United States military use of nuclear weapons. Gonzaiez cited a January, 2000, Federal report on occupational sickness of Department of Energy personnel that documented 50 years of deliberate government exposure of military and civilian personnel to radiation. A 1990 report on the effects of D.U., from the United States Army Armaments, Munitions and Chemical Command, was clear: "[L]ong term effects of low doses [of D.U] have been implicated in cancer. There is no dose so low that the probability of effect is zero." Gonzaiez was emphatic: "These weapons have to be eliminated or the whole planet will be contaminated."


Resisting war crimes Navy veteran Dustin Langley of S.N.A.F.U. (Support Network for an Armed Forces Union) stated that D.U. was just one more crime of the United States against its own soldiers, in a line stretching back to exposing troops to atomic testing during the Cold War and Agent Orange in Vietnam. He described how soldiers - working people forced to enlist by the "poverty draft" come home with contaminated equipment, store it in the garage or laundry room, and sicken their own families. "D.U. doesn't wash off with 'Tide'," he said. Langley urged the crowd to join the I.A.C. and S.N.A.F.U. in turning out for the June 5th March on Washington to end the United States occupation of Iraq, Pales-tine, Haiti, the Philippines, Korea and everywhere. He indicted the Bush administration as a regime that is "Stockpiling Weapons of Mass Destruction, using them against its own people, and funding a world-wide network of terrorism" through United States military aggression. But by "regime change," he said, he didn't mean the Democrats or Ralph Nader's campaign.

The solution? "A global mass movement a multinational, multi gendered anti war movement that will shock and awe the war makers in Washington." For inspiration, he pointed to the heroic resistance in Fallujah and to the growing number of United States soldiers who refuse to commit war crimes, like Marine Corps resister Stephen Funk and Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, a Nicaraguan immigrant sentenced on May 21st to a year's imprisonment. Mejia would not return to his unit in Iraq, saying, "This is an oil driven war". More inspiration for resistance came from Frank Velgara of the Vieques Support Campaign, who told how on May 3rd , 2003, a decades long struggle by determined Puerto Rican activists shut down the United States Navy bombing range in Vieques, a "victory against the most powerful military in the world." Kadouri al Kaysi, an International Action Centre member from Basra, Iraq, seconded that determination, focussing the evening on action: "Iraqis want the United States out of Iraq. The fight is still going on, and they will never give up. Most important is to come to Washington on June 5th to say to the Iraqis: We are with you, not with the United States Government!"

Poisoned?
By Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, Saturday, 3rd April, 2004


Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from Depleted Uranium shells fired by United States troops, a Daily News investigation has found. They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah. "I got sick instantly in June," said Staff Sergeant Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. "My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach." A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four "almost certainly" inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with Depleted Uranium. Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two man-made forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers. If so, the men Sergeant Hector Vega, Sergeant Ray Ramos, Sergeant Agustin Matos and Corporal Anthony Yonnone are the first confirmed cases of inhaled Depleted Uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict. The 442nd, made up for the most part of New York cops, firefighters and correction officers, is based in Orangeburg, Rockland County. Dispatched to Iraq last Easter, 2004, the unit's members have been providing guard duty for convoys, running jails and training Iraqi Police. The entire company is due to return home later this month. "These are amazing results, especially since these soldiers were Military Police not exposed to the heat of battle," said Doctor Asaf Durakovic, who examined the GIs. and performed the testing that was funded by The News. "Other American soldiers who were in combat must have more depleted uranium exposure," said Durakovic, a Colonel in the Army Reserves who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. While working at a military hospital in Delaware, he was one of the first doctors to discover unusual radiation levels in Gulf War veterans. He has since become a leading critic of the use of Depleted Uranium in warfare.


Depleted Uranium, a waste product of the uranium enrichment process, has been used by the United States and British military for more than 15 years in some artillery shells and as armour plating for tanks. It is twice as heavy as lead. Because of its density, "it is the superior heavy metal for armour to protect tanks and to penetrate armour," Pentagon spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said. The Army and Air Force fired at least 127 tons of Depleted Uranium shells in Iraq last year, Kilpatrick said. No figures have yet been released for how much the Marines fired. Kilpatrick said about 1,000 GIs. back from the war have been tested by the Pentagon for Depleted Uranium and only three have come up positive all as a result of shrapnel from D.U. shells. But the test results for the New York guardsmen four of nine positives for D.U. suggest the potential for more extensive radiation exposure among Coalition troops and Iraqi civilians. Several Army studies in recent years have concluded that the low level radiation emitted when shells containing D.U. explode poses no significant dangers. But some independent scientists and a few of the Army's own reports indicate otherwise. As a result, Depleted Uranium weapons have sparked increasing controversy around the world. In January 2003, the European Parliament called for a moratorium on their use after reports of an unusual number of leukemia deaths among Italian soldiers who served in Kosovo, where D.U. weapons were used.

