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Boardman writes: "Suppose that for more than 20 years, a nation uses weapons that it knows are not only a threat to its own soldiers, but will cause civilian casualties for at least a generation. Would such a nation be a serial war criminal?"

A uranium mining tower. (photo: flickr/Gael Martin)
A uranium mining tower. (photo: flickr/Gael Martin)


War Crimes Are US

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

25 August 13

 

Depleted Uranium weapons: Why shouldn’t it be a war crime to poison civilians with radiation?

epleted Uranium [DU] is a very dense, inexpensive, easy-to-shape metal which provides excellent protection against conventional munitions. The same qualities that make depleted Uranium excellent defensive armor turn lethal when used as offensive munitions." - U.S. Army training film

An anonymous phone call to the Florida Dept. of Emergency Management alerted airport officials that there was an open 55-gallon drum full of old airplane parts made with depleted Uranium near a fence in a scrap section of the Opa-locka Executive Airport near Miami, Florida. The first thing everyone did was panic.

They evacuated that part of the airport and established a 150' radius "hot zone" around the suspect drum. They called the local fire and rescue team and called the state and federal environmental protection agencies, and all that calling brought the media in for a one-day story that played on the major TV networks and other media, with headline language like "Uranium scare forces evacuation" and "found exposed" and "hazmat crews on the scene."

"It's a radioactive substance no one wants to be exposed to, radiation it's not something you want to be exposed to, it can affect your bodily functions," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Arnold Piedrahita told CBS News.

That was July 25, and by the end of the day, the most interesting part of the news was a report, only in USA Today, that from the start the 55-gallon drum was labeled "depleted Uranium" containing U-238 (a radioactive isotope of Uranium that remains radioactive for billions of years). Properly handled and contained, DU is not all that dangerous, as the emergency teams soon concluded. And the DU in the drum was in solid form, which is the safest form - DU is a far greater threat to humans as liquid, dust, or aerosol, forms far more common in combat zones.

The Opa-locka DU turned out to be an integrated element of airplane parts decades old, dating from the time when the heavy metal (about 68% denser than lead) was commonly used in airplanes for counterweights. (Boeing and McDonnell Douglas dropped this practice in the 1980s.)

Once officials understood the problem, they reduced the "hot zone" to a five-foot radius, and pictures show firefighters chatting within arm's length of the drum. And the story dropped out of the news without further clarification.

Only one news report among those sampled, by PressTV, connected the unnecessary American panic over a DU drum in Florida with the equally unnecessary American disregard for its genocidal use of DU weapons in Iraq and elsewhere, poisoning civilian populations for generations to come.

Suppose that for more than 20 years, a nation uses weapons that it knows are not only a threat to its own soldiers, but will cause civilian casualties for at least a generation. Would such a nation be a serial war criminal?

Military experimentation with depleted Uranium began in the 1950s, with the goal of developing an effective anti-tank weapon to use against Soviet tanks. As a dense, heavy metal that sharpens itself as it penetrates a hard surface, DU had the added military virtue of igniting spontaneously and burning at temperatures of 3,000 to 6,000 Degrees C.

In 1991, the United States, the United Kingdom, and likely other allies used DU weapons in Kuwait and Iraq during the Gulf War. This was the first time these weapons had been used extensively in combat (Israeli forces had battle-tested them in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War). The weapons - DU bombs, missiles, shells, and bullets - worked to devastating effect militarily. They also poisoned the ground, water, and air around their targets, most of which were not cleaned up.

"The primary impact that [depleted Uranium] had in the Gulf War was - it's one of the reasons that the war was so short. It's one of the things that helped us win that war so quickly," Col. Eric Daxon, U.S. Army, says in the documentary "Invisible War."

DU weapons are weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), as defined by international law and the U.S. Code (18 USC, sec. 2332c).

DU weapons are arguably illegal under international law, both as low level nuclear weapons and as indiscriminate civilian-killing weapons. In a July 1996 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice (or World Court) somewhat fudged on the question, ducking on the legality of weapons, but stating that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would likely be contrary to international law.

In June 2000, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia publicly explained its decision not to conduct a criminal investigation of alleged war crimes committed by NATO for killing civilians with depleted Uranium weapons, cluster bombs, and other weapons. There was no need to conduct "an in-depth investigation" into the whole bombing campaign or into specific incidents, the Tribunal explained, because there was "simply no evidence of the necessary crime base for charges of genocide or crimes against humanity." The Tribunal did not add that an in-depth investigation would run the risk of finding such evidence (some of which had already been provided by Amnesty International in a report titled "Collateral Damage").

DU weapons are a low-intensity form of atomic warfare, absent nuclear explosions. The weapons penetrate, explode, and burn on contact. They leave radioactivity behind to kill civilians in much the same way as Robert Oppenheimer proposed, by spreading plutonium on enemies in World War II (a proposal that was apparently not implemented). But they do it with lower intensity.

