6
Apr
2004

STOP GE WHEAT

The Canadian Prime Minister is considering approving Monsanto's genetically engineered wheat for planting and sale in Canada. If Mr. Martin approves GE wheat in Canada, it would be a disaster for Canadian farmers and pose huge risks to the environment. Please send a free fax to the Prime Minister, letting him know what you think about GE wheat.

http://www.wildcanada.net/greenpeace/faxengine.asp

Learn more about GE wheat:

http://www.greenpeace.ca/e/campaign/gmo/depth/wheat/index.php

STOP ILLEGAL TIMBER IMPORT TO EUROPE

Greenpeace has taken action to stop a suspected illegal shipment of Indonesian rainforest plywood from being imported into the EU. There is currently no law to stop the import of timber like this into the EU. The fact that this shipment can enter Europe, despite the desire of most countries in the European Union to combat this trade, shows how important it is to introduce new legislation and other measures to stop the import of illegally logged timber.

Please write to Poul Nielson, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, asking him to stop this illegal timber trade immediately.

http://act.greenpeace.org/ams/e?a=1317&s=for

POISONED?

SHOCKING REPORT REVEALS LOCAL TROOPS MAY BE VICTIMS OF AMERICA'S HIGH-TECH WEAPONS

By Juan Gonzalez

New York Daily News

April 2, 2004

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/180333p-156685c.html

Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found.

They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah.

"I got sick instantly in June," said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. "My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach."

A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four "almost certainly" inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium.

Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

If so, the men -- Sgt. Hector Vega, Sgt. Ray Ramos, Sgt. Agustin Matos and Cpl. Anthony Yonnone -- are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.

The 442nd, made up for the most part of New York cops, firefighters and correction officers, is based in Orangeburg, Rockland County. Dispatched to Iraq last Easter, the unit's members have been providing guard duty for convoys, running jails and training Iraqi police. The entire company is due to return home later this month.

"These are amazing results, especially since these soldiers were military police not exposed to the heat of battle," said Dr. Asaf Duracovic, who examined the G.I.s and performed the testing that was funded by The News.

"Other American soldiers who were in combat must have more depleted uranium exposure," said Duracovic, a colonel in the Army Reserves who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

While working at a military hospital in Delaware, he was one of the first doctors to discover unusual radiation levels in Gulf War veterans. He has since become a leading critic of the use of depleted uranium in warfare.

Depleted uranium, a waste product of the uranium enrichment process, has been used by the U.S. and British military for more than 15 years in some artillery shells and as armor plating for tanks. It is twice as heavy as lead.

Because of its density, "It is the superior heavy metal for armor to protect tanks and to penetrate armor," Pentagon spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said.

The Army and Air Force fired at least 127 tons of depleted uranium shells in Iraq last year, Kilpatrick said. No figures have yet been released for how much the Marines fired.

Kilpatrick said about 1,000 G.I.s back from the war have been tested by the Pentagon for depleted uranium and only three have come up positive -- all as a result of shrapnel from DU shells.

But the test results for the New York guardsmen -- four of nine positives for DU -- suggest the potential for more extensive radiation exposure among coalition troops and Iraqi civilians.

Several Army studies in recent years have concluded that the low-level radiation emitted when shells containing DU explode poses no significant dangers. But some independent scientists and a few of the Army's own reports indicate otherwise.

As a result, depleted uranium weapons have sparked increasing controversy around the world. In January 2003, the European Parliament called for a moratorium on their use after reports of an unusual number of leukemia deaths among Italian soldiers who served in Kosovo, where DU weapons were used.

I keep getting weaker. What is happening to me?

The Army says that only soldiers wounded by depleted uranium shrapnel or who are inside tanks during an explosion face measurable radiation exposure.

But as far back as 1979, Leonard Dietz, a physicist at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory upstate, discovered that DU-contaminated dust could travel for long distances.

Dietz, who pioneered the technology to isolate uranium isotopes, accidentally discovered that air filters with which he was experimenting had collected radioactive dust from a National Lead Industries Plant that was producing DU 26 miles away. His discovery led to a shutdown of the plant.

"The contamination was so heavy that they had to remove the topsoil from 52 properties around the plant," Dietz said.

All humans have at least tiny amounts of natural uranium in their bodies because it is found in water and in the food supply, Dietz said. But natural uranium is quickly and harmlessly excreted by the body.

Uranium oxide dust, which lodges in the lungs once inhaled and is not very soluble, can emit radiation to the body for years.

"Anybody, civilian or soldier, who breathes these particles has a permanent dose, and it's not going to decrease very much over time," said Dietz, who retired in 1983 after 33 years as nuclear physicist. "In the long run ...veterans exposed to ceramic uranium oxide have a major problem."

Critics of DU have noted that the Army's view of its dangers has changed over time.

Before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a 1990 Army report noted that depleted uranium is "linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage."