The Army says that only soldiers wounded by Depleted Uranium shrapnel or who are inside tanks during an explosion face measurable radiation exposure. But as far back as 1979, Leonard Diets, a physicist at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory upstate, discovered that D.U. contaminated dust could travel for long distances. Diets, who pioneered the technology to isolate uranium isotopes, accidentally discovered that air filters with which he was experimenting had collected radioactive dust from a National Lead Industries Plant that was producing D.U. 26 miles away. His discovery led to a shutdown of the plant. "The contamination was so heavy that they had to remove the topsoil from 52 properties around the plant," Diets said. All humans have at least tiny amounts of natural uranium in their bodies because it is found in water and in the food supply, Diets said. But natural uranium is quickly and harmlessly excreted by the body. Uranium oxide dust, which lodges in the lungs once inhaled and is not very soluble, can emit radiation to the body for years. "Anybody, civilian or soldier, who breathes these particles has a permanent dose, and it's not going to decrease very much over time," said Diets, who retired in 1983 after 33 years as nuclear physicist. "in the long run . . . veterans exposed to ceramic uranium oxide have a major problem."


Critics of D.U. have noted that the Army's view of its dangers has changed over time. Before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a 1990 Army report noted that Depleted Uranium is "linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage." It was during the Gulf War that United States A10 Warthog "tank buster" planes and Abrams tanks first used D.U. artillery on a mass scale. The Pentagon says it fired about 320 tons of D.U. in that war and that smaller amounts were also used in the Serbian province of Kosovo. In the Gulf War, Army brass did not warn soldiers about any risks from exploding D.U. shells. An unknown number of GIs. were exposed by shrapnel, inhalation or handling battlefield debris. Some veterans groups blame D.U. contamination as a factor in Gulf War Syndrome, the term for a host of [ailments] that afflicted thousands of veterans from that war. Under pressure from veterans groups, the Pentagon commissioned several new studies. One of those, published in 2000, concluded that D.U., as a heavy metal, "could pose a chemical hazard" but that Gulf War veterans "did not experience intakes high enough to affect their health." Pentagon spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said Army follow-up studies of 70 D.U. contaminated Gulf War veterans have not shown serious health effects. "For any heavy metal, there is no such thing as safe," Kilpatrick said. "There is an issue of chemical toxicity, and for D.U. it is raised as radiological toxicity as well." But he said "the overwhelming conclusion" from studies of those who work with uranium "show it has not produced any increase in cancers."

Several European studies, however, have linked D.U. to chromosome damage and birth defects in mice. Many scientists say we still don't know enough about the long range effects of low level radiation on the body to say any amount is safe. Britain's national science academy, The Royal Society, has called for identifying where D.U. was used and is urging a clean-up of all contaminated areas. "A large number of American soldiers [in Iraq] may have had significant exposure to uranium oxide dust," said Dr. Thomas Fasey, a pathologist at Mount Sinai Medical Centre and an expert on Depleted Uranium. "And the health impact is worrisome for the future." As for the soldiers of the 442nd, they're sick, frustrated and confused. They say when they arrived in Iraq no one warned them about Depleted Uranium and no one gave them dust masks.


As part of the investigation by the Daily News, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a nuclear medicine expert who has conducted extensive research on Depleted Uranium, examined the nine soldiers from the 442nd Military Police in late December and collected urine specimens from each. Another member of his team, Professor Axel Gerdes, a geologist at Goethe University in Frankfurt who specializes in analysing uranium isotopes, performed repeated tests on the samples over a week long period. He used a state of the art procedure called multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Only about 100 laboratories world-wide have the same capability to identify and measure various uranium isotopes in minute quantities, Gerdes said. He concluded that four of the men had Depleted Uranium in their bodies. Depleted Uranium, which does not occur in nature, is created as a waste product of uranium enrichment when some of the highly radioactive isotopes in natural uranium, U 235 and U 234, are extracted. Several of the men, according to Durakovic, also had minute traces of another uranium isotope, U 236, that is produced only in a nuclear reaction process. "These men were almost certainly exposed to radioactive weapons on the battlefield," Durakovic said. He and Gerdes plan to issue a scientific paper on their study of the soldiers at the annual meeting of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine in Finland this year. When D.U. shells explode, they permanently contaminate their target and the area immediately around it with low level radioactivity.

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BOOK REVIEW
by "Kitz"

Whip's Nightmare - Diary of a Maastricht Rebel by Christopher Gill. The Memoir Club, 2003.

In June 1987, Christopher Gill became the Conservative Member of Parliament for Ludlow, when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. In March, 1997, some ten years later with John Major as Prime Minister, he was to leave national party politics to organise what he had aimed to do as a Member of Parliament, that is to resist what he called the surreptitious absorption of the United Kingdom into the European Union without any effective dialogue with the British people about its likely effects upon their daily lives.

Christopher Gill started his political life in Wolverhampton politics and as the Chairman of its Education Authority, he was soon to learn what national politics could be about when he asked repeatedly the then shadow Education Secretary, Sir Edward Boyle, about the future of grammar schools under a future Conservative Government and received no answer. Such was the beginning of his vertical learning curve as a new M.P. Diaries are often difficult to handle and learn from insofar as they catalogue events day-by-day, and although vital sources of historical research fail to sketch the momentous events between 1987 and 1997, particularly in relation to the United Kingdom-European Union debate. Despite Christopher Gill's best efforts the real place of the United Kingdom within the European Union still remains unresolved.


