The Crime Against Veterans of the Gulf War 1990-91 Plays Forward

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Update on Depleted Uranium Internationally.

By Denise Nichols STAFF WRITER/Health Editor

There has been  work being done internationally while the media ignores the issue.  Here is the news contained below that doesn’t appear in mainstream media coverage.  There is concern but medical research and peer reviewed journal articles seem to take decades, while veterans die without help, denial of compensation, denial of a proactive medical system to perform diagnostic tests in a full screening in a timely manner to catch health problems and to diagnose cancers at the earliest date possible and to monitor health status for other diseases related to respiratory and cardiac and neuroimmune problems.

Meanwhile we have no registries to actively and accurately record diagnosed illnesses for Gulf War Veterans 1990-91.  We have no Death Registry to identify age, cause of death, unit served with in Desert Storm, location in theater.  The VA GWVIS Data system and tracking has been identified as corrupted and quarterly reports have not been available for a long time!  We wonder why?

It is like the three monkeys:  Hear no evil, Speak no Evil, See No Evil.  No data, no justification to take effective action!  The VA and the DOD are hiding and are not performing their duties to provide adequate information and help to their own veterans.

They avoid sharing information to health care providers and to the scientific community.  There is no transparency.  Without the basic data it is exceedingly hard to get researchers and doctors to be knowledgeable and to help!  Where is the morals and ethics?

WE have seen this historically happen before:  Tuskgee Syphilus, Atomic Veterans, Agent Orange are just a few examples.

Where do these policy decisions originate?  Why are elected officials behaving like blind international?  Where are the defenders for the veterans and the troops that lay their very lives and health on the line?  Where is the rest of the veterans, their families, and the citizens of the US?

Who will stand up and help us?  Who will join our battle to get the funding and the right related independent medical research  to prove the case?  Who will unblock this blockade?  Who will help get UT Southwestern Medical Center ie Dr Robert Hailey funding back, they killed the funding at the critical third year of a five year project.  Why would that happen?

Historical records are still classified.  Medical records are missing.  Veterans are referred to psychologist or seen by nurses but not Doctors that are of the appropriate medical specialty to take the actions needed.  Have they been triaged as Expectant?


WE need proactive steps to counter the 20 years of wrong practices.

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons

Norwegian Foreign Minister makes statement on depleted uranium
Norway’s Foreign Minister has called for user transparency and continued research into the potential impact of depleted uranium weapons during a discussion on the issue in the Norwegian parliament.
9 December 2010 – The debate was triggered by a question from Labour Minister Laila Gustavsen that raised concerns over the situation in Iraq and asked how Norway could contribute to an international ban based on the precautionary principle.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that the government was looking seriously at the issue of depleted uranium weapons due to ongoing concerns over their impact. However, he said that for as long as there is no direct causal link between their use and ill health it would not be possible to work directly for an international ban on their use.

Discussing the Norwegian military’s position on the weapons, he said that the Norwegian Armed Forces do not use depleted uranium and that this position was adopted in 2001 as a precautionary measure following controversy over its use in the Balkans. Norwegian armour-piercing rounds are made of tungsten. This includes the new ammunition for Norway’s F35 Joint Strike Fighters that will be bought from the US. The US had initially intended for it to fire a 25mm depleted uranium round. Concern from several potential international buyers had encouraged arms companies Nammo and Thales Australia to develop an alternative tungsten round. He added that depleted uranium has not been used on Norwegian firing ranges and that the domestic arms industry does not produce the rounds.

He briefly touched on the physical properties that have historically made DU an attractive substance for the military before moving on to the potential health and environmental consequences. He said that Norway had long sought answers to these concerns, in particular concern over causes of illnesses in veterans.

On the reports of an increase in cancers and birth defects in Fallujah, he noted that while civil society had suggested a link between them and exposure to depleted uranium, UN agencies such as IAEA, WHO and UNEP have all claimed that it is impossible to draw definitive conclusions. However he pointed out that it is important that all three organisations urge caution over the potential for unforeseen consequences to the use of the weapons. UNEP in particular has noted that there is uncertainty over the possible effects of DU in groundwater. He hoped that a new WHO study may add extra information to the debate.

Foreign Minister Støre felt that it was necessary for research into the impact of the weapons by WHO, UNEP and IAEA to be ongoing. He also said that Norway was contributing to research work conducted by scientists with ties to ICBUW. He said that more in-depth research was needed and welcomed an event planned by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Oslo.

He went on to discuss the term humanitarian disarmament noting how the humanitarian consequences of weapons must guide the government’s disarmament policy. Not only does this cover landmines and cluster munitions, but also nuclear weapons and regulating the trade in conventional arms.

Norwegian policy is based on the principles enshrined in international humanitarian law – in particular the distinction between civilians and combatants. As was the case with mines and cluster munitions, if a weapon is incapable of distinguishing between these two groups then that may form the basis of an international ban, which can be an important norm-building measure. However, humanitarian impact may also go beyond regular armed conflicts in which humanitarian law applies. Similarly the impact of conflict needs to be seen in its broadest sense and assistance must be offered to help the victims of armed violence.
Jonas Gahr Støre at the conclusion of the Oslo Process on Cluster Munitions

He argued that it is important to take the widest possible approach in investigating the health impact seen in places such as Yugoslavia and Iraq and that it would be wrong to focus solely on depleted uranium. Other factors might include the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas and, using Gaza as an example, he also identified the collapse of sanitation, pollution from damaged industrial facilities, the emission of chemicals and dusts and the psychosomatic effects from traumatic experiences. He argued that all these have a humanitarian impact on civilians.