It was during the Gulf War that U.S. A-10 Warthog "tank buster" planes and Abrams tanks first used DU artillery on a mass scale. The Pentagon says it fired about 320 tons of DU in that war and that smaller amounts were also used in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

In the Gulf War, Army brass did not warn soldiers about any risks from exploding DU shells. An unknown number of G.I.s were exposed by shrapnel, inhalation or handling battlefield debris.

Some veterans groups blame DU contamination as a factor in Gulf War syndrome, the term for a host of ailments that afflicted thousands of vets from that war.

Under pressure from veterans groups, the Pentagon commissioned several new studies. One of those, published in 2000, concluded that DU, as a heavy metal, "could pose a chemical hazard" but that Gulf War veterans "did not experience intakes high enough to affect their health."

Pentagon spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said Army followup studies of 70 DU-contaminated Gulf War veterans have not shown serious health effects.

"For any heavy metal, there is no such thing as safe," Kilpatrick said. "There is an issue of chemical toxicity, and for DU it is raised as radiological toxicity as well."

But he said "the overwhelming conclusion" from studies of those who work with uranium "show it has not produced any increase in cancers."

Several European studies, however, have linked DU to chromosome damage and birth defects in mice. Many scientists say we still don't know enough about the long-range effects of low-level radiation on the body to say any amount is safe.

Britain's national science academy, the Royal Society, has called for identifying where DU was used and is urging a cleanup of all contaminated areas.

"A large number of American soldiers [in Iraq] may have had significant exposure to uranium oxide dust," said Dr. Thomas Fasey, a pathologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center and an expert on depleted uranium. "And the health impact is worrisome for the future."

As for the soldiers of the 442nd, they're sick, frustrated and confused. They say when they arrived in Iraq no one warned them about depleted uranium and no one gave them dust masks.

Experts behind News probe

As part of the investigation by the Daily News, Dr. Asaf Duracovic, a nuclear medicine expert who has conducted extensive research on depleted uranium, examined the nine soldiers from the 442nd Military Police in late December and collected urine specimens from each.

Another member of his team, Prof. Axel Gerdes, a geologist at Goethe University in Frankfurt who specializes in analyzing uranium isotopes, performed repeated tests on the samples over a week-long period. He used a state-of-the art procedure called multiple collector inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

Only about 100 laboratories worldwide have the same capability to identify and measure various uranium isotopes in minute quantities, Gerdes said.

Gerdes concluded that four of the men had depleted uranium in their bodies.

Depleted uranium, which does not occur in nature, is created as a waste product of uranium enrichment when some of the highly radioactive isotopes in natural uranium, U-235 and U-234, are extracted.

Several of the men, according to Duracovic, also had minute traces of another uranium isotope, U-236, that is produced only in a nuclear reaction process.

"These men were almost certainly exposed to radioactive weapons on the battlefield," Duracovic said.

He and Gerdes plan to issue a scientific paper on their study of the soldiers at the annual meeting of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine in Finland this year.

When DU shells explode, they permanently contaminate their target and the area immediately around it with low-level radioactivity.

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.


Informant: NHNE



PREVIOUS NHNE NEWS LIST ARTICLES:

WHO 'SUPPRESSED' IRAQI DEPLETED URANIUM STUDY (2/24/2004):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/6812

URANIUM LEVELS IN AFGHANS' BLOOD ASTONISHINGLY HIGH (5/24/2004):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5393

FAIR: CLUSTER BOMBS & DEPLETED URANIUM (5/6/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5257

UK TO AID IRAQ DU REMOVAL (4/25/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5186

U.S. REJECTS IRAQ DU CLEAN-UP (4/14/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5115

GULF WAR SYNDROME II (4/10/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5086

THE CASE AGAINST DEPLETED URANIUM BEING DANGEROUS (4/10/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5083

CONGRESSMAN MCDERMOTT DEPLETED URANIUM BILL HR 1483 (4/10/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5082

HOW U.S VETS HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY ABUSED, IGNORED & MISTREATED (4/10/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/5081

U.S. USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS IS 'ILLEGAL' (3/30/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/4967

U.S. TO USE DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS IN IRAQ (3/16/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/4762

U.S. STOCKING URANIUM-RICH BOMBS? (3/11/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/4687

URANIUM MUNITIONS: THE WAR AGAINST OURSELVES (2/18/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/4493

ANIMAL STUDY: CHEMICALS HARMED SOLDIERS IN GULF WAR (1/8/2003):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/4213

FORCED VACCINES HAUNT GULF VETS (11/7/2002):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3931

GI GUINEA PIGS (10/30/2002):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3885

DEPLETED URANIUM TOXICITY IN AFGHANISTAN (& IRAQ) (12/11/2001):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/2385

DEPLETED COVERAGE OF NATO'S DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS (1/14/2001):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/1035

TESTS SHOW GULF WAR VICTIMS HAVE URANIUM POISONING (9/2/2000):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/642

BITE BACK

Action

We remain very concerned about the formal complaint the US has made at the WTO about EU policies “restricting” trade in GM food and agriculture. The WTO has finally convened a panel in the highly secretive dispute settlement mechanism, which will then rule on whether the EU’s policy on GM food imports is an illegal barrier to trade.

