By Cathy Garger
I Left My Heart In (a 2500 miles radius of) San Francisco
Also at: http://tinyurl.com/32pghh
Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. Your destiny is a mystery to us.
- Chief Seattle leader of the Duwanish tribe
in Washington Territory in an 1854 letter
to U.S. President Franklin Pierce to mark
transfer of ancestral Indian lands to the
There are efforts underway to oppose explosions of radioactive materials by the US government into the air in which we breathe. This article will outline various reasons why and how radioactive explosive "tests" are harming America - and describe the efforts of citizens in one area of the country who are now working to try to put a stop to them.
Like most people over 21, you may already know that the United States used to "test" nuclear bombs in the NV and NM deserts, right out in the open air. If asked, most people would probably be able to tell us that yes indeed, both above ground and below ground "nuclear testing" in the United States ended years ago. Yet, even though 1992 saw its last nuke bomb "test" inside the United States, how many know that our government is still firing radioactive explosives into our atmosphere? This fact appears to be one of Uncle Sam's "dirtiest" not-so-little, well-kept secrets.
Photo Top Left -- The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) triggered the atomic bomb called Priscilla on June 24, 1957 at the Nevada Test Site. According to U.S. Department of Energy documents, Priscilla was a balloon type test, it was weapons related, and had a yield of 37 kill tons.
Photo Top Right -- This photo was taken on November 1, 1951 and was the "Dog" detonation. It was conducted as part of the Buster/Jangle test series between October and November of 1951. It was an airdrop with a yield of 21 kilotons. Another event
Photo Center Left -- On December 18, 1970, the Baneberry underground nuclear test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS); the event released radioactivity to the atmosphere. Baneberry had a yield of ten kilotons (a kiloton is the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT). The nuclear bomb was buried about 900 feet beneath the surface of Yucca Flat near the northern boundary of the NTS. The radiation release or venting resulted in a cloud of radioactive dust that reached an altitude of 10,000 feet. Following the Baneberry venting, new containment procedures were adopted to prevent similar occurrences.
Photo Center Right -- The Stokes atmospheric nuclear test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site on August 7, 1957. The tests was conducted as part the operation "Plumbbob" testing events. Stokes produced 9 kilotons and was exploded from a balloon.
Photo Bottom Right -- This above ground atmospheric nuclear test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site on May 25, 1953. Named Grable the nuclear bomb was fired from a 280 mm gun. The test was an airburst, it was weapons related and had an estimated yield range of 15 Kiloton.
(Photos: Nevada Division of Environmental Protection)
Yes, they fire radiation out into the very same air that our families breathe. Tons of radioactive munitions, in fact. Depleted Uranium is the name of one of the materials they use. And if that material sounds familiar? It because it's the same stuff that they're using on the "enemy" - that is, on civilians - in Afghanistan and Iraq.
No, we do not know what in the world the civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan ever did to deserve the "honor" of being blasted to kingdom come with Uranium-238 - rendering their nations permanently uninhabitable. By the same token, nor do we know what American citizens have done to deserve Depleted Uranium being exploded into our air so that we are gassed with it, either.
But now the country is starting to buzz with the word of radioactive open air "testing" near San Francisco. And with such a progressive part of the nation that has historically fought hard for peace, equal rights, racial equality, gay rights, and ecological sustainability? As one could say, the Greater San Francisco Bay area is now again boldly "coming out of the closet" with regard to letting the proverbial cat out of the bag about this "dirty" business of Uncle Sam's.
But this is not a story entirely about San Francisco's troubles. Nor is it even all about California. As you will see, this story affects you and me, no matter where we live in the country. California's tale is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The story about your community and mine? Now that's the heart of this story.
The fiery "hot" issue of Depleted Uranium explosives "testing" has emerged into the spotlight in the San Francisco Bay area recently all because of some people who live in a city called Tracy. That's how anything important usually starts - when just a few people who are fed up enough get together and become vocal enough and publicly put up a fuss.
No wonder why they're upset. Only a few miles away from them on a federally owned 7,000 acre parcel of land in the Altamont Hills at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in San Joaquin and Alameda Counties, California, radioactive explosives containing Depleted Uranium are being shot out into the open air at a location called Site 300. Yes, Depleted Uranium is being exploded across the street from a motorbike recreational area. Site 300 is only a few miles away from where people live.
What started all the ruckus was that on November 13 a new permit, issued by California's San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, was put into effect that allows the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to use more than triple the amount of explosive materials in "test" detonations at Site 300 than in the past. This means that the equivalent of 350 pounds of explosives may now be fired instead of the previously permitted 100 pounds.
There are two efforts underway to appeal the new permit for Site 300 that allows for much larger explosions by using greater amounts of radioactive materials. Two appeals have been filed, one by a housing developer and the other by a resident who lives about five miles from the radioactive blast location, Site 300.
Small business owner, Tracy resident, and long-standing member of Tri-Valley Communities Against A Radioactive Environment (CARES), Bob Sarvey is leading the way to protect his community of 72,400 from radioactivity at Livermore's Site 300 by appealing the permit of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. A health risk assessment performed recently shows a higher health risk just from merely inhaling toxic non-radioactive air contaminants than the Livermore Lab shows in its own radiological assessment.
Residents realized something was not quite right about this report. "Previously", according to Sarvey, "the Lawrence Livermore Lab didn't need a permit from the Pollution Control District because their chargers were under 100 lbs. equivalent to TNT - and under 1,000 pounds per year. Now, they are going to increase that to 350 pounds per charge, equivalent to TNT ...and they are also going to increase the annual limit to 8,000 pounds. That's eight-fold of what it was annually... and on a per change basis, three and a half times per charge".
In addition to allowing up to 8,000 pounds of explosives containing radioactive matter annually, as reported in the Tracy Press on December 14 the current county air pollution control permit allows Livermore Laboratory to emit up to 1,440 pounds of particulate matter up to 10 microns in diameter per year into the air. The public does not even have to be notified of such emissions unless the particulate matter exceeds a 20,000 pound limit.
