- "RADIOACTIVE" is stenciled on Abrams
tanks in these pictures
taken Oct. 13, 2005, in Topeka, Kansas.
- Photo: Chris Bayruh
- Across the plains of Kansas, destroyed, radioactive Abrams
tanks, perched on railroad flatcars, rolled towards an uncertain future.
Only one thing was certain. They would be radioactive forever. This would
be their everlasting death mask. The Pentagon deceptively calls it "depleted
- The Abrams tanks are constructed with a layer of radioactive
uranium metal plates. The big tanks fire a giant uranium dart at 2,100
mph, much faster than an F-16 fighter aircraft, mach III to airplane pilots
and very, very fast to the rest of us.
- American taxpayers paid to ship the tanks to Iraq and
to return them for disposal or re-building in the United States. The tanks
are 12 feet wide and weigh a stout 70 tons, or 140,000 pounds.
- The enduring vigorous stupidity of the U.S. military
pretends that radiation is one of those things that if you can't see it,
it can't hurt you. They are thoroughly delusional, of course. A National
Academy of Sciences report released June 30, 2005, finds that there is
no safe level of radiation. Any radiation is bad.
- This radioactive tank sitting exposed on a flatbed
railroad car in Topeka, Kansas, should have been "encapsulated,"
according to U.S. Army Regulation 700-48, which has the force of law.
- Photo: Chris Bayruh
- From America to Iraq and back, these giant radioactive
hulks can only sicken and kill Americans. On top of the sheer, unrelenting
stupidity of playing with radiation with unsuspecting soldiers, now the
neo-con government is involving everyday Americans in their radiation madness.
- The Pentagon can't even follow simple radiation hazard
mitigation instructions. Their own rules and regulations have the force
of law throughout the world. Yet they are ignored in the United States.
- Dr. Doug Rokke
- Dr. Doug Rokke is the Pentagon's former director of the
U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project. When contacted on Oct. 22, he viewed
Chris Bayruh's photographs and made this statement about the radioactive
tanks in Kansas: "The radioactive damaged Abrams tanks that were left
unsecured on a Kansas railroad track are a perfect example of exactly how
not to ship damaged radioactive equipment and how not to protect our Army's
Abrams tanks from possible sabotage and compromise of classified battle
- On Oct. 10, prior to the discovery of the radioactive
tanks, Dr. Rokke made the following statement. It is eerily predictive
of what would happen in Kansas three days later. "U.S. Department
of Defense officials continue to deny that there are any adverse health
and environmental effects as a consequence of the manufacture, testing
and/or use of uranium munitions to avoid liability for the willful and
illegal dispersal of a radioactive toxic material - depleted uranium."
- This is another of the destroyed radioactive
tanks in Topeka, Kansas.
Children were playing around the tanks.
- Photo: Chris Bayruh
- Dr. Rokke continued, "They [the U.S. military] arrogantly
refuse to comply with their own regulations, orders and directives that
require United States Department of Defense officials to provide prompt
and effective medical care to all exposed individuals." (See Note
- "They also refuse to clean up dispersed radioactive
contamination of equipment as required by Army regulations." (See
- "Specifically, they are required (see Note 3) to
accomplish four things:
- 1) Military personnel must 'identify, segregate, isolate,
secure and label all RCE' (radiologically contaminated equipment).
- 2) 'Procedures to minimize the spread of radioactivity
will be implemented as soon as possible.'
- 3) 'Radioactive material and waste will not be locally
disposed of through burial, submersion, incineration, destruction in place,
or abandonment' and
- 4) 'All equipment, to include captured or combat RCE,
will be surveyed, packaged, retrograded, decontaminated and released.'
- "The past and current use of uranium weapons, the
release of radioactive components in destroyed U.S. and foreign military
equipment, and releases of industrial, medical and research facility radioactive
materials have resulted in unacceptable exposures."
- Dr. Rokke added, "Therefore, decontamination must
be completed as required by U.S. Army Regulation 700-48 and should include
releases of all radioactive materials resulting from military operations.
