Sister Soldier: A Chronicle of Life After Iraq
By R. B. STUART
Since the war in Iraq began soldiers effected by Depleted Uranium toxicity have undergone a media blackout. While the U. S. Media and DoD jointly turn a blind eye to the truth about what soldiers are being exposed to in Iraq, and the longer the public is ignorant to the goings on....then the DoD can continue bleeding the war chest, and the caskets will continue to be draped in an invisible cloth.
Shamefully, the U. S. mainstream media has held the dirty hands of the Washington power players who are making a bundle off the manufacturing of DU at the expense of our military men and women. Our soldiers will continue to be seen as disposable by those that govern, until mainstream media shakes the dust off the democracy, and freedom of truth---that they conveniently tucked away long ago. We must fight for our lives....for no one is looking out for us anymore.
Below, a recent CNN Depleted Uranium media breakthrough for soldiers, following that is a new DU Bill and a copy of the 2007 Draft Bill now in congress.
CNN - AMERICAN MORNING Show Transcripts on Depleted Uranium Effecting the Troops in Iraq - February 5th & 6th 2007
CNN VIDEO LINKS of show:
[Part 1 - Feb. 5] http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_freevideo/~3/86824503/index.html
[Part 2 - Feb. 6] (not available in cnn.com) http://smartvideochannel.com/search.aspx?q=depleted+uranium&v=search&t=video
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0702/05/ltm.02.html Read below
Here's one highly effective and also very highly controversial weapon in the U.S. military arsenal. It's called depleted uranium or DU and some veterans are now suing the Army over what they say are health risks from their exposure to DU. Greg Hunter joins us this morning. He's got a special AMERICAN MORNING investigation.
Good morning, Greg. GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Depleted uranium, the issue is exactly what U.S. soldiers may or may not know about its potential health impact. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
HUNTER (voice-over): It's the U.S. military's most potent anti-tank weapon. Depleted uranium or DU, on impact, it burns through armor like a hot knife through butter, creating a plume of radioactive dust. Specialist Gerard Matthew cleaned up vehicles hit by DU during his five months in Iraq in 2003. He says breathing in depleted uranium dust made him sick.
GERARD MATTHEW, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I came back with chronic migraines, swelling in my face and vision problems. HUNTER: Matthew also says his 2 1/2-year-old daughter's birth defect is a direct result of his DU exposure. He and seven other vets are suing the army over depleted uranium. The U.S. army insists its own testing of Iraq veterans shows no direct link between DU and illness or birth defects in humans.
COL. MARK MELANSON, WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER: The radioactivity from depleted uranium is localized within the site of impact and it's not posed a significant immediate health hazard.
HUNTER: The World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine seem to agree. They found no direct evidence linking DU to birth defects or cancer in humans, but a Pentagon sponsored study by the armed forces radio biology institute showed the combined effect of DU's heavy metal and its radioactivity can damage DNA and may cause genetic defects and tumors in animals and human stem cells. The military has warned about the potential dangers of breathing in DU contaminated dust, like in this instructional video produced for the U.S. military in 1995.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heavy metal poisoning may occur, which can cause damage to internal organs and tissue.
HUNTER: That same video talks about radioactive particles that could be trapped in the lungs and possible water and soil contamination. The army's leading expert on DU hazard awareness training concedes these are all possibilities, but U.S. troops going over to Iraq never saw this tape.
MELANSON: There were lots of errors and conflicting messages in that training video, so it was not finalized and distributed to the troops.
HUNTER: Instead, the army's official training video, used since 2000, describes DU contamination this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These emissions are well below U.S. safety standards and do not pose a hazard to soldiers working with or around DU munitions.
HUNTER: The new video does tell soldiers to wear gloves and masks, especially inside DU-damaged vehicles or within 50 meters of fires that may involve DU. The problem is some soldiers like Gerard Matthew, say they never saw it. Dr. Asaf Durakovic studied the effects of DU on veterans of the first Gulf war for the U.S. military. He was alarmed by his findings. Now a private researcher, he also tested recent Gulf war vets, including Gerard Matthew whom Durakovic says has dangerously high levels of DU in his body.
DR. ASAF DURAKOVIC, URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CTR: Inhalation of uranium dust is harmful.
HUNTER: Even in small amounts?
DURAKOVIC: Even in the amount of one atom.
HUNTER: Durakovic says those small atoms emit radiation for the rest of a soldier's life. Can't that hurt a soldier in the long run?
DR. MICHAEL KIRKPATRICK, DOD HEALTH AFFAIRS: It would come then to the dose, the total dose in their body and those particles are very, very small.
