US Admits Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria

Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.
By |
Be Sociable, Share!
    • Google+

    Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening to cut off all contacts with Moscow over Syria, unless Russian and Syrian government attacks on Aleppo end. The State Department says Kerry issued the ultimatum in a Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

    Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening to cut off all contacts with Moscow over Syria, unless Russian and Syrian government attacks on Aleppo end. The State Department says Kerry issued the ultimatum in a Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

    (ICBUW) – The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates – the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.

     

    The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assembly resolutionon DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.

     

    In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US hadconfirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating: “U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explainedthat:  “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”

     

    CENTCOM confirms DU use

    IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to “an error in reporting down range.”

     

    “Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.

     

    Unclear why DU was used

    The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored. ICBUW had earlier analysed the target information released by CENTCOM for the two dates in question. On neither date did CENTCOM explicitly state that it had launched attacks against armoured vehicles, with the majority of strikes against Islamic State light tactical vehicles, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and oil infrastructure. Such targets have been attacked regularly by the US-led Coalition, apparently without resorting to the use of DU.

     

    The most unusual strike that ICBUW identified took place on the 18th November, when the US attacked 283 parked oil tankers, however the A-10’s alternative 30mm ammunition type – a high explosive incendiary round – would presumably have been sufficient to destroy tankers laden with oil.  Footage released from the strike is indicative of 30mm DU use.

    Recently published data from the 2003 Iraq War showed that A-10s used more DU against targets that were not tanks or armoured vehicles, questioning the current US justification that DU was needed in Syria. Historic data from the Gulf War also demonstrated that most armoured targets destroyed by A-10s were targeted by Maverick missiles, not DU.

     

     What must happen now

    ICBUW and PAX are calling for urgent clarification from the US authorities on both the incidents and its DU policy for the conflict, and for them to swiftly release detailed and accurate targeting data to ensure that the relevant authorities can conduct clearance and risk awareness efforts and isolate and recover contaminated material.

     

    “Given DU’s nature as a toxic and radioactive heavy metal, and concerns previously expressed by Syrian civilians that it might be used, it’s deeply worrying that the US chose to use DU again,” said PAX’s researcher Wim Zwijnenburg.“The US should provide all target data and technical assistance to mine-clearance organisations and local authorities to ensure that swift clean-up operations for this low-level radioactive waste is undertaken to prevent Syrian civilians being exposed.”

     

    “Public relations efforts are indicated”

    The US has long been conscious of the stigmatisation of the use of DU weapons. As far back as 1991 the US military were advised that: “…fielding and combat activities [with DU] present the potential for adverse international reaction.” It was therefore predictable that Russian state media quickly highlighted news that DU had been used in Syria, with Russia’s embassies in Paris, Ottawa and Londontweeting the news, as Russia sought to draw attention away from its own conduct in the conflict.

     

    Russia has its own stocks of DU weapons and consistently abstains on DU resolutions at the UN General Assembly. It seems inevitable that, given the widespread global opposition to the use of the weapons, the Russian and Syrian governments will continue to use the news that DU has been used against the US and its coalition allies.

     

    This report prepared by ICBUW

     

    Be Sociable, Share!

    Stories published in our Hot Topics section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

     

    Print This Story Print This Story
    You Might Also Like  
    ___________________________________________
    This entry was posted in Daily Digest, Editors Picks, Foreign Affairs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
    • Richard Einstein

      Soon America will have a real DOJ for the first time in over 50 years. We have thousands of criminals to hang for war crimes and high treason, beginning with Barry Soetoro… then George Bush…. both Jr and Sr….

    • stephenverchinski

      No altruistic actors here on the world stage. Looking for them and want them as leaders. I am tired of the lack of cooperative survival behavior. We all should be.

    • Pingback: Mosul vs Aleppo : The western media double standards | Le Monde...()

    • bsroon

      The Unazied States of America welcomes you. (You WILL obey…)

    • Pingback: US Admits Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria – World War Times()

    • And of course, except for us down here, no one complains. No one cares…

      Too busy blaming Putin for exposing “crooked hillary” for the demented donald.

      • Drumroll

        “And of course, except for us down here, no one complains. No one cares…”

        I care! It’s also being used in war games and left on the seabed off the Pacific Northwest Coast!” See excerpts below and follow link to full article.

        “Navy’s Use Of Depleted Uranium In Coastal Waters Threatens Humans, Wildlife”
        By Dahr Jamail, http://www.truth-out.org
        November 1st, 2016
        Posted on Popular Resistance

        “Earlier this month, Truthout reported that the US Navy is knowingly introducing toxic metals and chemicals into the environment during its war game exercises.