• Sign the global objection to the WTO GM dispute
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/bite_back/index.html

• Email the Argentinean Ambassador to ask him to persuade the Government of Argentina to withdraw from the WTO complaint
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/email_ambassador_argentina/index.html

• Email your friends and relatives to ask them to sign the objection online or download a multi-signature paper objection and ask them to sign
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/resource/campaigners.html

• Add the Bite Back web action link to your email signature
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/bite_back/index.html

• Add the Bite Back banner and/or the link to the web action to your website
http://www.bite-back.org/support/banners.htm

Further information
‘GM Trade War Looms’ briefing
http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/wto_disputes_res_mech.pdf

GATS
In December last year, the Government published its response to the submissions to the DTI's consultation document "Liberalising trade in services - a new consultation on the World Trade Organisation General Agreement on Trade in Services negotiations".
You may have inputted to this consultation. We asked people to write submissions highlighting the lack of transparency and democracy in the GATS negotiations, and the fact that there has been a complete failure to properly assess past impacts of WTO agreements and thereby justify further liberalisation. Friends of the Earth thinks the DTI’s response to these highlighted issues doesn't adequately deal with our concerns.

• Email your MP
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/gats_consultation/index.html

• Email the DTI
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/gats_dti/index.html

Further information
DTI’s GATS consultation feedback
http://www.dti.gov.uk/ewt/gats2000.doc

Friends of the Earth comments on the DTI’s GATS consultation feedback:
http://community.foe.co.uk/resource/misc/foe_gats_response_email.pdf

News
• Robert Zoellick, US trade representative, told the Financial Times (11 January) that 'he firmly supported the developing countries in saying that investment and competition talks should be dropped, and that even talks on government procurement, which the US favours, may not be necessary'.

However caution is needed when countries talk about dropping the New Issues as they often refer just to dropping them from the current round of trade negotiations and not, critically, from further rounds or bilateral/regional trade agreements. Your email action to Patricia Hewitt at the end of October will have helped contribute to weakening the UK/EU position on New Issues but our fight to eject them completely from the WTO continues.

• Could it be that the letters you’ve sent to the Government in the last couple of years calling for fair trade rules not free trade may finally be hitting home? UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, has apparently recognised that all does not always end well for those experiencing the sharp end of WTO rules, saying the "negative consequences of trade liberalization need to be managed" (emphasis ours). So that’s the Government finally admitting that there are negative impacts of their trade policies – progress!

Best wishes,
Eve Mitchell

Corporate Globalisation & Trade Campaigner
Friends of the Earth

Free Speech in Danger, FEC Rule Change Would Silence Hundreds of Activist Groups

April 06, 2004

Last month the Federal Elections Commission voted 5-1 to consider rule changes that could drastically alter the legal status of many activist nonprofits, including environmental organizations.

If the proposal rules are approved, groups across the political spectrum may be forced to give up their core advocacy work or conform to stringent fundraising and financial reporting requirements usually reserved for political committees.

Further, the FEC could apply the rule change retroactively, in the middle of the election year, throwing the legality of nonprofit program, fundraising and reporting efforts into chaos.[1]

According to People For the American Way, "The chilling effect of the proposed rules on free speech cannot be overstated. Merely expressing an opinion about an officeholder's policies could turn a nonprofit group overnight into a federally regulated political committee with crippling fund-raising restrictions."[2]

The FEC is considering this change in response to pressure from a Republican political committee, "Americans for a Better Country."[3] The group was organized last year specifically to establish "an aggressive voter-mobilization and issue ad campaign to out-raise and out-spend ... the liberal groups whose stated mission is the defeat of George Bush."[4]

The proposed FEC rule change comes amidst continuing actions by the Bush Administration to suppress dissenting views, including a prosecution of Greenpeace in federal court.

As reported by BushGreenwatch, the Ashcroft Justice Department dredged up an obscure 1872 law against "sailor-mongering" to indict Greenpeace on federal felony charges after activists boarded a ship carrying illegal mahogany from Brazil to Miami and hung a banner reading, "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging." The case is considered a bellwether for the future of free speech and peaceful protest in the U.S.

Greenpeace filed for a dismissal of the case in December. A ruling is expected by April 9. Greenpeace has also filed a motion for a trial by jury should the case go to court, rather than having the case heard only by a judge, as requested by the Justice Department. "We want the public to hear the whole story," says Greenpeace's Nancy Hwa.

###

TAKE ACTION!
Send a comment opposing the rule change to the FEC. Comments should be addressed to Ms. Mai T. Dinh, Acting Assistant General Counsel, and must include the full name, electronic mail address, and postal service address of the commenter. The comments period ends on April 9: politicalcommitteestatus@fec.gov.


SOURCES:
[1] MoveOn.org action alert.
[2] People for the American Way FEC Working Group.
[3] Common Cause Press Release.
[4] "Conservative Spotlight: Americans for a Better Country," Human Events Online.


http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/mt_archives/000089.php
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