(en) Pentagon Simulation Doesn't Include DU Weapons

International Action Center (iacenter@iacenter.org)
Thu, 22 May 1997 13:24:24 -0500


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Press Advisory

NEWS ADVISORY: Press Contacts: (212) 679-2250Tod Ensign/ Citizen Soldier (212) 633-6646 Frank Alexander/ DUEP

For May 22, 1997

SIMULATED RE-CREATION OF TOXIC EXPLOSIONS AT KHAMISIYAH BEGINS:SITES WHERE LARGE-SCALE CONTAMINATION BY DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS SHOULD ALSO BE STUDIED

GROUPS DEMAND RELEASE OF GOVERNMENT REPORT ON DU CONTAMINATION OF DOHA BASE

On May 28th, the Pentagon will begin a multi-million dollar project at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah to simulate the US military's destruction of the Khamisiyah ammunition bunkers where large amounts of sarin and cyclo-sarin gases were stored. Despite mounting evidence of the health risks, research into the impact of Depleted Uranium weapons continues to be neglected. Gulf War veterans, scientists, and doctors have joined voices to demand that investigations into the toxic and radiation exposures from the widespread and uncontrolled use of depleted uranium weapons begin immediately. Tod Ensign, Director of Citizen Soldier commented; "Two large sites of DU contamination have never been publicly studied. Now is the time."

In just one example of DU contamination, a July 11, 1991 fire at the U.S. Army Blackhorse Base in Doha, Kuwait destroyed more than 660 large-caliber DU tank rounds, 9,720 small-caliber DU rounds, and four M1A1 tanks with DU armor. Over 9,000 pounds of DU penetrators were lost in the fire exposing thousands of vets to airborne uranium oxides. Despite the known health problems of Vets, the U.S. Army's CHPPM report on exposures to Depleted Uranium at Doha has not been released to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses and U.S. troops continue to be stationed at the Doha Base.

Half of the large caliber DU tank rounds fired in the Operation Desert Storm/ Desert Shield were test fired at a large military staging area in Saudi Arabia, near the Kuwaiti border. An independent team must conduct samplings of uranium contamination at that site.

On May 19, the Environmental Protection Agency permanently closed the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod. The area, used by 14,000 National Guard members, was closed because "chemicals from the shells and lead from spent bullets at firing ranges threatened public health and groundwater." (May 20, NYT). Depleted uranium is a heavy metal, 1.7 times as dense as lead, and is highly, chemically toxic and radioactive, yet the risks of its use, domestically and internationally, have been concealed by the DoD.

Sara Flounders, Coordinator of the Depleted Uranium Education Project, "Given the long history of DoD cover- ups and false assurances, we demand an immediate release of all government documents on exposures to depleted uranium weapons and an independent investigation into the health and environmental consequences of the use of these radioactive weapons." Call to set up interviews with veterans, scientists, and doctors concerning the exposures to DU.

Citizen Soldier 175 Fifth Avenue, #2135, NY, NY 10010 (212) 679-2250, Fx: (212) 679-2252 DU Education Project 39 W 14th St. #206, NY, NY 10011 (212) 633-6646, Fx: 633-2889

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