        Sheila Murray with the Navy Region Northwest’s public affairs office, when asked what the Navy was doing to mitigate environmental contamination from the large numbers of Depleted Uranium (DU) rounds it left on the seabed off the Pacific Northwest Coast claimed current research “does not suggest short- or long-term effects” from the release of DU to the environment that could result in its uptake by marine organisms.”

        She also said that DU rounds “are extremely stable in sea water and pose no greater threat than any other metal.”

        https://www.popularresistance.org/navys-use-of-depleted-uranium-in-coastal-waters-threatens-humans-wildlife/

        • What, you’re not one of us down here?

          They also admitted a while back to using white phosphorus remember? And who besides us down here cares? And I mean empathically, and not by an agenda of ruling the spoils.

          Nothing, Ms Sheila Murray, potentially toxic is safe anywhere in our environment. Unless you just refuse to believe in random accidents. Sometimes we are just soooo too big for our britches aren’t we?

          • Drumroll

            I’m going to do a little homework because I have never heard a peep about any of this. There is always some flak going around about the training flights from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station because they fly over our area and make a lot of noise, but nothing about fouling the water in the Strait of Juan de Fuca or the ocean. Once I have my ducks in a row, I’m calling a friend of mine who is on the City Council here in Sequim. I’ll keep escalating it until I get an answer. I’ll keep you posted. BTW, did you mean Florida by “us down here?” Or was that a reference to use peons (that could probably be spelled more than 1 way)?

            • Us peons of course. Though “peons” would not be my first choice of words. I was actually thinking of us down here in the progressive trenches of the blogosphere.

              Why would I single out my state as though I was some kind of nationalist? You must have got struck when it first went over your head. (winking)

              • Drumroll

                Actually, it went right over my head the first time. Caught it on the rebound though. (smiling) You know the old hand slap to the forehead?

              • Kim Qitqat Brechtel

                Peopns…..or pawns. it is those of us with no real power……….especially when those in power CHEAT!

        • Did you watch DN today. Wow! what a great show Amy had. I won’t spoil it for you…

          • Drumroll

            No, I haven’t had a chance today and probably won’t tonight as I have trans work to do so I can take tomorrow morning off for my Community Emergency Response Team training. I’ll catch it tomorrow afternoon.

            • Well if you don’t I can swear as well as you think I know you that you would regret it if you knew what you had missed…

              I didn’t mean that to come out so possibly convoluted…

              • Drumroll

                No problem. You’re up past your bedtime too – only I’m 3 hours behind you so it isn’t quite so late here. (smiling)

        • Kim Qitqat Brechtel

          It IS us peons who actually have the empathy to care. Those in power have no hart, no soul and no empathy…….it would interfere with their profits!

    • Pingback: Unspun News 161104 - transients.info()

    • Florent de PYROPHOR

      It’s not a surprise. Depleted uranium is used in several kinds of weapons, including cruise missiles and heavyweight GBU bombs. Here is a list of proofs demonstrating this https://assopyrophor.org/2016/06/19/politically-correct-uranium-weapons/ . The ICBUW and PAX have been focusing on a few weapons (i.e. the A10s bullets and tank shells) but these are only the TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

    • James Wherry

      1. Here’s the concern:

      “The use of DU in munitions is controversial because of concerns about potential long-term health effects.[5][6] Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and numerous other systems can be affected by exposure to uranium, a toxic metal.[7] It is only weakly radioactive because of its long radioactive half-life (4.468 billion years for uranium-238, 700 million years for uranium-235; or 1 part per million every 6446 and 1010 years, respectively). The biological half-life (the average time it takes for the human body to eliminate half the amount in the body) for uranium is about 15 days.[8] The aerosol or spallation frangible powder produced by impact and combustion of depleted uranium munitions can potentially contaminate wide areas around the impact sites, leading to possible inhalation by human beings.[9]

      “The actual level of acute and chronic toxicity of DU is also controversial. Several studies using cultured cells and laboratory rodents suggest the possibility of leukemogenic, genetic, reproductive, and neurological effects from chronic exposure.[5] A 2005 epidemiology review concluded: “In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU.”[10]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium

      2. Here’s why they’re used:

      “Bullets, shells and missiles tipped with radioactive depleted uranium made every weapon in Iraq’s arsenal obsolete. The higher weight of DU shells allows American tanks to shoot twice as far, giving them a range of two miles.

      “During the [1991] Desert Storm terror campaign at least 944,000 rounds of DU ammo were fired from American A-10 Warthogs all over Iraq and Kuwait. The A-10 is an aircraft built around a 30mm, 7-barrel gattling gun that can spew 3900 rounds per minute.