It only takes one invisible micron of Depleted Uranium to cause organ damage and health failure. Can anyone possibly hazard a guess as to how much potential hazard that 1,440 pounds of particulates could cause - never mind the 20,000 pound particulate upper limit? Can you imagine willingly causing up to 1,440 pounds of radioactive particles to be blasted into the open air? If one miniscule particle so tiny as to be invisible can cause a terminal illness, whose mind can even fathom the devastation 1,440 pounds of this stuff could do to countless numbers of people?
But we must remember - Livermore Lab is allowed to explode up to 20,000 pounds into the air in a year and not even have to notify the neighboring communities. And Site 300 is only one of several such explosive "test" sites in the nation.
Lawrence Livermore representatives will not reveal to Tracy residents precisely how many bombs might be "tested" in a year. Tracy Press reports that the only reason given by Lawrence Livermore for the eight-fold annual increase in explosives testing is "national security," according to air district spokeswoman Kelly Morphy.
Understandably, this news came as a big surprise to citizens of the Greater San Francisco Bay area. Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment executive director, said "This is a shocking change of plan" .
On January 8, Recordnet.com quoted Livermore Public Affairs Director Susan Hougton stating that the Lab plans to conduct "only three'" of the larger, 350-pound detonations in the next year and a half. According to Houghton, no blasts larger than 100 pounds have been conducted since 1997.
"Only three" large radioactive explosions in a year - and an unknown number of smaller ones at 100 pounds a "pop" - certainly does not sound like too much to be concerned over. So what is the big deal with exploding up to 8,000 pounds of explosives including radioactive toxics like Depleted Uranium out into the open air, anyway?
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT DU?
Depleted Uranium is an inexpensive, radioactive heavy metal more dense than lead. It is basically nuclear waste made from the uranium enrichment process. The supply is plentiful and the US Military uses it in its guns, tanks, bombs, missiles and cannons. To get a feel for how much of it there is of the stuff, The U.S. government has produced more than 1.1 Billion pounds of DU in its uranium enrichment facilities in Ohio and Kentucky. It's also used as military tank armor, and aircraft, ship and missile counterweight ballasts as well as to provide the massive casing for hydrogen bombs that enable them to undergo fission and give off about fifty percent greater energy "bang for the buck".
Our military has found that there are many attractive advantages to using Depleted Uranium (Uranium-238) over Tungsten steel, as Uranium-238 is an easier substance to process. It is also pyrophoric, which means it burns instantly upon impact or if ignited. DU also has the advantage of being easily able to penetrate targets from armored tanks to concrete bunkers.
Always happy to rid itself of nuclear waste, Depleted Uranium has been cheerfully given away by the government to weapons manufacturers, who then in turn make a profit by selling the weapons to the US Military for use in combat as well as for running "tests" out into the air. Sometimes in the past fifty years it has been burned in open pits and other times DU is exploded in an estimated twenty-three locations all across the nation, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Experts who have studied the properties of Depleted Uranium and its deleterious effects upon human health have a great deal to tell us. Recently in a letter to Tracy Press, Marion Fulk, local resident and nuclear physical chemist retired from the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab formerly involved with the Manhattan Project, tells us a bit about the uranium that is being exploded at Livermore and its effects upon human health: "Uranium-238, sometimes called 'depleted uranium', poses a serious health threat, especially if inhaled in finely divided particles like those created by open-air explosives testing. Because of its properties, uranium-238 is a triple threat to human health. Its properties as a heavy metal create health damage once inside the body. Its properties as a hazardous chemical catalyst cause additional health risks. And its properties as a radioactive material offer a third route to cellular and DNA damage, illness and premature death in humans and animals."
Despite the fact that Uranium-238 is commonly called "Depleted", this was a label invented to get the public to think that it is a weakly radioactive material. Nothing could be further from the truth. This poison dust packs a powerful punch to the human body, as Dr. Rosalie Bertell, biometrician and environmental epidemiologist, international radiation expert, and Founder of The International Institute of Concern for Public Health explains, "Depleted uranium concentrate is almost 100 percent uranium. More than 99 percent of both natural and depleted uranium consists of the isotope U-238." In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy and the 1995 U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute admits that a small amount of additional toxic heavy metals and radioactive isotopes are also present in Depleted Uranium, such as plutonium, neptunium, americium, Uranium-236 as well as Uranium-234 and Uranium-235.
The Uranium-238 which is used in our weapons and is "tested" at test sites throughout the United States is some mighty powerful stuff. We should not, therefore, allow the name of this type of radioactive munition, "Depleted Uranium", fool us. As a matter of fact, in order to bring greater clarity to the issue, scientists from the UK at the Low Level Radiation Campaign are no longer calling uranium weapons "Depleted Uranium" or "DU" but have switched to the term "WDU", which stands for Weapons-Derived Uranium when referring to exposures from use of weapons containing any class of Uranium. Hopefully the term WDU will eventually catch on, because just like the words that the US Military uses to describe DU such as claiming it is "mildly" or "weakly" radioactive, the fact of the matter is, no radiation is harmless radiation.
Uranium weapons destroy health and irreparably damage all living things. In his book Radiation-Induced Cancer From Low-Dose Exposure, John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. makes his point about radiation crystal clear: "By contrast, we think human evidence and logic combine to make a case which is already conclusive -- by any reasonable standard of proof -- against the existence of any safe dose or dose-rate of ionizing radiation, with respect to cancer-induction."
For the case of simplicity for now, we will stick to the misnomer "Depleted Uranium". A pyrophoric munition, DU explodes spontaneously upon being fired. Up to 80% of it is then oxidized, and an aerosol is formed of minute radioactive particles between the range of below 1 micrometer to 5 micrometers. Immediately after the Uranium-238 is fired, these particles are so tiny that they are actually an invisible gas which can be either inhaled easily into the lungs, ingested in food, or can enter the body inside a break in the skin, such as through a small cut on a finger. In combat, Depleted Uranium can also enter the body via shrapnel that enters the skin.
At the May, 1999 Hague Peace Conference, Dr. Rosalie Bertell stated that Depleted Uranium is "converted at high temperature into an aerosol, that is, minute insoluble particles of uranium oxide, UO2 or UO3 , in a mist or fog...Uranium oxide and its aerosol form are insoluble in water. The aerosol resists gravity, and is able to travel ... in air. Once on the ground, it can be resuspended when the sand is disturbed by motion or wind. Once breathed in, the very small particles of uranium oxide, those which are 2.5 microns [ one micron = one millionth of a meter ] or less in diameter, could reside in the lungs for years". Once in the lungs, the uranium slowly passes through the lung tissue into the blood. Uranium oxide dust has a biological half life in the lungs of about a year. Eventually, the uranium passes through the lung tissue and then into the blood stream, which may then be broken down in body fluids.