He went on to observe that putting depleted uranium into a broader humanitarian context is not the same as letting go of the issue. Norway supports more research in this field and has supported the recent resolution at the UN, they have also encouraged their allies to do likewise. However at present they haven’t seen evidence of a willingness to support an international ban based on the precautionary principle amongst the international community. He highlighted the importance of the call for transparency from the users of depleted uranium, noting its importance for facilitating studies into the impact of the weapons.

In concluding he said: ”This is not the time, as we see it now, to initiate a process towards a [global] ban on the use of depleted uranium. But it is time to keep the matter on the agenda, provide more research and support the international processes that can bring more clarity to an issue that clearly needs more light, more knowledge for possible future action.”

Responding to the Minister’s statement Laila Gustavsen and Tore Nordtun (Labour) welcomed the government’s commitment to encouraging further research into the issue and for helping keep it live at the UN. Nordtun welcomed the call for a ban based on the precautionary principle but acknowledged that it would be difficult to achieve at present, he urged the government to keep the issue at the top of the agenda.

Jan Arild Ellingsen (Progress Party) also welcomed the Foreign Minister’s suggestions for more research, suggesting that this should also cover the military perspective – as well as the humanitarian aspects.

Ivar Kristiansen (Conservative) said DU was a Cold War weapon and that good quality data was missing to support the debate. He suggested that a range of environmental contaminants may be affecting the people of Iraq, and also that Gulf War veterans were exposed to a range of substances. He believed that persuading the UK and US to stop using the weapons could be more effective than trying to persuade 150 countries to sign a treaty.

Gustavsen responded by acknowledging that a ban was not the only way forward but highlighted the need for transparency and the importance of Norway keeping this issue on the international agenda. She said that she saw no contradiction between a humanitarian and military approach to the issue as service personnel were also at risk. In concluding she said that she was pleased at the sense of consensus among the speakers.

Notes:
http://www.stortinget.no/no/Saker-og-publikasjoner/Publikasjoner/Referater/Stortinget/2010-2011/101130/

See also
International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons
148 states call for transparency over depleted uranium use in UN vote
148 states have supported a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on state users of depleted uranium weapons to reveal where the weapons have been fired when asked to do so by affected countries.

8 December 2010 – ICBUW
http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/a/366.html

148 states call for transparency over depleted uranium use in UN vote
148 states have supported a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on state users of depleted uranium weapons to reveal where the weapons have been fired when asked to do so by affected countries.

8 December 2010 – ICBUWUK parliamentarians from across political spectrum call on government to support UN depleted uranium resolution
Parliamentarians from all the main UK parties have published a letter in The Telegraph newspaper calling on the government to abstain or vote in favour in December’s UN General Assembly vote on a resolution calling for transparency from DU users.

26 November 2010 – ICBUW   Irish depleted uranium ban bill sails through Senate with cross party support
A Private Members Bill that would ban all weapons containing depleted uranium in Ireland has passed through the upper house – making it only the second time a Private Members Bill has done so. The bill will now be considered by the parliament’s lower house.

18 November 2010 – ICBUWUK Network response to Ministry of Defence’s justification for UK’s UN vote
A statement from the UK Ministry of Defence that seeks to justify the UK’s ‘no vote’ over depleted uranium transparency at the UN First Committee is littered with unpersuasive arguments and short on evidence writes the UK Uranium Weapons Network.

15 November 2010 – ICBUW Depleted uranium questions asked in French parliament
As campaigners seek to draw attention to France’s ongoing stockpiling of depleted uranium munitions, Deputie M. Jean-Luc Warsmann of the majority Union pour un Mouvement Populaire has submitted two questions on the issue to the government.

11 November 2010 – ICBUW Depleted uranium Motion tabled in Scottish Parliament
Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have submitted a motion calling on the UK government to abstain or vote in favour when the UN General Assembly considers the new resolution on depleted uranium weapons.

4 November 2010 – ICBUWLeaked US files show how uranium weapons have caused problems for EOD teams
The Iraqi War Logs, recently released on the Wikileaks website, show that the presence in Iraq of munitions containing DU causes difficulties for US troops.
2 November 2010 – ICBUWUN First Committee sends clear message to depleted uranium users over transparency
The United Nations First Committee has voted, by an overwhelming margin, for state users of depleted uranium weapons to release data on where the weapons have been used to governments of states affected by their use.
29 October 2010 – New report on depleted uranium weapons published by UN Secretary General
Ahead of the forthcoming vote in the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General has published a second report on uranium weapons. The report compiles responses from countries and UN agencies in response to a request in the 2008 General Assembly resolution


19 October 2010 –

DU-questionnaire campaign launched in Japan
In October 2010, ICBUW-Japan launched a DU questionnaire campaign directed at members of the National Parliament (NP).
Norwegian Foreign Minister makes statement on depleted uranium
Norway’s Foreign Minister has called for user transparency and continued research into the potential impact of depleted uranium weapons during a discussion on the issue in the Norwegian parliament.
November events marking the Day of Action in Japan
Throughout November, meetings and events marking the International Day of Action Against Uranium Weapons were held in several cities.

Seminar: Uranium Weapons – Time for a Ban, Oslo Dec 6th
How to stop radioactive warfare, Norway‘s role in the international campaign. Speakers Dr Chris Busby, Doug Weir, Ria Verjauw, Per Nergaard and Susanne Urban

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