      “When a depleted uranium tipped shell strikes a tank or armored personnel carrier it easily penetrates the armor and burns the crew alive. The impact also vaporizes the depleted uranium, creating an aerosol of radioactive heavy-metal particles which can spread as far as 190 miles on the wind.” http://www.serendipity.li/nato/du.htm

      3. Compared to 900,000+ rounds used in Gulf War I, the 5,000 rounds is a light use, but lying about the use of these rounds is wrong and it can be an indication that the liars KNOW that the use is not only “controversial,” but WRONG. Despite the value of these munitions, I maintain “when in doubt, don’t.” The long-term effects appear to have a scientific basis for real concern. I would not use these: spend more money on better, conventional weapons, that do not leave unintended victims glowing in the dark.

      • Zeet

        190 miles is likely hyperbole. I also find it hard to believe that the depleted uranium is vaporized and carried in the wind. Much more likely is that it simply undergoes a hypergolic reaction with other metals upon target impact, and simply melts and welds itself to other metals. Any chunks of metal simply fall to the ground once their ballistic energy is depleted, likely up to dozens, if not hundreds, of FEET from the target, not miles. Remember, depleted uranium is HEAVY, heavier than lead.

        • James Wherry

          Trust me: when it comes to this sort of science, I’m better off just quoting Wikipedia! I’ve never claimed to understand it. All I understand is “Radioactive = bad.” Twenty years from now, it’ll be the next “Agent Orange” and everyone will be standing around saying, “Well of COURSE it was too dangerous!”

        • Romi Elnagar

          Why shouldn’t DU vaporize? Many people who have talked about the US using it in Iraq have talked about how it vaporizes. That’s one reason why Iraq is so contaminated with the stuff.
          “Uranium munitions, pulverized and aerosolized by high velocity
          impacts (1+ miles/second up to 10 miles/sec for J-SSCM’s), reach
          temperature effects referred as “plasmas”, 8,000 – 15,000 degrees
          Kelvin. The pyrophoric nature of the uranium works synergistically
          with the hyper-velocity impact effects to instantly convert much of
          the uranium to UO2 (instant oxidation). The impact condition is
          referred to as a “phase change”. The uranium parts the targets
          molecular structure and vaporizes it at the point of contact. That’s
          why anti-tank and anti-armor DU penetrators leave very interesting
          holes – quite clean and smooth as if they cut through or burned
          through the armor instead of punching through it.” ~ “Upsilquitch” (a former DU inspector who writes anonymously)

          • Zeet

            That might be the case then. However, how long does it stay in vapor phase? I suspect not very long. This isn’t water we are talking about, but a massive metal molecule. I am highly doubtful about the 190 mile claim. I honestly think the drift area is more like hundreds of feet.

          • Zeet

            Aerosolized is definitely different from vaporized.

    • USAMNESIA

      The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government
      spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the
      government to operate in secret. Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of
      security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged.
      Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.

      — Chris Hedges,
      The Death of the Liberal Class

    • Will Crowther

      Depleted uranium is exactly this: Natural uranium which has been depleted of U-235, the fissile isotope for both reactors and weapons. Natural uranium includes 0.7 percent U-235. U. S. reactors use uranium fuel which has had the uranium-235 enriched to 2 or 3 percent Weapons grade is enriched to about 98 percent. Depleted Uranium, DU, has less than 0.7 percent U-235; it’s what’s left over after the U-235 has been used enriching the fuel or ‘explosive.’ DU is used because it’s heavier than lead and so capable of penetrating deeper armor.

      • Patricia P. Tursi

        spoken like true military…pierces armor. Why are be there in the first place? Do you want DU used in the US? We have not declared war on anyone. Why are we constantly at war? I thought we learned after Vietnam. We have no right to impose our might on any other country unless they declare war on the US or attack.

        • Will Crowther

          I have never been in the military. I thought some accurate information would be helpful. I am a nuclear engineer. I take no sides here.

        • James Wherry

          The “why are we there in the first place” is the right question, for sure, buy lying about the use is simply wrong – or an indication that someone knows the use of the weapons is SO WRONG they have to lie about it.

          I would never be involved in the Syrian Civil War, but yes, I would bomb ISIL to (1) Stop the genocide against Christians, Yezidi and Shi’ites; and (2) Defend America from ISIL-directed operations. Both of those are lawful basises within the U.N. Charter, a treaty under international law and legally binding on the USA.