Eventually the uranium may be stored in bone, lymph, liver, kidney or other tissues. When found in urine seven or eight years after exposure, it is an indication of its long term internal uranium contamination through storage in the body's tissues.
Marion Fulk gives us an energetic picture of how DU creates havoc once inside the body. "It is an alpha emitter, which means that it is particularly damaging if lodged inside the body. Uranium-238 decays with an energy of 4 million electron volts per alpha particle. The energy emitted tears up surrounding cells and may initiate a whole bunch of negative health outcomes, including, but not limited to, cancers."
Dr. Doug Rokke states how fast DU works once inside the body, "Alpha particle emission measurements show that the dose or exposure rate is in excess of 10000 counts per minute." DU, he says, "is a serious internal hazard".
Explaining this nasty cell-busting process, Janette D. Sherman, M.D., specialist in internal medicine and toxicology, member of The Radiation and Public Health Project, and author of Life's Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease states that when we are exposed to Depleted Uranium, it is a serious hazard as a chemically toxic heavy metal, plus it is also radioactive. Because the uranium is so concentrated, the alpha activity is increased, and a decay process occurs. Both alpha and beta radiation are emitted into the cell tissue that surrounds the miniature DU particle, affecting other cells and disrupting cell membranes, DNA, and the cell development process.
Quoting from Dr. Sherman's book, "Aside from the radioactivity of uranium, it is a heavy metal poison and foreign body irritant with the potential to remain in the body for decades." Uranium poisoning also involves general health impairment to the kidneys, liver, lungs, and cardiovascular, nervous and cell production systems, and cause disorders of proteins and carbohydrate metabolism .
Hmmm...Uranium can stay in the body for decades, you say? Well then, how do we know that any of us is not walking around right now with an invisible particle of Uranium-238 lodged inside one of our lungs, hanging out and waiting to give us cancer twelve years down the road? The point of the matter is, we don't.
In an effort to de-mystify what is called by the US Military "Gulf War Syndrome" in veterans of wars in the Middle East, Dr. Sherman explains what many have come to call Depleted Uranium Poisoning. In "Life's Delicate Balance", Dr. Sherman details precisely how we get sick from breathing in Uranium-238. "When DU burns, it releases fine particles of radioactive material, much of it as small as nano particles which when inhaled go deep into the lungs and from there are transported to the liver, kidneys, bone marrow, brain, skeleton, seminal fluid, and other parts of the body. DU that is swallowed from airborne particles is transported to the intestinal tract and absorbed and transported to other parts of the body, including the liver and kidneys."
As evidenced by increases in incidences of cancer in veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in civilians in these countries, Depleted Uranium clearly plays a role in cancer development, in auto-immune system disorders, and in the alteration of gene expression patterns. By now we've all seen the horrific pictures of children from Iraq and Afghanistan with cancers and those born without limbs and unrecognizable facial features.
In effect, scientific evidence suggests that Uranium-238 does appear to have an adverse impact on reproduction and the destruction and mutation of genetic material, which is passed down to future descendents which can lead to birth defects in the exposed individual's offspring.
Studies have also shown that DU has a toxic effect on the kidneys as they are the organ that eliminates toxins in the blood and thus are particularly vulnerable to both radiological and heavy metal toxicity and are the first organs to be damaged by uranium. Uranium-238 also causes neurologically related behavioral effects. Recently scientists have observed that there appears to be a correlation between Depleted Uranium and increases in diabetes.
Alan Cantwell, M.D. covers the latest scientific thinking on this connection in his article, "Depleted Uranium, Diabetes, Cancer and You". In it Dr. Cantwell writes that "The CDC predicts that Type 2 diabetes will increase 165% by 2050. People with Type 2 diabetes are also twice as likely to get pancreatic cancer." Basic common sense tells us that such dramatic increases in the diabetes epidemic is quite unlikely to be due merely to genetics and "lifestyle choices" alone.
Recent data from The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) indicates the enormity of the diabetes epidemic indicating that the disease now affects 246 million people worldwide. They predict that the total number of people living with diabetes worldwide will reach 380 million within twenty years. According to IDF President Pierre Lef-bvre, "Just twenty years ago, the best information available suggested that 30 million people had diabetes. A bleaker picture has now emerged. Diabetes is fast becoming the epidemic of the 21st century."
Never before has a quote been so fitting as that from Leuren Moret, geo-scientist and international radiation specialist who wrote, "If it's an epidemic, it's not genetic."
Scientists like Moret and Dr. Ernest Sternglass are now observing that increasing atmospheric radiation seems to play a vital role in the expanding worldwide increase in cases of diabetes.
ABOUT RADIOACTIVE BLASTS
With such known devastating health effects of this life-devastating toxin that stays in the body and basically rips it apart, one can't help but wonder just what type of super-top secret, "national security" projects would necessitate exploding radioactive toxic uranium gas into densely populated areas where millions of Americans inhale these toxics right where they live and work?
I contacted the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Public Affairs office to try to better understand the rationale for detonating even greater amounts of radioactive explosives within a highly populated area. Could it be, I wondered, that they do not realize that their 11.7 square miles of nuclear waste materials "testing" Site 300 is less than 50 miles from San Francisco? Maybe someone needed to tell Livermore Lab (i.e., Uncle Sam) that more than seven million people live in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area and have been breathing in this "gene busting" chemical toxic and radiological poison for about fifty years?
Certainly, I reasoned, no sane individuals would be exploding radiation into the air for fifty years - on purpose - if they realized how many families - men, women, children, and infants are breathing in that air?
The Public Affairs Director, Susan Houghton, seemed pleased to share that Livermore had been "very successful for 50 years" before Tracy Press started reporting on this issue, but she declined to elaborate further. One can't help but wonder how the Lab has been "successful" ... I wanted to ask her, "successful" at doing... exactly what? Perhaps Livermore Lab is proud they've been "successful" at keeping the community in general - and California as a whole - quiet and totally in the dark with regard to the hazards to their health?