- "The extent of adverse health and environmental
effects of uranium weapons contamination is not limited to combat zones
but includes facilities and sites where uranium weapons were manufactured
or tested, including Vieques, Puerto Rico, Colonie, New York, and Jefferson
Proving Grounds, Indiana.
- "Therefore, medical care must be provided by the
United States Department of Defense officials to all individuals affected
by the manufacturing, testing and/or use of uranium munitions. Thorough
environmental remediation also must be completed without further delay.
- "I am amazed," exclaimed Dr. Rokke, "that
14 years after I was asked to clean up the initial DU mess from Gulf War
I and almost 10 years since I finished the depleted uranium project, United
States Department of Defense officials and many others still attempt to
justify uranium munitions use while ignoring mandatory requirements.
- "But beyond the ignored mandatory actions, the willful
dispersal of tons of solid radioactive and chemically toxic waste in the
form of uranium munitions just does not even pass the common sense test.
- "Finally, continued compliance with the infamous
March 1991 Los Alamos Memorandum (see Note 5) that was issued to ensure
continued use of uranium munitions cannot be justified.
- "In conclusion," Dr. Rokke urged, "the
president of the United States, George W. Bush, and the prime minister
of Great Britain, Tony Blair, must acknowledge and accept responsibility
for willful use of illegal uranium munitions - their own "dirty bombs"
- resulting in adverse health and environmental effects."
- "President Bush and Prime Minister Blair also should
- 1) medical care for all casualties,
- 2) thorough environmental remediation,
- 3) immediate cessation of retaliation against all of
us who demand compliance with medical care and environmental remediation
- 4) and ban the future use of depleted uranium munitions,"
Dr. Rokke concluded.
- A little old lady in tennis shoes
- Leuren Moret is a world famous scientist and radiation
specialist who formerly worked at the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons
Lab, where she became a whistleblower in 1991. She has spoken out about
the danger of uranium munitions to humanity in more than 42 countries.
- Moret has appeared in four documentaries about uranium
munitions (depleted uranium). "Beyond Treason" debuted in August
2005 and won the Grand Festival Award at the Berkeley Film Festival. The
newest film, "Blowin' in the Wind," was nominated during its
debut the first week of November in Australia for an Academy Award.
- Moret was an expert witness at the International Criminal
Tribunal for Afghanistan and serves as an adviser and expert witness in
court cases regarding radiation exposure. Her statement, made Oct. 24,
about the dead tanks in Kansas follows:
- "Sally Devlin, a little old lady in tennis shoes,
went to a public meeting several years ago, held by the Air Force in Pahrump,
Nevada. Two officers told the citizens of the town that the Air Force would
be moving 80 old target practice tanks and tons of old depleted uranium
munitions through their town.
- "The radioactive bullets had been picked up off
the Nellis gunnery ranges by order of the state of Nevada and were being
transported to the Nevada Test Site [a nuclear weapons test site] to be
buried as radioactive waste.
- "When Mrs. Devlin politely asked them how they would
prevent the residents of the town from being contaminated by the radioactive
dust on the tanks and bullets, the officers said, 'We're wrapping them
in Saran Wrap.' She told them that would be unacceptable and stopped the
Air Force dead in their tracks," Moret concluded.
- Whether it is Saran Wrap in Nevada or nothing at all
in Kansas, the Pentagon just doesn't get it when it comes to uranium radiation
dispersing weapons. It is way past time to take all their nuclear weapons
and uranium munitions away from them and send them home to get real jobs.
They are clearly incapable of protecting this country from all dangers,
including those created by our own U.S. military.
- The U.S. military shows so little regard for Americans
in Kansas, one wonders what on earth they have done to Iraq. The U.S. military
has distributed an estimated 8 million pounds of weaponized ceramic uranium
oxide gas, aerosols and dust on a practically defenseless little country
of 26 million people (see Note 6), according to an estimate by former U.S.
Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
- What is this lethal radioactive weapon supposed to do?
Why was it used? Ceramic uranium oxide gas is a genocidal weapon, for God's
sake. It persists in the environment forever. In Leuren Moret's pithy words,
"The Iraqis are uranium meat."
- The politicians, Pentagon staff, generals, commanding
officers and others responsible for this war crime must be arrested, tried,
convicted and appropriately punished for their crimes against humanity.