HUNTER: Matthew's wife wishes her husband had known more about the potential dangers of DU.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wasn't told it's out there. He exposed my daughter to this, but it's not his fault. He was just trying to help the country.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HUNTER: Defense Department officials say the U.S. military used 320 tons of depleted uranium during the first Gulf war, but they were unable to tell us how much DU they have used in the current Gulf war, despite our repeated request for that information Published reports suggest the military has used between 1,100 and 2,200 tons. That's up to six times the amount of DU in Iraqi freedom than in the first Gulf war.
S. O'BRIEN: So they're testing all these soldiers to see if they're emitting radioactivity?
HUNTER: The government is. The Pentagon is, but there are some states out there passing laws to test their own National Guard troops because they say the test the government is using is not sensitive enough. We'll find out about that tomorrow in part two.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, part two, Greg Hunter, thank you. Miles
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0702/06/ltm.02.html Read below
O'BRIEN: Well, now to our AMERICAN MORNING special investigation on the fallout, if you will, from the use of depleted uranium in the war zone. It can cut through a foot of enemy armor and leave behind radioactive dust that some say is making vets sick. AMERICAN MORNING's Greg Hunter joining us now with part two of the series. Good morning, Greg.
GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.Depleted uranium, the controversial weapon and the radioactive dust it creates are at the center of a debate that just won't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HUNTER (voice-over): Samala (ph), Iraq, spring 2003, Iraq, site of a fierce coalition offensive. Soldiers operating, sleeping, eating in areas that were hit by depleted uranium, or D.U. For some soldiers it marked the beginning of another type of battle. These five National Guard veterans claim they got sick from serving there.
RAYMOND RAMOS, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I just got to the point where I could not physically stand sometimes. The headaches were unbearable. I would get dizzy spells.
HUNTER: They report similar ailments: painful urination, headaches and joint pain. They say Army doctors blame their: They report similar ailments symptoms on posttraumatic stress. We showed them a tape the Army made in 1995, a tape the Army never distributed. It warned of potential D.U. hazards. The Army's expert on D.U. training concedes some information contained on the tape is true. For instance, inhaling radioactive particles can be harmful. Video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7863767976205447371
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alpha is the least penetrating but is the most hazardous if it does get into the body.
HUNTER (on camera): So you're saying in part this is correct, but too much information?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really doesn't provide any useful information to the soldier.
HUNTER (voice-over): These vets say they were never warned about D.U. They're suing the Army for what they say is knowingly exposing them to D.U. dust and failing to properly treat them.
ANTHONY YONNONE, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: They didn't furnish us with any of that information.
HUNTER (on camera): At all?
YONNONE: At all.
HUNTER: Does it make you angry?
YONNONE: Because here we are sick. We don't know why. The Army don't know why, and they're just calling us liars.
HUNTER (voice-over): The veterans' claims against the government may be barred by a statute that protects the military from lawsuits by soldiers. But a judge is permitting the soldiers' claims of malpractice to go forward.
DR. ASAF DURAKOVIC, URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER: I personally call it not so depleted uranium.
HUNTER: In the 1990s Dr. Asaf Durakovic studied D.U. health effects for the U.S. military. Now a private researcher, Durakovic says his own test of these veterans showed abnormally high levels of D.U. in their urine and that those levels pose a serious health threat.
DURAKOVIC: There is genetic change in chromosoma of the regions (ph) in the people who have been found positive with depleted uranium.
HUNTER: The military's overall health expert says tests on thousands of veterans from both Iraq wars have produced very few positive D.U. tests.
DR. MICHAEL KIRKPATRICK, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT HEALTH AFFAIRS: We are not seeing it in 74 individuals who are most heavily exposed, and that, I think, is really the golden standard if you take a look at people who had heavy exposure, internalization, some still having the depleted uranium in their bodies, still excreting very high levels in their urine, and their health appears at this point to be normal.
HUNTER: Some scientists and politicians claim the Army's testing is not sophisticated enough. Connecticut state representative Pat Dillon helped pass legislation allowing her state to do its own testing of National Guardsmen.
PAT DILLON, CONNECTICUT STATE REPRESENTATIVE: It's a heavy metal. It gets absorbed into your bones. So I don't think that the test that they're using is sensitive enough to find whether or not you've been contaminated.
HUNTER: The Army tells CNN its policy is to get every soldier training in depleted uranium and hazard protection. It also has an updated instructional video, produced in 2000. We asked why these soldiers say not only did they not see the video, but they knew nothing about D.U. before going to Iraq.
COL. MARK MELANSON, WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER: I'm not able to give you any statistics on who received training and who didn't receive training. I can just talk about the training that was provided and what the policy is.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HUNTER: Dr. Durakovic says one thing is for sure: a large part of Iraq is contaminated, particularly in the south where heavy tank battle took place. He calls it, quote, "a radiological sewer." The Army adamantly denies that.