          • Zeet

            Mr. Crowther is correct about DU’s use as a superior penetrator. The science basically comes down to how much psi you can put on armor, and the momentum that is imparted to DU rounds upon firing is very high and is maintained down range even in adverse weather conditions, increasing hit probability and lethality. I also believe there is a hypergolic reactive element to the use of DU rounds. I could be wrong on this though. After all, does it make sense that the DU in the bullet tip doesn’t react with the bullet metal? hmm

      • Patricia P. Tursi

        I apologize for my disrespectful tone. I have spoken with vets about this and they all say they like the DU because of the penetration. I’m angry about the high rate of leukemia in Iraq. I’m angry that we are going after the third of 7 countries that we planned to overthrow (Gen Wesley Clark). I am angry that we are the world ‘s worst terrorists and are bombing 7 countries killing children, families, and innocent people. Angry that the drone pilots had the highest suicide rate in the military because of the carnage that they observed. There is no reason on God’s Earth that the US should have installations in half the countries around the world….no reason except to control the world. Russia has closed down most of the nuclear plants, doesn’t have aerosol sprays, promotes organics, prohibits GMOs and it’s supposed to be barbaric? The piper will be paid, sooner or later. We citizens will do the paying but we didn’t do the playing. Your response seemed detached and cavalier. I believe that we need to address the human suffering.

        • Will Crowther

          No problem.

    • World Peace Now

      Depleted uranium’s half-life is about three billion years.
      It is a Weapon of Genetic Destruction. We are methodically poisoning the Middle East.
      Those responsible for DU deployment need to tried by the World Court for Crimes Against Humanity.

      • Patricia P. Tursi

        And deliberate? with the excuse that it is efficient.

        • Krishna E. Bera

          DU is also used to make armor, which only DU (or heavier elements) can penetrate. So DU needs to be banned from use entirely, not just as ammo.

          • Patricia P. Tursi

            Yes, Krishna…banned along with invading other countries for no reason.

            • Krishna E. Bera

              thats already illegal, but no country takes it seriously enough to do anything 🙁
              i’m worried about DU being used in civilian stuff because it then becomes armor and target during a war, besides leaking radioactivity all over the place during manufacture of course.

            • James Wherry

              America has not invaded either Iraq (this time around) or Syria. America is quite happily in Iraq at the request of that country’s own, lawful government. HAD the Iraqi forces (with or without Iran) been able to stop ISIL from taking al-Anbar province, Tikirit and Mosul, and making a real play for Kirkuk, I would REJOICE at America NOT being there. We should have left in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 – and not just 2011.

              As to Syria, I cannot support anyone much being in Syria except covert ops aimed squarely at developing battlefield intelligence against ISIL.

          • James Wherry

            Interesting: I had not been aware of the use of it to make armor. That makes me even more nervous.

            While DU in weapons is only 60% as radioactive as naturally-occurring uranium, if I knew there was a Uranium mine anywhere near where I lived, I’d MOVE! When we don’t even know the long-term effects of PCBs in plastics, it’s ridiculous to surround ourselves with things we DO know about!

            • marid

              The waste tailings piles from Uranium mining and enrichment in the SW US are huge and every second they release poisons into the environment. All the while the health of the local people suffers. But what’s a birth defect or fifty to the Merchants of Death who control us?

              • James Wherry

                Do the tailings release any poisons? To be useful, “uranium rich” dirt has to be reduced to uranium that is 20% or higher (medical) and more for military uses. The tailings are nowhere near that level of richness.

                I would WELCOME any information, as this only adds to what I think of as my legitimate concerns.

      • PietSmit

        the US shrug their shoulders about those courts. They did not ratify ICC (which comes closest to your ‘World Court for Crimes Against Humanity.’ and even threaten to invade The Hague if any US military or other officials should stand trial.. Google ‘The Hague Invasion Act’.
        They are eager to press others to charge warcriminals that don’t belong to their side, but are no part of it.
        So the ICC is just another Mickey Mouse court, like the Maleysian court that convicted Bush and Cheney some years ago. Esp. now with all the African countries leaving ICC.

        • America see’s itself at the head of the New World Order, a world government, whilst, at the same time, it distances itself from the vital role as one of the members of the ICC. What nerve they have to demean everyone else in the world by picking the laws to which it will be judged. They have the attitude necessary to shove their supposed superiority down our throats in the knowledge that they are making themselves a hated shadow of a once respected leader nation.

      • Zeet

        I believe you are wrong. DU’s half life is only 700 million years.

        • Romi Elnagar

          No, you are wrong. The half=life of DU is 4.5 billion years.

          • Zeet

            Yes it appears you are more right. Most DU is U-238, according to Wikipedia.

      • Are you telling me they are poisoning the land for millions or even billions of years? What’s the point in that?

    • tapatio

      The use of depleted uranium as a weapon should be made a war crime. It’s a weapon that goes on killing decades after the war.

      • Patricia P. Tursi

        thank you!

    • Pingback: US Admits Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria | D!SRUPT | Question Everything()