[Marxism] Spiked online and DU shell poisoning

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 5 17:54:58 MDT 2004

Speaking of Frank Furedi, it is interesting to note that his group 
considers depleted uranium shell poisoning to be an irrational panic 
encouraged by voodoo scientists.

NY Daily News, April 6, 2004
Army to test N.Y. Guard unit

Army officials at Fort Dix and Walter Reed Army Medical Center are rushing 
to test all returning members of the 442nd Military Police Company of the 
New York Army National Guard for depleted uranium contamination.

Army brass acted after learning that four of nine soldiers from the company 
tested by the Daily News showed signs of radiation exposure.

The soldiers, who returned from Iraq late last year, say they and other 
members of their company have been suffering from unexplained illnesses 
since last summer, when they were stationed in the Iraqi town of Samawah.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a former Army doctor and nuclear medicine expert who 
examined and tested the nine men at The News' request, concluded four of 
them "almost certainly" inhaled radioactive dust from exploded depleted 
uranium shells fired by U.S. troops.


The soldiers and other members of the 442nd say they are suffering from 
physical ailments that began last summer while they were stationed in Samawah.

Matos, who was assigned to the 4th platoon's 2nd squad, arrived in Samawah 
last June, two weeks ahead of the rest of the company.

His advance team had orders from Capt. Sean O'Donnell, their commander, to 
ready a huge depot in a train repair yard on the outskirts of downtown 
Samawah as a barracks for the unit.

Once the entire company arrived, each platoon was assigned its own space 
inside the depot, which was bigger than a football field.

A locomotive that straddled a repair pit and an empty train car sat in the 
middle of the sleeping area, with two platoons assigned to bed down along 
one side of the train and two others along the other side.

Just outside the depot, two Iraqi tanks, one of them shot up, had been 
hauled onto flatbed railroad cars.

The company was so short-handed, according to the soldiers, that the 
commander would evacuate a G.I. only if he could no longer physically function.

Matos was sent home last year for surgery for a shoulder injury suffered in 
a jeep accident.

Since his return, he has had constant headaches, fatigue, shortness of 
breath, nausea, dizziness, joint pain and excessive urination. After he 
recently discovered blood in his urine, doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical 
Center gave him a CAT scan and discovered a small lesion on his liver.

A 1990 Army study linked DU to "chemical toxicity causing kidney damage."

"Before I left for Iraq, they tested my eyes and I was fine," Matos said. 
"Now my eyesight's gotten bad, on top of everything else."

Another member of the company who tested positive for DU is 2nd platoon 
Sgt. Hector Vega, 48, a retired postal worker from the Bronx who has been 
in the National Guard for 27 years.

Since being evacuated to Fort Dix for treatment for foot surgery, Vega said 
he has endured insomnia and constant headaches. And like many of the sick 
soldiers, Vega said, "I have uncontrollable urine, every half hour."

One day, during a trip a few hours south of Samawah, he and another soldier 
stopped on the side of the road to photograph and check out two shot-up 
Iraqi tanks.

"We didn't think anything of walking right up to those tanks and touching 
them," he said. "I didn't know anything about depleted uranium."

As for the railroad depot where they slept, Vega recalls it as "disgusting. 
Oil, dirt and bird droppings everywhere, insects crawling all around us."

And then there were the frequent dust storms.

"They would blow all that dust inside the depot all over us when we were 
sleeping or eating. It was so thick, you could see it."

full: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/180723p-156921c.html


Spiked Online, January 2, 2001
Depleted uranium: who dropped the bombshell?

by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick

The government has been widely accused of a cover-up over its handling of 
the risks to the health of veterans of the Gulf and Balkans wars from the 
use of 'depleted uranium' (DU) shells. This is ironic, as the government's 
new strategy is to respond to such health scares by being transparent and 

The real problem here is not duplicity, but a surfeit of openness.

While controversy rages about the long-term effects of depleted uranium 
(1), there is little doubt about the immediate effects of the shells of 
which it was a component, in both Kuwait and Kosovo. Fired from aircraft at 
a safe height, these shells killed thousands, caused widespread devastation 
and helped to exacerbate the instability of these regions.

Now some soldiers involved in these conflicts - from countries of the 
European mainland as well as the UK and the USA - are attributing diseases 
like cancer and leukaemia to the effects of DU shells. While there is no 
evidence to substantiate these links (and much against them), Western 
governments have rushed to accede to requests for medical investigation of 
veterans complaining of a wide range of illnesses. In the wake of mad cow 
disease and other health panics, the new official line is to acknowledge 
all popular concerns as legitimate and to agree immediately to see all such 
problems as medical concerns.

But irrational fears are not alleviated by talking about them. On the 
contrary: when paranoia strikes, talking tends to make it worse. The 
inevitable result is a spiral of mistrust and suspicion, which will 
inevitably cause a rising toll of illness among former soldiers, some far 
removed from the theatre of war. This morbid trend is encouraged by the 
entrepreneurs of the risk society - litigious lawyers, syndrome-mongering 
doctors, environmentalist zealots, voodoo scientists and compliant journalists.

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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