O'BRIEN: When you go back and look at another war and another toxic agent, in that case Agent Orange in Vietnam. Veterans there had similar claims. Were sick because we were in contact with this Agent Orange. Ultimately, did they get claims from the military, and is that likely what's going to happen here?
HUNTER: Some did, but it took decades. And let me tell you, Agent Orange is tame compared to radiological dust that you can breathe into your lungs, stays in your body forever, has a half life of 4.5 billion years. This stuff stays around forever. So it is -- it is quite a controversy.
O'BRIEN: Keep us posted, Greg. Greg Hunter, thank you very much. In just a little while, Sanjay Gupta will join us, and he'll explain a little bit more about the medical implications of contact to this depleted uranium -- Alina.
Sanjay, good morning. So first things first, what are the symptoms of D.U. poisoning?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's sort of short-term symptoms and longer-term symptoms, and, you know, this is a difficult thing. The jury is still out among many researchers in terms of what's causing when and at what time. But if you look at some of the early things, you can get things like nausea and vomiting as your G.I. tract sort of reacts to the depleted uranium. Also, kidney problems potentially and skin lesions. There have been some case reports that it could possibly cause irritability and behavioral changes, as well, but that's not really nailed down. Longer term, it can get a little bit more complicated. You might develop things like an immune system damage. So you could actually suppress your white blood cells, those sort of -- those fighting cells of infection. Lung cancer potentially as well, although, again, it's somewhat controversial studies. And potentially birth defects in the offspring of people who were exposed to depleted uranium, as well. Alina, I should say -- I think as Greg pointed out as well, the depleted uranium and its potential link to Gulf War syndrome is one of the most controversial things probably that exists in medicine. A lot of people sort of focused on it. Probably not enough studies as of yet, still.
CHO: All right. So what about treatment? Is there any treatment for this?
GUPTA: Well, not really. I mean, first of all, it's very hard to know, for example, if someone has actually been exposed. You can test it in the blood. You can actually get some blood tests that will tell if you have higher levels of the particular isotope associated with depleted uranium, but for the most part you've got to let the thing sort of run out its course. It can cause damage to cells, and if those cells actually turn into tumor cells, for example, you obviously have to treat the cancer or remove the tumor, but it's hard to treat symptoms of depleted uranium poisoning overall.
CHO: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, live for us in Atlanta. Sanjay, thank you.
GUPTA: Thank you.
110th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 207
To provide for identification of members of the Armed Forces exposed during military service to depleted uranium , to provide for health testing of such members, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 4, 2007
Mr. SERRANO introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
To provide for identification of members of the Armed Forces exposed during military service to depleted uranium , to provide for health testing of such members, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act'.
SEC. 2. DEPLETED URANIUM RISK NOTIFICATION FOR DEPLOYING FORCES.
(a) Notification- The Secretary of Defense shall establish procedures to require, as part of the procedures for preparing members of the Armed Forces for deployment to a theater of operations, that such members be notified of--
(1) any known or likely use of depleted uranium in that theater of operations (whether by forces of the United States and its allies or by any opposing forces); and
(2) any health risks associated with exposure to depleted uranium .
(b) Training- The Secretary shall provide for training deploying members of the Armed Forces on the safe handling of depleted uranium contamination before such members are deployed to a theater in which depleted uranium is used.
SEC. 3. DEPLETED URANIUM SCREENING AND TESTING.
(a) Identification and Testing Required- The Secretary of Defense shall carry out a program to identify individuals who, during active service in the Armed Forces, are or have been exposed to depleted uranium and to provide those individuals with bioassay testing and notification of the results of such testing.
(b) Depleted Uranium -Exposed Personnel Identification Methods-
(1) PROCEDURES FOR IDENTIFICATION OF EXPOSED MEMBERS- The Secretary of each military department shall establish procedures to identify members of the Armed Forces under the Secretary's jurisdiction who are, or may have been, exposed to depleted uranium . For such purpose, the Secretary shall identify units and members under paragraph (2) and shall accept self-identification reports by members under paragraph (3).
(2) IDENTIFICATION OF UNITS AND PERSONNEL- The Secretary of each military department shall identify units, and personnel assigned to units, that have been, or could have been, exposed to depleted uranium , based upon information about known exposure events (as determined under subsection (c)).
(3) SELF REPORTING- The Secretary of each military department shall accept a report by an individual, or a primary care provider for an individual, that the individual, while a member of the Armed Forces under the Secretary's jurisdiction, was, or may have been, exposed to depleted uranium based upon service on active duty (or training duty or funeral honors duty) in a theater of operations where depleted uranium was used, including travel through such an area. The Secretary shall prescribe procedures for receiving such reports. Such a self-identification report submitted to the Secretary under this paragraph shall be treated by the Secretary as identification of the individual for purposes of this subsection.