Since 1991, the United States and other countries have used depleted Uranium WMDs fighting in a number of other countries, reportedly including (but not limited to) Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. American drone strikes presumably use missiles armed with DU penetrators. Israel has used DU WMDs in Gaza.

All the target countries have significant Muslim populations.

The term "Depleted Uranium" is fundamentally Orwellian. Depleted Uranium is NOT depleted in any meaningful sense. DU is natural Uranium (more than 99% U-238) with the fissionable Uranium (less than 1% U-235) removed.

Discovered in 1789, natural Uranium is widely distributed around the world (more common than silver, mercury, or gold in the Earth's crust). Uranium is the source of most of the world's radioactivity and contributes to background levels of radiation everywhere. Natural Uranium comprises three radioactive isotopes: Uranium-238 (99.27%), Uranium-235 (.72%) and Uranium-234 (.005%), all of which remain radioactive for thousands of years (U-238 has a half-life of more than 4.4 billion years). "Natural Uranium" is not "natural," it is not Uranium as found in nature. "Natural Uranium" has been mined, milled, and concentrated for enrichment - it is roughly 1,000 times more radioactive than Uranium in nature.

Natural Uranium can serve as nuclear reactor fuel, but most reactor fuel has been enriched by increasing its percentage of U-235 about five-fold (to 3-4%). To make nuclear weapons grade Uranium, U-238 is usually enriched to 85-90% U-235. The atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima in 1945 used 64 kilograms (about 141 pounds) of 80% enriched Uranium.

Enriching Uranium for reactor fuel and weapons leaves most of the U-238 behind as unenriched waste, or "depleted" Uranium. As nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors have proliferated since 1945, the nuclear nations of the world have accumulated more than a million tons radioactive waste, which seemed at first to have little or no apparent use, but have required continuous care and expense to keep it from endangering the public.

Accurate current figures are hard to get, but generally accepted estimates are that the United States and Russia each have close to 500,000 tons of depleted Uranium (although one estimate by Nukewatch in 2013 puts the U.S. total at 740,000 tons). As many as 15-18 other nations are thought to have another 100,000 tons or more of depleted Uranium, mostly held by the United Kingdom (50,000), France (30,000), Germany (16,000), Japan (10,000), and China (2,000).

Every ounce of that million-plus tons of depleted Uranium is hazardous waste that would need to be safely stored for billions of years - if someone hadn't thought to use it as a weapon. Who cares how lethal the stuff is when you're using it on your enemy?

In the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. used up a mere 400 of its 500,000 tons of depleted Uranium on parts of Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, firing thousands of DU bullets, tank shells, and artillery shells, and dropping thousands of bombs.

The U.S. got rid of another 10-20 tons or so in the Balkans during 1994-99, and has used unmeasured amounts on target ranges in Hawaii, Okinawa, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and elsewhere.

At the same time, something unexpected was happening: Depleted Uranium was apparently dangerous to soldiers on the American side as well. Soldiers who handled the munitions got sick. Soldiers who went to depleted Uranium targets got sick. What became known as Gulf War Syndrome was apparently caused, at least in part, by exposure to the low level radioactive debris that could cover the skin or be easily inhaled or swallowed.

When UN investigators inspected depleted Uranium targets in the Balkans, they found that American DU was contaminated with other radioactive elements - including Americium, Neptunium, Technetium, and Plutonium. Americium decays into Plutonium. Plutonium is 200,000 times more radioactive than U-238.

While others countries issued warnings to their troops, the Pentagon's Lt. Col. Victor Warzinski told the Christian Science Monitor, "Residual depleted Uranium from battlefield engagements in Kosovo does not pose a significant risk to human health."

Taking a contrary view, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) studied post-war Balkan ecological conditions and recommended closing contaminated areas to public access and decontaminating the sites as quickly as possible. Noting that DU particles remained in the air two years after the war, UNEP recommended continued monitoring of air and groundwater, where DU is most likely to be ingested into the human body, where its alpha radiation is most dangerous.

"The people responsible for the spreading of 400 tons of DU there [Southern Iraq] in 1991 were conducting a very peculiar sort of experiment - one in which the 'guinea-pigs' were the soldiers and civilians present ... and in which the 'experimenters' did not want to know the results." - Peter Low, introduction "Depleted Uranium" (2003)

Officially, 679,000 American soldiers served in the 1991 Gulf War. More than a third of them, approximately 250,000, have been categorized as suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. Preferring not to use that term, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) describes the same phenomenon as " a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems ... a chronic multisymptom illness." Symptoms identified by others also include muscle pain, cognitive problems, rashes, diarrhea, and terminal tumors.

The VA could focus on treating soldiers' symptoms without being overly concerned about causality. The stakes are very different for the Pentagon. If depleted Uranium was debilitating a third of their troops, the military might have to give up one of its more effective weapons - one that no enemy had any defense against, and one that no enemy had in its arsenal for retaliation. Sacrificing the health of some soldiers (and maybe enemy civilians) was an easy choice for military leaders. The hard part would be to conceal the starkness of that choice, an effort now in its third decade.