Christopher Gill is, mercifully, an optimist, otherwise in spite of his description of the buffeting he had, as the leader of the so-called "Westminster Eight" in the House of Commons, he would not later have become the Chairman of the Freedom Association, after having left the Conservative Party in the process. Inevitably, therefore the question arises what has been achieved when British sovereignty is still being haemorrhaged away and we, as a people, are becoming more and more the playthings of a noticeably corrupt European Union with the disgraceful unelected Commission at its core. Christopher Gill may have played his part heroically, but the subject is still with us.

Nonetheless, in all his efforts, Christopher Gill turns out to be a man of great courage and almost unending persistence in opposing the European Treaty and Maastricht. I think he would have liked this description of himself for he and his colleagues conducted their opposition within weak major administrations and which brought them repeatedly into confrontation with the Whips, hence the book's title Whip's Nightmare.

What Christopher Gill stood for as an M.P. and indeed what he now stands for is very much the product of his background. He noted, with undisguised satisfaction that as the head of a family meat processing business he had experience of the harsh realities of the real world, denied to many of the other M.Ps. who take up their seats in the House of Commons as non-practising lawyers or whose so-called reputation rests upon their being members of some think-tank or other.

To his credit, Christopher Gill never deviated from his opposition to the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty since he believed passionately that they undermined Britain's ability to govern itself. The Commons Agricultural Policy he labels as being absurd, the Common Fisheries Policy as a fishing free-for-all and calls the European Parliament a costly nonsense. He derides the European Union's attempts to control our defence, foreign and monetary policies. Little wonder then that he was anathema to the Conservative Governments of John Major and the travelling power seekers of whom Heseltine was a prime example. The whole nature of politics at this time is, according to Christopher one based upon deceit, half-truths and the slavish activities of supine Whips.

And one begins to wonder, as I am sure Christopher Gill must have often done, what House of Commons politics, with or without the Whips is really about. The tortuous procedures explained in the book - closure and dilatory motions, whether to have late-night sittings or not are really of little value to the average reader and one might even venture the thought despite their long history, whether there is now urgent need of radical change in which, after all, the making of our laws depend upon. Indeed, it doesn't say much for the House itself when the Westminster Eight arrange seating of its supporters as near to the Whip's offices as possible just to see who goes in and who comes out as an indication of who is for or against their views.

But, to close on an optimistic note, Christopher Gill is still a force in national politics as the Chairman of the Freedom Association, and who knows what oaks may grow out of some small acorns left in the ground? And indeed whether the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament might be the beginning of a fruitful realignment of national politics whereby, as John Biffen comments in his foreword to the book, whether such a towering figure as, say, Disraeli, may emerge.

So what does this book written with such lack of ambiguity tell us of ourselves? Are we really a truly representative democracy, when of the 659 M.Ps. in the House, about a third of whom are potentially for sale to the Whips more for the sake of party unity than for the welfare of the people they represent. If I could write that this is the real contribution of this book, then Christopher Gill can fairly say that his difficult years as an M.P. have not been wasted.

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AT THE END OF THE DAY

The review by Kitz of Christopher Gill's Whip's Nightmare - Diary of a Maastricht Rebel is not a bad note on which to end. Christopher Gill has written of the duplicity and ineptitude of the party-political system and those who control it. This is the same system that, save for a handful of M.Ps. prepared to stand up and be counted, was willing to support an invasion based on the fabricated evidence of a now conveniently forgotten "dossier", rather than risk individual parliamentary careers, exactly as happened in the case of the rebellion against the Maastricht Treaty. It is the same system that retains a duplicitous, fanciful Prime Minister in office, a liar who prates persistently about the million Iraqis murdered by Saddam Hussien, whilst conveniently omitting the million who died as a result of 12 years of United States-United Kingdon-imposed Sanctions, and 10,000 plus more innocent Iraqis who have been slaughtered indiscriminately during the "liberation". It is the same virtually interchangable two-party system that sent an ill-equipped Sergeant Roberts to his death, as that in the United States that has been prepared to allow raw, ill-trained Reservists to proceed straight from civilian life to endure the flak of atrocities against Iraqi prisoners, as well as into the front line. The omens are not good, either for the Coalition governments, or for the Middle East.



REFERENCES

(1) On Target, passim.
(2) Sutton, Antony C. Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Arlington House Publishers, 1974. P/B reprint; £13.00.
(3) Sutton, Antony C. National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union. Arlngton House Publishers, 1973. P/B reprint; £14.75.
(4) Rose, Sir Clive. The Soviet Propaganda Network - A Directory Of Organisa-tions Serving Soviet Foreign Policy. Pinter Publishers, London in association with John Spiers. St Martin's Press, New York. 1988.
(5) Author of The Fire This Time - U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf. Thunder's Mouth Press, 1994. A well-known reference on the 1991 Gulf War, although Clark did not at this stage deal with D.U., the effects of which had yet to materialise.

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159