Apparently the US government has determined that the public does not have a right to know what is in the air they breathe. As reported by Tracy Press on December 14, Livermore Lab spokesperson Linda Seaver stated, "We are not bound to do a public notice for every permit we request. We worked directly with the local air quality board and our various regulators".
How do you think the American public would feel if it realized that nuclear bomb simulators purposely and routinely fire off 100 pound toxic and radioactive air blasts that affect the air, water, soil, and food supplies in our communities? Site 300, after all, is only one of at several DU "testing" grounds in the nation. For example, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories both fire Depleted Uranium into the open air, as does the Nevada Test Site and Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.
When asked in a phone conversation about radioactivity in the outdoor explosions, Public Affairs Director Houghton said she would not answer questions, but stated that tritium would not be used in the 350 lb tests. On this subject, another laboratory spokesperson, Linda Seaver, informed SF Gate that the Laboratory last used tritium in test explosions in 2001.
Tritium, radioactive hydrogen, is present in nature in tiny amounts. Significant quantities, however, are generated by nuclear power plants and the manufacture of nuclear weapons and atomic bomb testing. Tritium, like Uranium-238, is another destroyer of human cells and DNA. According to the Nuclear Information Resource Service website: "Tritium emits radioactive beta particles. Once tritium is inhaled or swallowed, its beta particles can bombard cells. If a particle zaps a DNA molecule in a cell, it can cause a mutation. If it mutates a gene important to cell function, a serious disease may result... Research indicates that tritium can remain in the human body for more than ten years".
At a Tracy City Council meeting on January 2, Tracy Press reported Larry Sedlacek, Deputy Associate Director of Operations in the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory's Defense and Nuclear Technologies Group, as saying that tritium could be used in tests that would be "aerosolized" after test blasts. He also stated that he "would not rule out using tritium in the blasts... saying details of the blasts are classified." Sedlacek also admitted, "We have used tritium at Site 300 in the past...It is contained in our environmental impact statement that we could potentially use small quantities in the future, but we don't have any scheduled."
Whether the tritium and DU blasts are scheduled on the calendar or they occur at the whim of the detonator button-pusher on duty at Livermore that day, there appears to be some big project going on in the hills near San Francisco. Livermore representatives won't name a project linked to the planned explosions, but word has it that there's something new in the works.
One is left to ponder what would tritium be used for in the smaller, radioactive tritium tests? Local war correspondent Bob Nichols offered, "It is pretty clear from the tritium that Livermore, like Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab, is busily modeling the explosion of global thermonuclear weapons".
APPEALING BIG EXPLOSIONS
With such a long history of radioactive explosions at Site 300, one is left to sit and ponder the impacts of these explosions upon the health of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. A health risk assessment for air pollution was done by the San Joaquin Pollution Control District, yet their health analysis does not require them to report radiological impacts. Their function is only to report non-radiological toxic air contaminants. Tracy resident Bob Sarvey stated in an interview, "Radiological impacts are not regulated by the Air Pollution Control District. In fact, their health risk assessment is inadequate" because it will contain neither the Depleted Uranium nor tritium used at the site.
How curious it is that the county which is required to report levels of air pollution toxics is not required to measure nor report on toxics caused by radioactive explosions being conducted within its county? Livermore Lab's been "testing" there for 50 years, so it's not like the Air Pollution Control Board hasn't heard of what they've been up to all those years. San Joaquin's non-reporting of radiation in a county where Depleted Uranium is fired out into the open air is certainly curious indeed.
Residents like Bob Sarvey are understandably concerned that radioactive material such as Depleted Uranium and tritium will continue to be blown into Tracy. Living approximately five miles from the explosive "test" site, Sarvey felt compelled to personally cover a $750 fee to file an appeal against the larger explosives permit. Since the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is not required to regulate radioactive material, Sarvey believes this issue should have referred that question to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The second petition being filed on February 7 is by a developer, Tracy Hills LLC, AKT Development. Out of Sacramento, AKT is calling for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to review the accuracy of emissions estimates, and environmental and noise impacts of the larger blasts, according to appeal documents. Part of the Tracy Hills property adjoins Site 300, although the 5,500 housing community would be not much more than a mile from Site 300. I phoned them to ask if the developer still plans on building those homes so close to a Depleted Uranium explosives "test" site even if their appeal is denied, but my call was not returned.
OK IT'S HARMFUL - BUT IS THIS STUFF LEGAL?
Far, far away, the US Military's premiere weapon of choice, Depleted Uranium, has been used in combat overseas at least as far back as 1991. It was also used in the former Yugoslavia and surrounding Balkans region [Europe] in the 1990s, in Kosovo in 1999-2000, in Afghanistan beginning in 2001, and in Iraq starting in 1991. While many people believe that DU use started in 1991 and then resumed in 2003 with the second Gulf War, Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, Associate Professor in Environmental Geological Engineering of Mamoun University for Science & Technology, and Member of the reminds us, however, that the use of DU in Iraq never actually stopped. As the expert on uranium weapons-related environmental impact and diseases told us in August, 2006, at the 3rd ICBUW International Conference Hiroshima, "The USA and UK continuously used Depleted Uranium weapons against the population and environment in Iraq from 1991 until today."
What makes it hard to comprehend is that these weapons have been used for 15 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the Middle East despite the fact that the United Nations has prohibited its use. As stating in its 1996 resolution,
it "Urges all States to be guided in their national policies by the need to curb the production and the spread of weapons of mass destruction or with indiscriminate effect, in particular nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, fuel-air bombs, napalm, cluster bombs, biological weaponry and weaponry containing depleted uranium".
Doug Rokke, Ph.D., health physicist, former Director, U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project, and one of the authors of the Pentagon's program for environmental remediation summarizes the international violations associated with use of DU: "According to an August 2002 UN report, the use of DU munitions breaches the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the Genocide Convention, the Convention Against Torture, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980, and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907."