(4) TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUALS NO LONGER ON ACTIVE DUTY- In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary of each military department shall ensure that individuals no longer on active duty (including members of the reserve components who have been released from active duty, members who have been retired, and members who have been separated from service) are treated, for identification purposes, in the same manner as individuals remaining on active duty.
(c) Exposure Events-
(1) TYPES OF EVENTS- The Secretary of Defense shall identify depleted uranium exposure events for purposes of this section. The exposure events identified shall include the following:
(A) DIRECT EXPOSURES- An event in which an individual--
(i) is struck by depleted uranium munitions or depleted uranium armor fragments;
(ii) enters, or is present within 50 meters of, a vehicle or structure with possible depleted uranium residues; or
(iii) breathes smoke from fires involving depleted uranium materials.
(B) EQUIPMENT HANDLING EXPOSURES- An event in which an individual may inhale depleted uranium compound particulates as a result of the handling of equipment or wreckage that has been, or could have been, contaminated with depleted uranium .
(C) OTHER EXPOSURES- Other significant or incidental exposure events identified by the Secretary, including the performance of activities in the area of depleted uranium damaged vehicles or structures or the traveling through or residing in any such area.
(2) LIMITED RETROACTIVITY- In addition to exposure events described in paragraph (1) occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, such events during the period between January 1, 2003, and the date of the enactment of this Act may be considered for purposes of this section, if reported during the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(d) Health-Care Services Required-
(1) BIOASSAY PROCEDURE- Any individual identified under subsection (b) shall be provided a health screening test by the Secretary of Defense. Such test shall be carried out using a bioassay procedure developed by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same bioassay procedure shall be used for all individuals identified under subsection (b) and for all types of exposure or possible exposure identified under subsection (c).
(2) TIME FOR TEST-
(A) EXPOSURES AFTER ENACTMENT- In the case of an exposure event described in subsection (c) that occurs on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, the bioassay under paragraph (1) shall be administered not later than 180 days after the date of the event, except that in the case of an individual with an exposure event described in subsection (c)(3), the bioassay under paragraph (1) shall be administered not later than 30 days after the end of the individual's deployment in the theater of operations, but such individual may be provided the bioassay earlier upon the individual's request.
(B) EXPOSURES BEFORE ENACTMENT- In the case of an exposure event described in subsection (c) that occurs before the date of the enactment of this Act, the bioassay under paragraph (1) shall be administered not later than 180 days after the date of the reporting of the event under subsection (c)(2).
(3) FURNISHING OF RESULTS- The Secretary of Defense shall provide the results of any bioassay procedure under this subsection to the individual tested, and the primary care manager or primary care provider of that individual, not later than 30 days after the Secretary receives those results.
(e) Personnel Tracking- The Secretary of each military department shall establish procedures for collecting, tracking, and maintaining information on the health status of individuals tested under subsection (d) for the purpose of assessing any long-term health consequences of exposure to depleted uranium .
(f) Independent Review of Bioassay Types and Contamination Thresholds- The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall conduct an independent review of bioassay types and contamination thresholds for purposes of the testing under subsection (d).
(g) Treatment- Based on the results of the bioassay tests, the Secretary of the military department concerned shall provide appropriate treatment for any illness of an individual resulting from a depleted uranium contamination or exposure.
SEC. 4. COMPTROLLER GENERAL SURVEY AND REPORT ON RADIOISOTOPE IDENTIFICATION EQUIPMENT USED BY DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.
(a) Survey- The Comptroller General shall conduct a survey of radioisotope identification equipment used by the Department of Defense in order to assess the capability of Department of Defense facilities to identify concentrations of different radioisotopes in naturally occurring levels of uranium .
(b) Report- The Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report on the results of the survey under subsection (a) not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
H.R.207 Title: To provide for identification of members of the Armed Forces exposed during military service to depleted uranium, to provide for health testing of such members, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] (introduced 1/4/2007) Cosponsors (11) Latest Major Action: 2/1/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
COSPONSORS (11), ALPHABETICAL
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 1/23/2007
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 1/23/2007
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 1/30/2007
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 1/23/2007
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 1/30/2007
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 1/30/2007
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 1/24/2007
Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 1/30/2007
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 1/24/2007
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 1/23/2007
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 1/31/2007
DRAFT BILL NOW IN CONGRESS
110th U.S. Congress (2007-2008) H.R. 393:
Draft Reinstate bill HR 393 IH 110th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 393
To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 10, 2007, Mr. RANGEL introduced this bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.