As evidence continues to mount that depleted Uranium in the environment is a lifetime health threat, public awareness has risen only slowly, even among most members of Congress. Since the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon has taken the necessary course to defend its control of a unique weapon - always denying that there's any problem, withholding as much information as possible, stonewalling investigation as long as possible, controlling studies whenever possible, employing misdirection and confusion, and silencing truthtellers within.

At the end of the Gulf War, the Pentagon had some 4,000 Iraqi tanks and other armored vehicles that were destroyed by DU weapons. The Pentagon recognized that these radioactive wrecks represented a "substantial risk" to human health, and so they buried as many as they could in Saudi Arabia.

So far the Pentagon has been remarkably effective in burying reality. The effects of depleted Uranium are a war crime being covered up in plain sight.

"Unborn children of the region [are] being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA." ­- Ross B. Mirkarimi, The Arms Control Research Centre, from his report: "The Environmental and Human Health Impacts of the Gulf Region with Special Reference to Iraq," May 1992.

In 1991, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a former U.S. Army colonel, was chief of the Nuclear Sciences Division of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, and worked at the VA hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, treating veterans, including Gulf War veterans. He had served in the Gulf War. In his new job, the government mandated him to test other veterans for radiation exposure.

Educated at the University of Zagreb (MD and PhD) and Oxford University in England, Dr. Durakovic was then 51 and a published poet, with a distinguished academic career in Canada and the U.S. By all accounts, he took his work seriously and soon discovered American veterans suffering from radiation exposure from DU weapons debris. He described his experience in a 2004 interview for Indybay.org:

... after Gulf War I, I found that about 75 percent of the patients that were referred to me from the New Jersey veteran's hospital were contaminated with depleted Uranium isotopes. When I started this work, I sent the samples of urine of those patients who showed the symptoms, which I associated with internal contamination of isotopes, to the military radiochemistry lab in Aberdeen, Maryland. And they were never analyzed.

Furthermore, they claimed they never received those urine samples. After pressure was placed on them, after a few months, they said they analyzed them but all of them were negative. But they would not release the results. I repeated the studies of the same soldiers, and I found that many of them were positive. So it was obvious the government lied.

After that time, I received an order by the director of the military hospital, the Veterans Adminstration hospital, in Wilmington, where I was the chief of nuclear medicine. The order was to stop my work on Uranium. I refused, because I was mandated by the government of the United States to do that work.

Since I did not want to stop the work, they put pressure on me. They got my access to the computer for the patient management [files]. They harassed me on a daily basis. And ultimately, they said to me if I don't stop the work, I'll be fired and nobody will ever hire me again.

I still refused, even after calls from the highest levels of the government. They even used my colleagues from the military to call me from different parts of the country to stop the work. Since I continued, they fired me in 1997. And I was the only doctor who was a specialist in nuclear medicine for the state of Delaware, working for the government. So obviously, they had good reason to eliminate me from the health care system.

In February 1997, Durakovic wrote President Clinton on behalf of Gulf War vets asking for an inquiry into DU contamination. There is no record of a response from Clinton. Two months after writing his letter, Durakovic lost his job. A year later, two of his original 24 soldier-subjects were dead and 12 seriously ill.

Fired by the government and blacklisted, Durakovic returned to Canada, where he founded the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC, umrc.net), whose "mission is to conduct and publish independent, objective, and expert scientific and medical research on the effects of Uranium and transuranic elements." UMRC's current projects include Uranium exposure studies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Port Hope, Canada, as well as a project titled "Social Geography of Uranium Battlefields."

After tests, Dr. Durakovic found decay products of DU in 14 of the 24 patients. "I only discovered indirectly in September 1991 that depleted Uranium had been used on the battlefield. I was horrified. When scientists conduct experiments using this material, we dress like astronauts. Our soldiers had no protection. And this attack could have potentially exposed the entire population of the Gulf region. Soil samples from Iraq show radiation levels more than 17 times the acceptable level." - Felicity Arbuthnot, New Internationalist, Issue 305 (September 1998).

Mainstream media have not covered depleted Uranium to any significant extent, especially in comparison to such arguably much less dangerous killers as O.J. Simpson (1994) or George Zimmerman (2013). During that same 20-year period, CBS News' "60 Minutes" (for example) has apparently devoted 12 minutes to the issue, in December 1999, when the program focused on the contrast between the protective gear (including gloves and respirators) the Army gave clean-up crews and the absence of any protective gear for soldiers doing clean-up.

This isolated 12-minute segment nevertheless drew a prompt response from the Department of Defense's (DoD's) Undersecretary of the Army Bernard Rostker, head of DoD's Office of Gulf War Illnesses. In a DoD press release, Rostker didn't challenge the accuracy of CBS reporting negligent exposure of U.S. troops to depleted Uranium and other toxins. Instead he complained that CBS "did not focus on whether or not those exposures have proven to be harmful."