Before the second war in Iraq even started, Karen Parker, J.D., President and Co-founder of the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, further elaborated on the illegality of DU weapons, in August 1999 when she testified "...these radioactive weapons have already been used in Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo and Serbia even though they are illegal under existing humanitarian law. There are four main tests which determine whether or not the use of weapons is illegal: (1) whether or not they stay within the territorial range of the conflict; (2) whether or not they damage the environment; (3) whether or not the effects of the weapons end when the conflict ends (or the temporal range of the weapons); and (4) whether or not they are inhumane, that is, continue to cause physical harm beyond the point used for military purposes. As the Sub-Commission is aware, Depleted Uranium Munitions fail all four tests."
So apparently, international law be damned and world leaders dare not oppose this behemoth of a military beast. The US military's continued violation of international law by its use of DU in nations overseas in which it declares an "enemy" is certainly no secret to the rest of the world. At the very least, what the United Nations, the Middle East, eastern Europe and Okinawa (Islands of Japan) and Puerto Rico (both locations where DU was exploded) all realize too well about the horrific ramifications of the use of US uranium weapons inside our country seems to be a well-kept secret here at home.
How many Americans do you think realize that radioactive Depleted Uranium explosions are being detonated in several federal "test" sites right here in the United States, where American families live, work, play - and try to breathe? How many people even living in the Livermore Lab's backyard, inside the greater San Francisco Bay area realize that the radioactive particulate matter of Uranium-238 stays in our atmosphere for 4,510,000,000 years?
We're not talking about a poison that will go away in a few generations. This radiation will, in fact, be around longer than the earth itself has been around. In the scheme of things, we are radioactively poisoning earth forever.
We have created a legacy of a toxic radioactive environment for our children and future descendents forevermore. We who are Baby Boomers have slept through this nuclear and nuclear waste radioactive "testing" while we went to school, built our careers, and have been immersed in raising our families and trying to make a living. So, too, have our parents' and grandparents' generations, and now today's younger adults are just starting to make their way in this world.
While we were busy doing other things, far too busy to worry about what was taking place on military "testing" ranges, proving grounds, and national "laboratories", sixty years of radioactivity "testing" has taken place right here, our own soil, into our air. There appears to be no end to it in sight.
Through "testing" of bombs, tanks, and guns containing Uranium-238, tritium and other toxic substances at military ordnances, national laboratories, and other federal lands throughout the United States including Hawaii and off the coast of Alaska, we have permitted the creation of radiation-filled toxic earth, air, and water for our offspring. Knowingly or not, we have allowed irreparable harm to be done to our earth, land, water, and human genetics and cellular physiology - for the prematurely aborted future of humankind.
What we are doing with these uranium munitions is, as Leuren Moret states, "illegal under international human rights and humanitarian law". She informs us that the US "has used this inhumane weapon on the battlefield, exposing its own soldiers, its allies, civilian populations, and future generations. DU testing in the US continues to expose unsuspecting citizens and the environment. Pilots at Fallen Naval Air Station in Nevada trained on nearby bombing and gunnery ranges for the Gulf War. Now, the "don't look, don't find policy" of the military is concealing the cause of a recent leukemia cluster among children in Fallon."
Jim Howenstein, M.D. agrees and posits that the use of thousands of tons of Depleted Uranium used for decades at Fallon, Nevada "is no doubt responsible for the fastest growing leukemia cluster in the U.S. The military has denied that DU has anything to do with this cluster. " Dr. Howenstein goes even further by stating http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james29.htm that his own "medical profession has been involved in the cover-up-just as they were hiding the adverse effects that low level radiation from atmospheric testing and nuclear power plants were producing."
MAKING THE CONNECTION
What would happen, do you think, if the connection was made in the minds of 300 million Americans between widespread cancers, diabetes, asthma and other respiratory diseases, auto-immune system diseases and birth defects as a result of Americans breathing in low-level, ionizing radiation? To say the least, this mind-blowing revelation would not exactly "sell" on-going American wars. One can understand precisely why a government - and the mainstream media it controls - would try extremely hard to keep the radioactive explosions, irreparably damaging to the air and environment, all very hush-hush.
One can't help but ponder the concept of a government - any nation's government - willfully, knowingly, releasing vast amounts of radioactive substances into the air, water, and food supply of its very own people. Upon contemplation, the average brain can not begin to comprehend the sober seriousness contained within such a concept. Aghast with the horrific implications, one is forced to ask if this poison dust - which is being inhaled in our air and ingested within our food and water - is not purposely intended to have an adverse health impact upon those living within our own country, too?
What seems to be too horrific a concept must at least be considered.
In a working paper submitted by Y.K.J. Yeung Sik Yuen at the United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights on September 25th, 2003, Yuen concluded "that these weapons are intended to be used on enemy soil, thus making their devastation less of an issue for their users and their own nationals than for the 'enemy' victims."
Arguably, Yuen's reasoning certainly does appear logical. If a weapon of devastating consequences is used which has consequences upon "the enemy", yet possesses no adverse effects upon the aggressor population using it, the chances of that weapon being discontinued due to the insistence of the aggressor's population would be slim.
It will therefore be interesting to observe if Americans will react differently (that is, react with appropriate and fitting moral outrage) against uranium weapons use upon civilians in the Middle East when we realize that our government has been using upon us - right here in the United States - the exact same types of munitions they have been using on our so-called "enemies" overseas.
As Charles W. Chestnutt said, "Sins, like chickens, come home to roost." Or, in other words, "What goes around comes around". Use of uranium in weapons upon some unknown foreign "enemy" who are we told "hates our freedom" is apparently not too big of a concern for most Americans - at least not yet.
BUT WHY HERE? WHY US?
Radioactive weapons use inside the US is certainly nothing new. The US Military has been conducting explosive radioactive "tests" inside America for the past sixty years. At this point, after umpteen years of "testing" the same materials, one can't help but wonder if it's actually the explosive material they are continually "testing"... or rather, what happens to citizen populations when radioactive materials are continually fired into the open air in communities where people live?
Former Livermore Laboratory whistleblower, Leuren Moret, gives us a clue as to why a nation might want to "test" Depleted Uranium within its own country: "International scientists, Drs. Andre Gsponer, J.-P. Hurni, and B. Vitali, watch-dogging nuclear weapons developments globally, pointed out that DU weaponry is being used to study the radiobiological effects of the new nuclear weapons now under development."