- There is another explanation
- Another explanation is that the U.S. Army and other branches
of the military are far from stupid. They are, in fact, the most lethal
and carefully planned military in the history of the world. The extensive
use of weaponized uranium oxide gas, aerosols and dust is not an accident
or an oversight. They did it on purpose.
- If this is true, they purposely used a genocidal weapon
over at least a 15-year period. No, this is not a callous mistake of empire;
it is a calculated act of genocide to weaken the oil- and gas-rich countries
of Central Asia, including Iraq. Take your choice: they are either stupid
or genocidal monsters.
- A British group has estimated the weaponized ceramic
uranium oxide will account for an additional 25 million cancers in Iraq
in the next several years. There are only 26 million Iraqis to start with,
minus the nearly 1.7 million killed by war or sanctions since 1991, plus
some live births.
- A National Academy of Sciences report released June 30,
2005, finds that there is no safe level of radiation. The committee dismissed
the idea that any radiation could be harmless or beneficial.
- The radioactive tanks in Kansas and Iraq are the same.
They are placed there at great expense by the senior American political
and military leadership, with premeditated malice. The bottom line purpose
of a 140,000-pound radioactive tank is to kill people.
- Uranium munitions a war crime
- Dennis Kyne, noted speaker and writer, is a former drill
instructor (DI) and a 15-year veteran of the Army as well as a Gulf War
vet (see www.denniskyne.com). Kyne makes a point of how "hot"
or radioactive the tanks in Kansas would be if they were hit by "friendly
fire" to get beat up so much. They could be contaminated with as much
as 30,000 times background radiation. That is what uranium munitions do
to a tank, bunker or building.
- Karen Parker, a prominent U.S. international human rights
lawyer, says there are four rules derived from humanitarian laws and conventions
- 1. Weapons may only be used against legal enemy military
targets and must not have an adverse effect elsewhere (the territorial
- 2. Weapons can only be used for the duration of an armed
conflict and must not be used or continue to act afterwards (the temporal
- 3. Weapons may not be unduly inhumane (the "humaneness"
rule). The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 speak of "unnecessary
suffering" and "superfluous injury" in this regard
- 4. Weapons may not have an unduly negative effect on
the natural environment (the "environmental" rule).
- "DU weaponry fails all four tests," Parker
states. "First, DU cannot be limited to legal military targets. Second,
it cannot be 'turned off' when the war is over but keeps killing.
- "Third, DU can kill through painful conditions such
as cancers and organ damage and can also cause birth defects, such as facial
deformities and missing limbs. Lastly, DU cannot be used without unduly
damaging the natural environment.
- "In my view, use of DU weaponry violates the grave
breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions," Parker concluded, "and
so its use constitutes a war crime, or crime against humanity."
- 1. "Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium
Casualties," DOD, Pentagon, 10/14/93, "Medical Management of
Army Personnel Exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU)," Headquarters, U.S.
Army Medical Command, 4/29/04, and section 2-5 of AR 700-48 .
- 2. AR 700- 48: "Management of Equipment Contaminated
With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities," Headquarters, Department
of the Army, Washington, D.C., September 2002, and U.S. Army Technical
Bulletin TB 9-1300-278: "Guidelines For Safe Response To Handling,
Storage, and Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions or
Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium," Headquarters, Department of
the Army, Washington, D.C., July 1996, http://traprockpeace.org/ du_pam_700-48.pdf
- 3. Section 2-4 of United States Army Regulation 700-48
dated Sept. 16, 2002, specifies these requirements.
- 4. IAW Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, DA PAM 700-48.
Maximum exposure limits are specified in Appendix F.
- 5. http://www.tv.cbc.ca/national/pgminfo/du/doc1.html
- 6. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark's estimate,
- © Copyright Bob Nichols. Copying permitted if you
credit the source and leave everything intact, including notes. Bob Nichols
is a Project Censored Award winner and lives in California. He formerly
lived in Oklahoma. He is a contributor to OnLineJournal.com, AxisofLogic.com,
DissidentVoice.com and other online publications and is a correspondent
for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Nichols is a former employee
of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org