The press release went on to quote Rostker saying: "We had an obligation to do the training. We told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in our licensing that we would provide this training. It's something we should have done.... Yes, we didn't do what we should have, but ["60 Minutes"] chose to gloss over the fact that the lack of training did not result in any medically significant consequences for any of the people that were exposed.... The danger of being exposed was known to be so trivial - nonexistent."

According to the press release, "After years of monitoring service members exposed to DU, the VA has determined DU has had no health impact on these service members.... There is no lingering danger in the Gulf from the substance.... Service members deployed there have absolutely nothing to fear...." DU is now part of America's arsenal and it's here to stay, Rostker said, because it gives U.S. forces an important advantage both offensively and defensively.

Rostker touted a Pentagon five-year study of 33 vets who suffered depleted Uranium wounds from friendly fire (since no one else had DU weapons): "Those were the 33 that were most exposed to depleted Uranium. Sixteen of those still have depleted Uranium fragments in their bodies in ways that can't be surgically removed without destroying underlying muscle.... There were some elevated Uranium counts in those who still have fragments, as one would expect, but no radiological impact that could be noted and no impact on the kidneys, which is the organ where one would expect to see damage if there was to be damage."

Take a dim view of Pentagon testing, warned Dr. Durakovic in 2004:

... what they did, they studied only soldiers who were wounded by the shrapnel. And we know very well the shrapnel wounds are not an important contributing factor in contamination with Uranium isotopes. Not many people are wounded by DU shrapnel.

They did not select the proper population, and furthermore, they tested only total Uranium, which was not elevated, even in my patients. They did not test different isotopes of uranium, which would provide an insight into the ratio of the isotopes, which determines what kind of uranium it is. So the Pentagon, their laboratory, measured only total concentration of uranium, which is of no importance.

In 2001 the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. denies accusations that depleted Uranium weapons have been used there. The Germans prepared a training manual for the troops they sent as part of the NATO force in Afghanistan, published in late 2005, that said: "US-aircraft used, amongst others, armour-piercing incendiary munitions with a DU-core" during the invasion and thereafter.

In the spring of 2011, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the U.S. and its 47 Nato and other allied countries of using weapons with chemical and nuclear components, apparently a reference to depleted Uranium weapons. A Scientific American review of Karzai's remarks took it for granted that DU weapons have been used in Afghanistan, but minimized their likely scope and danger. Perhaps tellingly, the review noted "the U.S. military's claims that it is no longer using DU weapons in Afghanistan." [emphasis added]

Last year an Afghan researcher, Dr. Mohammad Daud Miraki, said he and others were finding 62.7% o Afghanis showed signs of radiation poisoning, with Uranium isotopes in their urine at 300-2,000% above normal. Miraki criticized both U.S. and Afghan governments for failing to investigate the findings: "We forwarded [our] reports to the US three years ago to the State Department, and from US officials we have gotten only lip service unfortunately. But the Afghan government equally, since it has no control, it's an installed regime."

No such ambiguity exists in Iraq, where the U.S. admittedly used tons of depleted Uranium weapons, starting with the "shock and awe" bombardment even before the invasion of 2003.

"A decade after the night that American bombs first rained down on Baghdad, the president joked about wearing a green tie for a belated St. Patrick's Day celebration. Congress noisily focused on whether spending cuts would force the cancellation of the White House Easter egg roll. Cable news debated whether a show about young women has too much sex in it. But on one topic, there was a conspiracy of silence: Republicans and Democrats agreed that they did not really want to talk about the Iraq war." - N.Y. Times, March 19, 2013

In Baghdad, the anniversary was marked by a dozen of so bombings that killed at least 56 and injured more than 200 Iraqis. And that was the good news.

In a different sort of commemoration of the beginning of the second war on Iraq, a Dutch peace organization funded by the Norwegian government, IKA Pax Christi, published "In a State of Uncertainty," a 52-page book that begins to do what the United States, the United Nations, and most of the rest of the world have failed to do - provide a broad assessment of the use of DU weapons, their location and quantity, their environmental and health consequences, and the means and costs of restoring a devastated country and its people.

That's the bad news: Iraq's two-decade-old health crisis. Iraq is a country that had decent, modern health conditions until the U.S. waged the 1991 Gulf War, then imposed crippling sanctions followed by the 2003 illegal war and occupation. In the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein was an American friend against Iran, the CIA judged Iraq to have health facilities that were among the best in the Middle East.

The wars were destructive, but a decade of sanctions, mostly under the Clinton administration, may have been worse. In May 1996, then UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright appeared on "60 Minutes." Correspondent Leslie Stahl asked: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - and you know, is the price worth it?"

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it," Albright replied. She later said she regretted the remark, but she never spoke out for a more humane policy. "Half a million dead children," that's when American policy crystallized - half a million dead children, the price is worth it, when it's not our children.