Moret also informs us:
"The use of weapons in war are most effective when the weapons do not kill, but create long-term health and environmental consequences such as lingering illnesses which slowly destroy the health of the environment and productivity of a nation and the economy.... DU is a permanent terrain contaminant with a half-life of 4.5 billion years, forms immense volumes of nano-sized particles (smaller than bacteria or viruses) which are lofted permanently as components of atmospheric dust traveling around the world until they are rained or snowed out of the air...Even worse, uranium targets the DNA... and slowly destroys the genetic future of exposed populations."
Site 300, where these radioactive explosions occur, is only about 40 miles from San Francisco. More than seven million people live in the highly populated Greater San Francisco Bay area. America has been breathing in this toxic, "gene busting" invisible poison since 1945 when Uranium-238, as well as other radioactive materials, were used inside the hydrogen bomb that the US exploded in the New Mexico desert.
Dr. Janette Sherman, after hearing about the DU explosions at site 300 at Livermore admitted, "I can not think of a single reason why munitions have to be tested in that area. It's not like munitions have not been tested before. I believe it must be stopped."
It would certainly appear that those in power are cooking up some "hot" treat for the liberal Greater San Francisco Bay area. In fact, San Francisco has been a long-established place to experiment upon the population. An advanced Google search using the exact phrases "human experiment" and "San Francisco" yielded 14,300 Google "hits".
As was noted by a recent report, "Lack of transparency is cause for concern if only because of the history of secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pentagon experiments in germ warfare that used the American people as guinea pigs. In his book Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Common Courage Press reporter William Blum noted that both agencies 'conducted tests [over two decades] in the open air in the United States, exposing millions of Americans to large clouds of possibly dangerous bacteria and chemical particles.'
From 1949-69, the US Army tested the spread of dangerous chemical and bacterial organisms at over 239 US populated areas including San Francisco, New York, and Chicago with no warnings to the public or regard for the health consequences, Blum wrote. The Pentagon even sprayed navy warships to test the impact of germ warfare on US sailors."
AND WHAT ABOUT TRITIUM ?
The United States government fully admits that it has done radiation experiments on Americans before. And with the long history of such chemical, biological, and radiological exposures upon the people of the San Francisco area, one is forced to realize that its nation's government certainly did not, as the song goes, leave its heart there. Since such exposures have been going on since the Cold War started, one can not help but wonder what type of a "national security" project would involve dispersing radioactive uranium gas and tritium into such a densely populated area where millions of American lungs are breathing in the toxic air and drinking the water (of which tritium is not removed) all around them?
Livermore knows exactly what it is doing to the health of America's citizens with these DU blasts out into the California air. At a Tracy City Council meeting on January 2, Tracy Press reported that Larry Sedlacek, Deputy Associate Director of Operations in the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory's Defense and Nuclear Technologies Group, as saying that tritium could be used in "tests" that would be "aerosolized" (turned into gas) after "test" blasts and that he "would not rule out" using tritium in the blasts when interviewed Wednesday, saying details of the blasts are classified." Sedlacek was quoted as saying, "We have used tritium at Site 300 in the past...It is contained in our environmental impact statement that we could potentially use small quantities in the future, but we don't have any scheduled."
One can't help but wonder if anyone gets rewarded for keeping things so quiet for so long? Take for example, how happy you would be if you were the head of a major nuclear weapons lab and your staff was able to keep explosions of radioactive materials so damaging to human health and the environment a really big secret from the nation for fifty years! Undoubtedly, the ability to keep such a major deal under wraps from the 7 million people living and working in the San Francisco Bay area must make for some mighty swollen incentive bonuses for public relations staff who know how to keep Uncle Sam's "hottest" and "dirtiest " of secrets!
STARTING AT TRACY - AND WAY, WAY BEYOND...
So going back to the people in the Tracy/Livermore area, any way you look at it, they've been dealt a really bum deal. According to Steve Sarvey, "It's like a triple whammy. There's three things going on." First, there's the issue of radioactive outdoor explosive "testing". It is not known exactly how much radiation has been released out into the atmosphere at Livermore, but outdoor explosives "tests" at Site 300 have averaged about 60 per year at 100 pounds each since 1997, according to Susan Houghton.
Want to make your head spin? Just do the math. If Livermore explodes 60,000 pounds of explosives in ten years? Since the high explosives "tests" began at Site 300 in 1955, that makes 60,000 pounds every ten years, which amounts to 300,000 pounds or 150 tons of radioactive blasts. And that's at only one of the federal "test" sites - of which there are several.
Site 300 is a contaminated Toxic site on the Superfund National Priorities List due to contamination of groundwater and tonnage of materials deposited there, such as Depleted Uranium, beryllium, and tritium. Some of these radioactive substances sit in unlined pits. There are extensive plumes of various substances with fifty-seven separate contaminant release areas that exist including soil and water both above and below the ground.
According to Bob Sarvey, the Tracy City Council voted in April to have Livermore Laboratory remove the piles of highly enriched uranium as well as plutonium and tritium that are sitting in unlined pits, but Livermore Lab has failed to do so. And to add insult to injury? Livermore Lab, which is run and staffed by the University of California, also applied to increase the amount of toxic waste it can store at Site 300 from 3,300 gallons to 5,500 gallons, according to Department of Toxic Substances Control permit project manager Andrew Berna-Hicks.
Last but certainly not least, Site 300 is one of the sites that the Department of Homeland Security is considering to run a Bio-Safety Level 4, anti-biological laboratory. Level 4 labs test and store incurable fatal diseases such as the Ebola virus and mad cow disease.
Again, the question must be asked, why in the world would anyone want to even consider doing work on fatal and incurable diseases so close to seven million people?
As far as health affects caused by DU radiation "testing" goes, anecdotal reports from Tracy citizens suggest an inordinately high number of cancers in their area including cancerous brain tumors and mysterious illnesses. Journalist Chris Bollyn interviewed Marion Fulk, former Livermore Laboratory scientist and skin cancer survivor, who told him that as a result of tritium pollution from the National Lab, children born in Livermore are 6 times more likely to have skin cancer than other children.
Not surprisingly, looking at the health of the overall San Francisco Greater Bay area, one notes that the incidences of cancer are higher when compared to the state average. From the years 1988 to 2002, the Greater San Francisco Bay area experienced an annual rate of 468.9 cancers per 100,000 people, which is substantially higher than the state of California's 2003 cancer incidence rate of 425.1 per 100,000 residents.