"I have worked in Fallujah as a Pediatrician since 1997 but began to notice something was wrong in 2006 and began logging the cases; we have determined that 144 babies are now born with a deformity for every 1000 live births. We believe it has to be related to contamination caused by the fighting in our city, even now, nearly 10 years later. It is not unique to Fallujah; hospitals throughout the Anbar Governorate and many other regions of Iraq are recording increases. Every day I see the strain this fear puts on expectant mothers and their families. The first question I am asked when a child is born is not 'is it a boy or a girl?' but 'is my child healthy?'" - Dr. Samira Alaani, petition on Change.org

Now the country that the U.S. destroyed and abandoned struggles with an epidemic of epidemics - an epidemic of miscarriages, an epidemic of stillbirths, an epidemic of birth deformities, an epidemic of cancers, an epidemic of death and deformity of biblical proportions, largely brought on by attacks by one of the world's newer nations against the Cradle of Civilization.

The catalogue of sufferings is framed this way by Project Censored:

America's Gulf War, intermittent bombings in the 1990s, the 2003 war, and aftermath left a toxic legacy.

Children born with two heads reflect it. Some had only one eye. Missing sockets look like the inside of an oyster. They're milky and shapeless.

Some children had tails like a skinned lamb. One or more had a monkey's face. Girls had their legs grown together. They were half fish, half human.

Miscarriages are frequent. Hundreds of newborns have cleft pallets, elongated heads, overgrown or short limbs, and other malformed body parts. Some are too gruesome to view.

Deformed Iraqi newborns are commonplace. So are virtually every known illness and disease. They're inordinately frequent. They range from severe headaches, muscle pain and debilitating fatigue, to serious infections, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors and numerous type cancers.

They include leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and multiple myeloma. Others affect the bile ducts, bones, brain, breasts, colon, prostate, esophagus, gall bladder, liver, lungs, pancreas, pharynx, ovaries, salivary glands, small intestine, stomach, thyroid, urinary tract, and pelvis.

The United States and some of its allies have poisoned hundred of places in Iraq, mostly populated places. The Iraqis have identified more than 300 DU-contaminated locations, but the U.S. refuses to reveal all the places it used DU WMDs, and it refuses to reveal how much DU it used or when it used it.

The UN Environment Program estimates that the U.S. used 1,000 to 2,000 tons of DU during the 2003 Iraq war and occupation. That's still only a tiny fraction of the U.S. stockpile.

The United States continues to stonewall efforts to study the problem in any responsible way, and the United States continues to refuse to take responsibility for cleaning up any of the places it contaminated in Iraq, or anywhere else outside the U.S. or its possessions (and not always there, as American military posts are some of the most polluted places on the planet).

Viewed from the American perspective, it's all pretty simple.

Nuclear waste is a dangerous problem for which we have no good solution, and any of the more likely solutions would be prohibitively expensive. Containing and protecting radioactive waste for thousands of years, or hundreds, or even a few decades, wouldn't be cheap and seems unfeasible.

But there's that silver lining - nuclear waste, aka depleted Uranium (and assorted other elements) has great military uses. The nuclear-military complex saves money by giving nuclear waste to the combat forces to use as depleted Uranium, and the Pentagon saves money by getting a great weapon for free.

The big problem for the military is that there aren't enough wars to use up depleted Uranium faster than it accumulates. Not yet, anyway. Clearly, what we need is more wars to disperse this lethal material across hostile countries, and if it reduces populations in areas where climate change will make life impossible, isn't that a good thing?

And what about those people whose panic made news for a day at Opa-locka Airport? They may not have understood the situation, but they were right to be afraid. Not only are they safer than anyone in Fallujah, they don't even have to bother themselves worrying about why their country responds so well to a serious non-threat in Florida, and with such genocidal indifference to the lethal threat it left behind in Iraq.



Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+45 # curmudgeon 2013-08-25 11:31
Empires 'R U.S.

We can do anything we want...

Killers 'R U.S.

We don't need to show 'no stinkin' Badges'
 
 
+27 # grouchy 2013-08-25 12:03
A very interesting initial question! Now to present it to the politicos here and TRY to get an honest answer. Ha, I wouldn't hold my breath!
 
 
+64 # tedrey 2013-08-25 12:27
A day comes when one realizes that murder is murder, mass murder is mass murder, mass murderers are mass murderers, and they're doing it because we don't stop them. Then one either tries to stop it, or forfeits one's standing as a moral human being. Too many Americans have not yet reached this realization. Including, I fear, some readers of this.
 
 
+5 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-08-26 07:59
Pvt. Kimberly Rivera, about to be redeployed and finding herself unable to follows orders to shoot/kill civilians and children, escaped with her husband and kids to Canada. She was immediately arrested when forced to re-enter the U.S., kept under light 24/7, and fed literally rotten potatoes following her being convicted.

I called in press, and upon press making inquiries, she was relocated to a cell where lights went out at night, and was better treated until being transferred to a military prison, Mira Mar, in San Diego, CA, where, despite international pleas for her to be released, she remains today, still pregnant with child #5.