Here in the US, cancer is the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children. The fetus and infant are particularly sensitive to radioactive toxins. Every year, about 12,400 children and teens under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer each year, and approximately 2,300 of those children will die. Will our children be next? Only time will tell as many medical reports document a 5-10 year lag between radiation exposure and the onset of childhood cancer.
Another disorder linked to Depleted Uranium poisoning in soldiers from both Gulf Wars is asthma. A chronic lung disease characterized by persistent cough and wheeze, incidences of asthma have been steadily increasing. The most common serious chronic disease of America's children, more than 5 percent of the U.S. population or nearly five million children younger than 18 years - are affected by this disorder. Asthma is the cause of nearly three million doctor's visits and 200,000 hospitalizations each year. In children ages 5-14 years, the rate of death from asthma almost doubled between 1980 and 1993.
If you are not living in California and don't love anyone who is, by now you may be thinking, Well that really is too bad (and thank God I don't live anywhere near there)! Even for those of us who don't live on the west coast, however, it's still a good idea to think twice before we take our next breath. This past year there was news out of the UK that suggest that the radioactivity from Site 300 and the poison dust of other radioactive" test" sites throughout the US is far closer to home than we may realize.
According to research released in February, 2006 out of England, nine days after the March, 2003 "Shock and Awe" bombing of Baghdad in which bombs containing Depleted Uranium were exploded, radioactivity was found in air filters within the United Kingdom, up to 2,500 miles away.
This was proof positive that this radioactive poison travels great distances. In other words, the explosive fire of tanks, guns, missiles launched and bombs dropped does not stay in a contained little cloud over the so-called "enemy" target borders. According to Moret, "After forming microscopic and submicroscopic insoluble Uranium oxide particles on the battlefield, they remain suspended in air and travel around the earth as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, contaminating the environment, indiscriminately killing, maiming and causing disease in all living things where rain, snow and moisture remove it from the atmosphere."
Who would have ever thought that radioactive weaponry that we believed was intended for use on the battlefield upon America's "enemies" would ever be used in our own country, for so many years? How many Americans realize that their very next breath - or that of their children's - may very well contain invisible, microscopic-sized toxic radioactive particles so minute as to be considered a gas? Sadly, people do not know this when they inhale or ingest these invisible particles - as the effects of one tiny Uranium-238 particle can take years to manifest symptoms inside our bodies.
In testimony provided to the UN, International Humanitarian Lawyer Karen Parker, J.D., stated, "there is evidence that the ceramic form of uranium dioxide, made during weapons explosions or fires, could stay in the body as long as 20 years. Depleted uranium was detected eight years after the end of the war in the urine of US, UK and Canadian Gulf War veterans and in that of Iraqi civilians."
Proof abounds, however, dating back all the way back from 1943 that shows our military leaders knew about the "advantages" - and their capability - of conducting radioactive gas warfare upon citizens.
In a memo declassified in 1974 written to James B. Conant and Brigadier General L. R. Groves from: Drs. Conant, Compton, and Urey, War Department United States Engineer Office Manhattan District, Oak Ridge Tennessee on October 30, 1943, that proves that they knew that uranium could be used "As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. It has been estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person's body would be fatal. There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty."
The report states that two factors appear to increase the effectiveness of radioactive dust or smoke as a weapon. These are: (1) It cannot be detected by the senses; (2) It can be distributed in a dust or smoke form so finely powdered that it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging.
The 1943 memo also stated that it could be used as radioactive warfare to make evacuated areas uninhabitable, to contaminate small critical areas, and as a radioactive poison gas to create casualties among troops, and to create casualties among civilian populations. It also mentions that "These materials may also be so disposed as to be taken into the body by ingestion instead of inhalation. Reservoirs or wells would be contaminated or food poisoned with an effect similar to that resulting from inhalation of dust or smoke, " and in the respiratory tract, "articles smaller than 1- [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatics or blood... It would seem that chemical gases could accomplish more and do it more quickly so far as the skin surfaces and lungs are concerned."
In other words, the US Military has known since 1943 precisely what it was doing with regard to the life-destroying use of aerosolized uranium.
In the words of award-winning Robert C. Koehler in his piece on Depleted Uranium, "Silent Genocide": "Before the damage we inflict grows greater, before history's judgment gets worse, before we contaminate the whole world -- even before we vote in the next election -- we must stop what we're doing. We must stop now. "
If Americans don't like the idea of breathing in, eating, and drinking this weaponized nuclear waste product gas, how do we follow Koehler's advice and stop what we're doing now? It is imperative that we start somewhere - and halting the large radioactive "tests" now permitted in California is certainly a great place to begin.
This affects us all. What is going on in the backyard of the vastly populated San Francisco Bay area is not just another "not in my backyard issue". The explosion of these vast amounts of Depleted Uranium radioactive microscopic particles affect Americans all over the country. We've all watched the Weather Channel and observed how in a matter of just a few hours, wind currents carrying invisible particles start at one part of the country and sweep across the map, reaching into entirely different sections of the country in a matter of hours.
So this issue is in fact not at all a problem merely for the city of Tracy's 72,400 thousand residents, nor even just a nightmare for the Greater San Francisco Bay Area's 7 million. The radioactivity being dispersed at Site 300 and other" test" sites still in operation within the US affects people all over the United States - as DU radiation from bombs exploded in Iraq was detected 2,500 miles away in the United Kingdom.
From a February, 2006 report by Busby and Morgan, measurements were examined on air sampler filters deployed by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, in Berkshire, UK. Examination of the air filters showed a statistically significant increase in uranium in all the filters beginning at the start of the United States bombing of Iraq in March 2003 and ending when the US "Shock and Awe" bombing campaign ended. Levels of increased uranium in the filters were found in England, up to 2,500 miles away from Baghdad.