Canada, following what happened to moral plus Pvt. Kimberly Rivera, including arrest, conviction, de facto 'torture' in a CO county jail (Google: KRDO, Kimberly Rivera and KOAA, Kimberly Rivera), is now clearly unwilling to believe any statements from their 'bushwhacker', neo-con Minister of Immigration, and other puppet whore pols., that nothing bad will happen to a deserter being forced to re-enter the U.S.. Sounds like no more deportations or threats of same in the making, thank God.

More and more folks, across the globe, including in Canada, are waking up to what the U.S. has become - a lawless, mass murdering faux democracy, a country totally dedicated to the greed and total power of its villainaire rulers, and no liberty or justice for anyone.
 
 
+64 # Vardoz 2013-08-25 12:35
While we are at it perhaps we should categorize Fukushima as a crime against humanity. And to think reps from the NRC are still saying that low levels of radiation are safe when in fact the EPA reportedin 1976 that even exposer to low levels of radiation can cause Cancer and mutations of our DNA. We are so outraged at Assad using Chemical weapons when we gave them to Saddam! The military is just looking for another profitable war. The United States has lost all humanitarian credibility.
 
 
+19 # reiverpacific 2013-08-25 12:39
Of course the US can be treated as a "Serial war criminal".
Unfortunately it is also a serial quasi-Fascist global bully, with a "defense' (Stops to spit the word out and clear the palate with a little Scotch and lemon) budget and lumbering polluting and threatening Military larger then the next 26 nations combined, so it can try to impose pax Americana on the unwilling.
This potentially earth-destroyin g firepower and surveillance apparatus allows it to say to all who object "So what", You wanna do something about it? -Or as the late George Carlin put it "My dick is bigger than your dick"!
Little wonder that it's global hate index is rising again and that many of it's own taxpayers seem to be getting fed up with funding this bottomless pit in favor of life-enhancing, healing and pro-social programs like universal health care, good public education and 21st century infrastructure that would put millions back to work across the professional to laboring spectrum.
Don't y'all just love your taxes being sunk into diabolical inventions like Depleted Uranium, -a danger to those deluded cannon-fodder service-people who handle and launch it as well as the poor randomly murdered or crippled victims on the receiving end AND their immediate environments?
Even Hitler never thought of that one and the Kamikaze pilots (which my late father in law experienced first hand and shot down a few in the Pacific theater) only had a small area of impact.
Dylan's "Masters of War" lives on.
 
 
-29 # brux 2013-08-25 16:03
All countries are or were war criminals ... so, unless you have a stable alternative one country is as good or bad as another.
 
 
0 # David Starr 2013-09-01 12:27
@brux: It is true no one country is as "pure as the driven snow."

But there are countries that can be worse than others given an overall situation.

The bad and good in any country varies.
 
 
0 # brux 2013-09-01 13:53
>> that can be worse than others given an overall situation.

Yes, and that is exactly the point,
when a lot of Americans judge America
they fail to put it in its proper context
is history and among other countries.
People look at America mythologically,
not objectively.

And the bad flip-side of this is that now
America seems to be comparing itself
with its own past, like we do not really
have to be any better than the next worst
country, and ever since we have been falling
fast.

That still does not mean the US should be
judged more harshly.

In terms of the UN, what do you hear the
US doing, or what do you hear other countries
doing or saying that are better. Who should
be leading the world in your mind? Seriously,
I'm asking?
 
 
+20 # noitall 2013-08-25 12:40
This story gives a whole new meaning to bumper stickers on American cars: "PROUD TO BE AMERICAN". Are we not responsible for actions done in OUR NAME?
 
 
0 # brux 2013-09-01 17:00
I don't know about you, but I'm sure not responsible for what America does in my name, or at least most of it.
 
 
+13 # hutchr 2013-08-25 12:54
Another disgusting, dangerous, and frightening thing that the USA is doing to the world. Meantime we are looking for the monster who has unleashed chemical weapons in Syria. IS it the government or is it a "false flag" action taken by the al Queda forces that we and most of Europe is supporting? Will we go onto another war as Hitler did after being invaded by Poland, Johnson did after being attacked by North Vietnam and Bush did after Iraq developed WMD's and flew planes into the World Trade Center buildings. Remember the Maine.
 
 
+11 # James Marcus 2013-08-25 13:03
Obama-Perpetrat or, Congressional 'Vote-Fors', Supreme Court Justices 'Got-Their-Back s', US Invasion Forces, 2 Bushes, All War 'Secretaries', MAJOR MEDIA LIARS
...ALL WAR CRIMINALS.....
The time will come, when they will all plead 'Innocent' and beg for Mercy
No Way, José.
May The World Show them the Very Same 'Mercy', they showed the World. Deliberate, With aforethought; Pre-meditated Mass Murder.
No Quarter!
'Feed them', to Middle Eastern Crowds.
 
 
+19 # duitdon 2013-08-25 13:48
We are verging on insanity when the best among us ignore such dangerous practices...... ..............
 
 
+26 # She Cee 2013-08-25 13:56
After reading this appalling article we should bring this information to the attention of all members of Congress and the Senate, many of whom most likely have never read any of this because it has been with-held from them. We must email copies to them as well as send hard-copies to them. It should also be sent to every newspaper and all radio stations in our areas. In other words, it should be distributed as widely as possible.