In the conclusion of the report: "Despite much evidence that uranium aerosols are long lived in the environment and are able to travel considerable distances, this is the first evidence as far as we know, that they are able to travel thousands of miles. The distance traveled from Baghdad to Reading [England] following the wind patterns implicit in the pressure systems at the time is about 2500 miles. Although this transport may be hard to believe at first, the regular desert sand events which occur in the UK should teach us that the planet is not such a large place, and that with regard to certain long lived atmospheric pollutants, no man is an island. "
We never know when you or I or someone we love may be breathing in an invisible particle of radiation in the air from Site 300 or from another of the US "test" sites. As we saw from the distance that radiation traveled away from Baghdad all the way into England, it is not necessary to live near any of these "test" sites to be an unwitting participant in the purposeful poisoning of America.
Roughly speaking, using approximate distances from Livermore's Site 300, Seattle is 800 miles away, Chicago is 1,700 miles away, New Orleans is 2,000 miles away, and Washington, DC, Orlando, and Philadelphia are all about 2,400 miles away. It is easy to look at a map of the US and calculate if you or someone you care about lives within 2,500 miles - and are thus within the range of inhaling the radiation from Site 300 within a matter of days.
One can't help but wonder if by virtue of having radioactive materials in the form of both hydrogen bombs and Uranium-238 munitions exploded around us within the US for the past 60 years if Americans are now facing the same health issues as those experienced by those in Iraq and Afghanistan? Both countries have been pounded relentlessly by thousands of tons of uranium munitions.
In an interview with Dr. Mohammed Daud Miraki, author of the compelling book, "Afghanistan After Democracy" which chronicles the health effects suffered by the people in Afghanistan as a result of DU weaponry, I asked Dr Miraki to tell me about the health effects of DU upon the people in Afghanistan and Iraq compared to the citizens of the US with regard to open air Uranium-238 "testing".
Dr. Miraki replied, "I can use Iraq, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslovia as a benchmark upon which I can base my judgment. There they have used these weapons and they have resulted in a variety of health issues ranging from leukemia to cancers of various types, seeing the unborn as well as congenital deformities as well as pulmonary problems, edema, other issues as well as bizarre conditions - some call it Gulf War Syndrome, some call it other names that's associated - fatigue and neurological problems, other issues are associated with it."
As this is documented by many scientists as being true with regard to the devastating health effects of the victims of uranium poisoning in the Middle East, can one assume that these same uranium munitions are having a similar effect on our own citizens here in the United States? Dr. Miraki explained, "It is bound to effect people in the vicinity. After all, the dust of DU is susceptible to wind. Wind will carry it, water flow in any direction is bound to take that, and vegetation will be affected, birds could take particles and move it - so it's the ecological aspect as well as the long term effects. So I assume it would be evident already wherever the regions close by to where the detonations are done ...
Miraki continued, "For example, I heard in Indiana, Jefferson Testing Grounds, there people have certain health problems that are unexplained, cancer rates and so forth that are up, so on a large scale, what they have done overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and Kosovo and Yugoslavia, and, using that as a benchmark? Logic dictates that it will result in similar conditions here as well... a high upsurge in diabetes in various areas among young people - as well as older - could very well be one effect of DU dust. Then you know we are talking about DU dust, we are talking about intercellular radiation. So it could affect anything. It could create any kind of problem, from the conventional as well as bizarre and unexplained, unconventional problems."
With each passing day, our air, our streams, our lakes, our rivers, our oceans, our farms, our forests, our fields, our meadows, our schoolyards, our wildlife, our farm animals and our produce and grains are being contaminated with this invisible radioactive poison dust and gas. These explosions do not - must not - be fired within our country where it is inhaled in our air, ingested in our food, and can readily enter the body through even a small cut on a child's scraped knee.
Radiation from US Military weapons is not something that happens overseas "somewhere". It is a personal affair that affects Americans right here at home. As Michael Ignatieff said, "We can't achieve the humanitarian goals we set out to because achieving humanitarian goals means getting up close and personal."
The clock is ticking. With each new detonation of yet another radioactive "test", increased amounts of radiation remain here with us inside the United States for all eternity. The issue of radioactive explosive "tests" inside the United States affects each and every one of us and those we love. It affects all future generations of Americans. It is a critical matter for the ecosystem. Our environment and wildlife are suffering due to the increasingly destructive and cumulative effects of radioactivity in our air, water, soil, and vegetation.
Bob Sarvey, one of the leading voices against the continued testing of radioactive substances at Site 300, summed up what appears to be the sentiment of many residents in the Livermore area by saying, "If you want to just explode regular ordinance, I'm okay with you doing it on the hill. But if you are going to put U-238, tritium, other radioactive elements in it? Please go... somewhere else. Somewhere where you're not wiping out people".
Unfortunately, no matter where that "somewhere else" is? Depleted Uranium and other radioactive substances are "tested", it will wipe out people. So the solution actually is not to move the weapons "testing" to a less populated area, but rather, to stop the use of radioactive materials, period. As long as radioactive weapons are used, those who manufacture and use them will continue to maintain that they must be "tested" - somewhere. And with such a tremendously far atmospheric "reach"? These invisible aerosol particles will be carried through the wind and precipitation thousands of miles away - somewhere - wherever people live.
All points within 2,500 miles of Site 300 at Livermore, CA are a good place to begin to stop the poison gassing of Americans. The appeals against large radioactive explosions on Site 300 at Livermore, California begin on February 7 in Modesto. Your help is needed with the appeal process. A campaign is being mounted to put an end to these radioactive explosions that affect the health of our loved ones.
The question we must now ponder in our heart of hearts is this one: What have the use of these radioactive and nuclear weapons truly cost us in collective terms of Americans' lost moments of healthy, happy, productive living? What do we say to future children who are born with genetic mutations and birth defect deformities who want to know why they are missing a limb or an ear?
What will the use of these weapons mean to us in terms of green spaces and fields, native wildflowers and forests lost? How will this permanent radiation in our atmosphere and environment play out for our children's grandchildren's future in terms of being subject to a nation with permanently contaminated brooks and streams, lakes, ponds, rivers and oceans? How can we ever even begin to calculate what our great grandchildren will miss in terms of healthy fish swimming in our streams and frogs, chipmunks, and endangered birds?
In the words of Dr. Keith Baverstock, formerly of the World Health Organization, "Politics has poisoned the well from which democracy must drink."
It is incumbent upon American citizens to take personal responsibility now, once and for all. We must work together at once to put an end to this poisoning forever of our nation - and our world.
Like never before, we need to rise to the occasion and step up to the plate. Together we m