The public must be made aware of what this country is doing to innocent people in our military and around the world as we instigate and fight our wars. United States military actions are destroying other countries and causing great suffering to their populations. The U.S. is perpetrating the worst of crimes against humanity and we must do all we can to stop it.

And after my tirade, it's crazy that I say that we must fight against the spread of radioactivity from DU because I believe that climate change, water contamination and water shortages are going to kill us before radiation does. One way or another, I believe this nation is responsible for much of the suffering of mankind today.

And, sadly, none will escape. Even the 1%.
 
 
+2 # karenvista 2013-08-27 00:55
She Cee-And, sadly, none will escape. Even the 1%.

It will be sad if they do escape. After all, this is their doing as war profiteers.
 
 
+8 # angelfish 2013-08-25 13:58
We were founded on Farce and Lies, or, at the very least, over-taken by Lies and the lying Liars who tell them not long after the founding. This Country hasn't done ANYTHING honorable in over a Century. Harry Truman, poor soul that he was, did what he thought he had to do by dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It seems only fitting that Fukushima will be the undoing of us all. In my opinion, we need to stay OUT of the Middle East and let them destroy each other or make a lasting Peace, as they will. We've done enough and caused enough misery to last a Millenium. We would only jump on the Bandwagon most friendly to us and our desires, and foul the waters even closer to home. e e cummings was right when he wrote, "there IS some sh*t I will not eat", truth be told, there's a WHOLE ration of Sh*t that this Country shouldn't eat, as well!
 
 
+10 # Kev C 2013-08-25 14:02
Too many have not reached this realisation? However the numbers are increasing.
'We are many. We are legion',
remember that? Wasn't that the catch phrase of the 'Anonymous' group? Well the rest of us are maybe not part of that group but the principle remains the same. In time we become more aware and alert to what is really going down in the world. And all because of this wonderful thing called the world wide web. Its why the governments want to control it so badly. They know we are learning stuff that is not to their advantage. So they try to criminalise and categorise our trawling of the net as something sinister and then they bring in laws and edicts to stop us and control the very tool we have been using to become educated as it were.
I wonder who will get to the finish line first. Us tortoises or the government hares?
Better pray we win because if we don't its curtains for ever.
 
 
+17 # A Different Drummer 2013-08-25 14:04
The United States government is the most evil empire ever hatched on this planet.

I'm at a complete loss as how to stop the wholesale slaughter of our neighbors and the devastation of our sustaining environment by this rogue government and it's hidden powers.

I can't even get my supposed representatives to listen to me about mundane issues such as NSA spying, the Patriot Act, the NDAA authorization to capture and kill US citizens or the illegal wars being fought with my money and in my name.

It's no wonder we are the most apathetic, ill informed bunch of humans on earth.
 
 
+13 # hutchr 2013-08-25 17:21
One problem is that "we" are pretty well informed thanks to whistleblowers (not to the mass media liars)but we insist on going ahead with our attempt at world domination and all of the crimes that are needed for that end. If we could claim ignorance, as many Germans tried to do after Hitler, we could escape a bit of guilt, but we KNOW and that is the crime.
 
 
+3 # Dion Giles 2013-08-26 02:12
Steady on. How many didn't KNOW their horde of jackals was invading Poland?
 
 
+17 # David Starr 2013-08-25 14:16
U.S. officials, both in Congress and the military, who support DU and/or ignore the consequences, should justifiably be given a "Saddam Hussein neck-tie party."

How can one not condemn sadists - whether military, political, and corporate, who support and profit off of DU crimes?
 
 
+16 # oakes721 2013-08-25 15:00
I recall reading that our soldiers are bringing it back home ~ expressed also in their semen ~ which is causing cervical cancers in their wives. Even migrating birds are bringing back home some of the toxic wastes we've dumped in third world countries. Only by 'bringing it home' to the realization of the American public can we hope to influence change in such authoritarian aggressions throughout this planet. Permanently poisoning the thin layer of environment that is capable of sustaining life is an act of the criminally insane.
 
 
+14 # aljoschu 2013-08-25 15:50
And weapons of mass destruction are yours, too, Americans.

Stop searching in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Syria, or Iran. You'll find plenty in your own country!
 
 
+14 # ladymidath 2013-08-25 16:57
Ironic how America searches for WMD in mostly Muslim countries while using them themselves. They were the only country to actually use atomic bombs in Japan devastating the population. Later it turns out that Japan was seeking to surrender earlier but America decided to drop the bombs anyway.
Now they are using these weapons to destroy entire populations and their future generations.
America, you are not the heroes that you like to think you are. You are the war criminals. Just be honest enough to admit it.
 
 
+16 # reiverpacific 2013-08-25 17:33
I forgot to mention that this is why much of Pine Ridge in the 1970's and early 80's was deemed a "National sacrifice area" -Uranium discovered on what was once thought of useless land suitable to tuck the 'skins away on and just forget 'em, poisoning their rivers and any attempts at farming.
Yet THEY were the savages (I hate to keep repeating that but it bears repeating).
 
 
+6 # Anarchist 23 2013-08-25 21:13
The movie 'Thunderheart' dealt with exactly this subject...a very good movie..filmed at Pine Ridge.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-08-26 21:00
Quoting Anarchist 23:
The movie 'Thunderheart' dealt with exactly this subject...a very good movie..filmed at Pine Ridge.

Aye and based on the FBI -instigated shootout at the Jumping Bull ranch and the Leonard Peltier case.
Also check out the Robert Redford-directe d documentary "Incident at Oglala", featuring the real-life participants on both sides.
 
 
+7 # tm7devils 2013-08-25 17:48
I've said it before but it bears repeating...the US Government is, by far, the greatest terrorist organization the World has ever seen.
Think heavily on that the next time you recite the Pledge of Allegence or the Star Spangled Banner, wave the American flag, or declare how patriotic you are. Do you REALLY want to praise - and abet - the actions of such a government? You are known by the company you keep and what you let happen in your name.
If you know the facts, and don't care or refuse to act, you are, essentially, your own worst enemy.
 
 
+14 # mdhome 2013-08-25 19:27
an epidemic of miscarriages, an epidemic of stillbirths, an epidemic of birth deformities, an epidemic of cancers, an epidemic of death and deformity of biblical proportions, largely brought on by attacks by one of the world's newer nations against the Cradle of Civilization.

The catalogue of sufferings is framed this way by Project Censored:

America's Gulf War, intermittent bombings in the 1990s, the 2003 war, and aftermath left a toxic legacy.

Children born with two heads reflect it. Some had only one eye. Missing sockets look like the inside of an oyster. They're milky and shapeless.

Some children had tails like a skinned lamb. One or more had a monkey's face. Girls had their legs grown together. They were half fish, half human.

Miscarriages are frequent. Hundreds of newborns have cleft pallets, elongated heads, overgrown or short limbs, and other malformed body parts. Some are too gruesome to view.

Deformed Iraqi newborns are commonplace. So are virtually every known illness and disease. They're inordinately frequent. They range from severe headaches, muscle pain and debilitating fatigue, to serious infections, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors and numerous type cancers.

ANY of the PRO-LIFE people care to respond?
 
 
+5 # cordleycoit 2013-08-25 23:25
Syria has nothing to steal yet we are about to wreck another culture.Iraq was oil,Syria is poverty. Are we playing China's monkey's paw k\like we did in Iraq? Are we simply going to destroy yet another Middle East country "for their own good??"
 
 
+1 # karenvista 2013-08-27 01:05
Syria has oil in the north. The fields a currently under the control of our al Quaida allies there. We use them when we want to and the rest of the time we call them our enemies.

Can we cancel all the wars and drone attacks now that they are our allies and save a few billion dollars?
 
 
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-08-26 10:30
War Crime + Crime against Humanity: a text-book example. & still the perpetrators walk free & proud, a disgrace to their nation that will not easily be expunged. I still have a file of emetic photos of deformed Iraqi foetuses & infants. Right To Life folks, where are you now?
 
 
+2 # Inspired Citizen 2013-08-26 15:09
Reading about the Roman Empire growing up, I always considered it to be vicious and despicable; but they didn't hold a candle to the brutality and indifference to human life, including their own soldiers, of the U.S.

...and the perps walk among us.
 
 
+2 # Moefwn 2013-08-26 16:21
We are actively creating hell on earth, while our government maintains that the people we are torturing and killing are wrong to hate us. I sometimes question whether our "leaders" are actually human.
 
 
0 # Milarepa 2013-08-27 01:14
Let's not forget the victims of Agent Orange and white phosphorus, the horrible disfigurements and abominations! The pigeons WILL come home to roost! We are all paying for this.
 
 
+1 # Dave45 2013-08-27 02:02
Boardman's report demonstrates clearly that there is no more comprehensively immoral nation in the world than the moralistic (I didn't say "moral")United States of America. The bulk of its leaders (both Democrat and Republican) are purveyors of heartless cruelty who are also, and obscenely so, proud of their vile triumphalism. One cannot help but wonder if the world would not be better off if indeed there were no United States.
 
 
0 # Milarepa 2013-08-27 10:19
Absolutely Dave45 - through secession. Vermont has a powerful secession movement started by Professor Thomas Naylor, now deceased. Texas does, too. Even California. Dissolve the US and you will end up with smaller groupings less likely to try to dominate the world through violence.
 
 
+1 # mjc 2013-08-28 10:57
Guess I should be grateful that most of my brother's tour of duty with the Marines was in the Far East. And the propaganda that the Marines and our government has and will override any information of this sort. While we have a horrible weapons of mass destruction today, we also have a massive propaganda machine which protects the neocons and hides the crimes against the enemy of the day but also the men and women of the United States who fought for this country. The future seems quite dark.
 

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